Virginia Tax Changes: Calculation of Multi-State Apportionment May Benefit Manufacturers

Virginia Tax Changes: Calculation of Multi-State Apportionment May Benefit Manufacturers

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By: Kay Gotshall, CPA & Ryan Beethoven-Wilson, CPA

Companies designated as manufacturers in Virginia can now elect to use heavier-weighted sales factor apportionment to determine their taxable income in Virginia.  Based on legislation passed in 2009, this new apportionment election is being phased in over a three-year period starting with tax years beginning on or after July 1, 2011.  This applies to calendar year 2012 and years thereafter.  Keep in mind that to qualify for the special election, certain wage and employment thresholds must be met and maintained over the three-year period. If not maintained, an additional tax (“recapture”) and interest will be assessed. The phase-in is as follows:

Apportionment Changes

Who is a qualifying manufacturing company?

A qualifying manufacturing company in Virginia is a manufacturer that derives fifty percent or more of its gross receipts from manufacturing activities, or fifty percent or more of its employees are engaged in manufacturing activities.

How can the election be made?

The election is made by the company on its Virginia corporate or pass-through entity income tax return. Specifically, the election is made on either Form 500A (apportionment for corporations) or Form 502A (apportionment for pass-through entities) which are included with the company’s tax return. The company may make an apportionment election and, once made, is bound by the election and applicable phase-in provisions for three total taxable years. For example, if a company with a tax year beginning January 1, 2012 elects on its 2012 tax return to use the modified apportionment method, its subsequent apportionment factors must be calculated as follows:

1/1/12 – 12/31/12 2012 Three factor formula, triple-weighted sales
1/1/13 – 12/31/13 2013 Three factor formula, triple-weighted sales
1/1/14 – 12/31/14 2014 Three factor formula, quadruple-weighted sales
1/1/15 – 12/31/15 2015 Taxpayer has option to move to single sales factor OR return to three factor formula, double weighted sales


The company in the previous example elects the modified apportionment on its 2012 tax return. As a result, the company is bound by the election’s phase-in provisions for 2013 and 2014 (three total tax years). After 2014, the company may switch back to the traditional three-factor formula (payroll, property, double-weighted sales) or may elect to use single sales factor apportionment for another three years.

What are the benefits of making the election?

Multistate manufacturing companies (either C-corporations or pass-through entities with VA non-resident partners/shareholders) who have high sales outside of Virginia can benefit from electing the alternate apportionment method. A company that does not have nexus in other states who manufactures and ships products out of Virginia can have a lower apportionment percentage under the new election.

Case Study

Note: The apportionment election is not required to be made. A manufacturer can continue apportioning income using the traditional three-factor formula of payroll, property, and double-weighted sales. Keep in mind that if the election is made, there are wage and employment requirements that must be met to avoid additional tax (“recapture”) and interest. 

About the Authors

Kay serves several of Keiter’s larger corporate clients with their FAS 109 tax provision and returns. Currently, Kay leads the Keiter multi-state tax team, which is primarily responsible for a majority of the multi-state tax filings prepared by the firm. In addition, the Keiter multi-state tax team provides income, as well as, sales and use audit and research support services. Kay works on a wide variety of industries, since most of her clients are multi-state. Some of the specific industries she serves include services, broker-dealers, manufacturing, and construction. Furthermore she consults with a variety of clients on filing requirements for multi states and foreign company ownership and operations.

More Insights from Kay F. Gotshall, CPA

Ryan’s practice focuses on business tax planning and compliance, general business consulting, financial reporting, and individual tax for privately-held clients in the professional services, emerging business, manufacturing, construction, retail, and real estate industries among others. Ryan also helped launch Keiter’s Opportunity Zone team, monitoring developments and consulting with investors and entrepreneurs on OZ tax incentives. Ryan serves on several of Keiter’s industry niche teams and is active on the Firm’s recruiting and workflow committees.

More Insights from Ryan Beethoven-Wilson, CPA

The information contained within this article is provided for informational purposes only and is current as of the date published. Online readers are advised not to act upon this information without seeking the service of a professional accountant, as this article is not a substitute for obtaining accounting, tax, or financial advice from a professional accountant.


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