By Matthew Vadum
The Supreme Court declined this morning to hear New Hampshire’s challenge to Massachusetts’s pandemic-era policy of taxing out-of-state residents who used to work in Massachusetts but switched to telecommuting from their New Hampshire homes during the pandemic.
Billions of dollars in income taxes paid by people who worked from home during the pandemic were at stake in this case, and conceivably in other states such as New York that even in the absence of a public health emergency tax nonresident income.
The Biden administration had urged the court not to consider the lawsuit.
In May, Acting U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar brushed aside New Hampshire’s concerns, saying in a friend-of-the-court brief that New Hampshire’s contention “that it has suffered a serious violation of its sovereignty” has “no limiting principle” and could lead to more states suing in the Supreme Court to defend their sovereignty.
Instead, New Hampshire should sue in the Massachusetts court system, she said, as The Epoch Times previously reported.
In an unsigned order June 28, the court declined without explanation to grant leave to New Hampshire to proceed further in New Hampshire v. Massachusetts, court file No. 220154, which New Hampshire initiated by a bill of complaint on Oct. 19, 2020. New Hampshire had invoked the high court’s original jurisdiction to adjudicate disputes between the states.
Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito voted to hear the case, as they have done in other legal proceedings between states that the Supreme Court has refused to take up. They have said they believe federal law provides states an unfettered right to bring suit against one another directly in the high court.
“The Court chose to punt today, but telework is here to stay and remote work taxation issues are not going away,” attorney Joe Bishop-Henchman, vice president of litigation at the National Taxpayers Union Foundation (NTUF), told The Epoch Times by email.
“This case will not be the last.”
He noted that “Massachusetts just a few days ago dropped its policy going forward, so the Court might have thought the whole issue to be moot. The Court takes only a fraction of the cases submitted to it, and everyone who works in tax knows the odds are even smaller for us.”
“In the months since we filed in this case, I heard from many taxpayers facing multistate tax incoherence how much they appreciate us trying to get solutions for them. We will press on toward that goal.”
NTUF previously filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of itself and 16 other groups.
This is a developing story.