Minnesota Tax on Foreign Subsidiaries

Taxing a Business with Foreign Subsidiaries: the State of Minnesota taxes interstate and multi-national businesses by apportioning the income derived from business activities occurring within and outside Minnesota between Minnesota and other states or countries according to a formula. See Minn. Stat. 290.17. Using the three factors of sales, property, and payroll, this formula determines the amount of a business' total income apportioned to, and thus taxable by, the State. Amoco Corp. v. Commissioner of Revenue, 658 N.W.2d 859 (Minn. 2003); Minn. Stat. 290.17. An entity that has income from businesses wholly unrelated to Minnesota would not be taxed on the unrelated income. However, a business with subsidiaries physically located outside of Minnesota that provide benefit to, or receive some benefit from, the Minnesota operations would be subject to the allocation formula provided they are part of a "unitary business" as defined in Minn. Stat. 290.17, subd. 4(a). Amoco Corp., 658 N.W.2d at 865. Where "business activities or operations conducted by the entities result in a flow of value between them", the entities are considered part of a "unitary business." Minn. Stat. 290.17, subd. 4(b). As such, "the entire income of the unitary business is subject to the apportionment formula." Minn. Stat. 290.17, subd. 4(a). The income of the foreign members of a unitary business is not included in the apportionable base, but any dividends paid to the parent by the foreign members are included, subject to a dividend received deduction. Minn. Stat. 290.21, subd. 4(a)(1986). Minn. Stat. 290.21, subd. 4(e) ("Subd. 4(e)") provides that "the dividend received deduction . . . does not apply if the dividends are paid by an FSC as defined in section 922 of the Internal Revenue Code". Congress adopted FSC legislation in 1984 to encourage United States firms to increase their exports by providing tax incentives which would enable United States manufacturers to compete in the foreign market. If a corporation met the requirements of an FSC, a certain portion of its income was exempt from federal income tax.