California Appellate Court in General Mills rules that net gains, not gross receipts, from hedging transactions are included in the sales factor

August 2012


General Mills engaged in certain hedging transactions, which generated significant gross receipts. Such gross receipts are generally included in California's sales factor, unless inclusion does not "fairly represent" General Mills's California business activity. The California Appellate Court found that General Mills's hedging transaction gross receipts did not fairly represent its California business activity because: (1) the hedging transactions were qualitatively different from General Mills's business of selling consumer food products and (2) inclusion of the gross receipts in General Mills's sales factor substantially distorted the percentage of its California apportioned income. Accordingly, the FTB was allowed to apply an alternative apportionment methodology, which required General Mills to include only net gains (as opposed to gross receipts) received from its hedging transactions. [General Mills, Inc. v. Franchise Tax Board, Cal. Ct. App., No. A131477 (8/29/12)].

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