Peter G. Chen


The income taxation of multistate businesses has created problems for tax administrators, primarily with regard to the question of how to divide the income taxation amongst the multiple states. To address this, the concepts of unitary business and formula apportionment have been created. However, the non-uniform state taxation practices create difficulties even with the existence of these concepts. Some states have adopted the Multistate Tax Compact, but for it to be completely effective there still must be a uniform view adopted on what constitutes a unitary business. This note examines the constitutional issues attendant to developing a standard definition of a unitary business, an in-depth analysis of the unitary business concept and its origins, and proposes a workable definition of a unitary business.