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Commission begins work on tax rules

Anne Knowles

The Nevada Tax Commission this week is launching its series of workshops on the state’s new taxes with the toughest levy first the modified business tax.

The commission, which oversees the Nevada Department of Taxation, will hold public workshops until October to develop the needed regulations for the taxes finally passed by the Legislature.

“Our first priority is the modified business tax and the modified business tax on banks,” said Barbara Smith Campbell, chair of the Commission and Mandalay Development controller during a meeting last week to outline the process.

Campbell emphasized that the commission is counting on public input to help develop the regulations.

“Getting through the process with everyone’s participation is critical,” she said.

Dino Diciano, deputy director of the tax department, said the department has assembled teams to work on each of the taxes, including new taxes such as the modified business tax and existing taxes that will be increased.

Linda Fleischmann, team leader for the modified business tax, said her tax team was already working with the Department of Employment,Training and Rehabilitation, which collects unemployment insurance tax from employers based on the same payroll formula that the modified business tax will use.

Fleischmann said the team has also started working on a tax return and notification, although she said she is waiting for a precise definition of the businesses affected by the tax.

That definition, especially as it applies to financial institutions, which will be taxed at a higher, 2 percent rate, is of greatest concern to business.

Senate Bill 8, the tax bill finally passed by the Legislature, defines financial institutions in several ways, including companies that hold securities in other companies for the purpose of controlling those companies.

Gaming, in particular, is concerned that definition could be construed to include holding companies that own casinos.

But gaming isn’t the only industry worried about that.

Sam McMullen, a lobbyist for the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and others, said he attended the tax commission’s first meeting last week to keep an eye on the how the payroll tax on banks will be adopted into regulation.

At its initial meeting earlier in the week, the commission declared the rules emergency regulations.

That allows the group to convene without the 15 days notice required by public meetings laws.

It also means the regulations expire in 120 days and must be made permanent after that.

The commission’s meeting will be held each week in Las Vegas and in the Legislative Building in Carson City, as well as broadcast on the Internet via the Legislative Counsel Bureau web site at leg.state.nv.us.