Stay up to date with sales tax: Join our mailing list!


NEWS & TIPS

The Sales Tax Institute reviews numerous sales tax publications to monitor state activity on various topics related to sales and use tax. By checking updates routinely, you may be alerted to an impending tax law change critical to your business.

Browse recent and archived news items by searching relevant categories, states or descriptions at right

The information listed here is high-level summary and background material intended to help you stay current in the dynamic area of sales and use tax. Sources include CCH State Tax Day, Sales and Use Tax Alert, Sales Tax Notes, Vertex, Inc. Reference Manuals, Westlaw, and other miscellaneous state tax newsletters and Department of Revenue notices.

Please note that these summaries omit many details and special rules, and cannot be regarded as legal or tax advice. For more information, be sure to contact your tax advisor.


HOT NEWS UPDATES:

 

Minnesota has enacted a number of sales and use tax nexus amendments, including marketplace nexus and affiliate nexus provisions. The state has amended the definition of "retailer maintaining a place of business in this state" to include a retailer who has storage in Minnesota, employs a Minnesota resident who works from a home office in Minnesota, has a marketplace provider or other third party operating in Minnesota under the retailer’s authority for any purpose, including facilitating and processing sales. A retailer is represented by a marketplace provider in Minnesota if the retailer makes sales in Minnesota facilitated by a marketplace provider that maintains a place of business in Minnesota.

 

”Marketplace provider“ means any person who facilitates a retail sale by a retailer by: 

 

  • listing or advertising for sale by the retailer in any forum, taxable tangible personal property, services, or digital goods that are subject to tax under this chapter; and
  • either directly or indirectly through agreements or arrangements with third parties collecting payment from the customer and transmitting that payment to the retailer regardless of whether the marketplace provider receives compensation or other consideration in exchange for its services. 

 

A retailer with total taxable retail sales to customers in Minnesota of less than $10,000 in the 12-month period ending on the last day of the most recently completed calendar quarter is not required to collect and remit sales tax if it is determined to be a retailer maintaining a place of business in the state solely because it made sales through one or more marketplace providers. This provision does not apply to a retailer that is or was registered to collect sales and use tax in Minnesota.

 

A marketplace provider will be required to collect and remit sales and use taxes for all facilitated sales for a retailer, and will be subject to audit on the retail sales it facilitates unless either: 

 

  • the retailer provides a copy of the retailer's registration to collect sales and use tax in Minnesota to the marketplace provider before the marketplace provider facilitates a sale; or
  • upon inquiry by the marketplace provider or its agent, the commissioner discloses that the retailer is registered to collect sales and use taxes in this state. 

 

A marketplace provider will not be liable for failure to file and collect and remit sales and use taxes if the marketplace provider demonstrates that the error was due to incorrect or insufficient information given to the marketplace provider by the retailer. This does not apply if the marketplace provider and the marketplace retailer are related parties.

 

Nexus is also established if a retailer who is a remote seller has an entity perform duties on its behalf which is considered affiliate nexus.  Common ownership is not required. An entity is considered an affiliate of a retailer for nexus purposes if the entity:

 

  • has the same or a similar business name as the retailer and sells, from a location or locations in Minnesota, taxable tangible personal property, digital goods, or services that are similar to those sold by the retailer;
  • maintains an office, distribution facility, salesroom, warehouse, storage place, or other similar place of business in Minnesota to facilitate the delivery of tangible personal property, digital goods, or services sold by the retailer to its customers in Minnesota;
  • maintains a place of business in Minnesota and uses trademarks, service marks, or trade names in Minnesota that are the same or substantially similar to those used by the retailer, and that use is done with the express or implied consent of the holder of the marks or names;
  • delivers, installs, or assembles tangible personal property in Minnesota, or performs maintenance or repair services on tangible personal property in Minnesota, for tangible personal property sold by the retailer;
  • facilitates the delivery of tangible personal property to customers of the retailer by allowing the customers to pick up tangible personal property sold by the retailer at a place of business the entity maintains in Minnesota; or
  • shares management, business systems, business practices, or employees with the retailer, or engages in intercompany transactions with the retailer related to the activities that establish or maintain the retailer’s market in Minnesota.

 

Additionally, the requirement that, in order to be considered affiliated entities, the retailer and entity must be related parties is repealed.

 

The marketplace and affiliate nexus amendments are effective on the earlier of July 1, 2019, or the date of a U.S. Supreme Court decision modifying its decision in Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, so that a state may require retailers without a physical presence in the state to collect and remit sales tax. However, if a federal law is enacted authorizing a state to impose a requirement to collect and remit sales tax on retailers without a physical presence in the state, the Commissioner of Revenue must enforce the nexus amendments to the extent allowed under federal law. (Ch. 1 (H.F. 1 a), First Special Session, Laws 2017)

(06/08/2017)

Oklahoma has enacted legislation directing the Oklahoma Tax Commission to establish a tax amnesty program that will run from September 1, 2017 through November 30, 2017. Eligible taxes include sales and use, mixed beverage, gasoline and diesel, gross production and petroleum excise, corporate and personal income, and personal withholding tax. Eligible taxpayers would be entitled to a waiver of penalty, interest, or other collection fees due on the eligible taxes if the they voluntarily file returns and pay taxes due during the course of the amnesty program. The lookback period for which additional taxes may be assessed will be limited to three taxable years for annually filed taxes or 36 months for taxes that do not have an annual filing frequency. To be eligible to participate, taxpayers must:

 

  • Not have outstanding tax liabilities other than those reported pursuant to this initiative;
  • Not have been contacted by the Oklahoma Tax Commission, or third party acting on behalf of the Commission, with respect to the taxpayer's potential or actual obligation to file a return or make a payment to the state;
  • Not have collected taxes from others, such as sales and use taxes or payroll taxes, and not reported those taxes; and
  • Not have, within the preceding three years, entered into a voluntary disclosure agreement for the type of tax owed

 

Taxpayers who meet all of the above qualifications, except those who have collected taxes from others, such as sales and use taxes or payroll taxes, and not reported those taxes, may enter into a modified voluntary disclosure agreement. The provisions of a modified voluntary disclosure agreement would be the same as a voluntary disclosure agreement except the waiver of interest shall not apply except as may be optionally granted at the discretion of the Tax Commission, and the period for which taxes must be reported and remitted or assessed is extended beyond the three year or thirty six month lookback period to include all periods in which tax has been collected but not remitted. (H.B. 2380, Laws 2017, effective July 1, 2017)

(06/05/2017)

Effective July 1, 2017, Indiana has enacted economic nexus legislation affecting remote sellers. Sellers that do not have a physical presence in Indiana will be required to collect and remit Indiana sales tax and comply with the procedures and requirements of Indiana’s sales tax laws if the seller meets either of the following criteria for the calendar year in which the retail transaction is made or for the calendar year preceding the calendar year in which the retail transaction is made:

 

  • The seller’s gross revenue from any combination of sales of tangible personal property delivered into Indiana, a product transferred electronically into Indiana, or a service delivered in Indiana exceeds $100,000; or
  • The seller sells any combination of tangible personal property delivered into Indiana, a product transferred electronically into Indiana, or a service delivered in Indiana in 200 or more separate transactions. 

 

The Indiana Department of Revenue may bring a declaratory judgment action against a remote seller to establish that the person has an obligation to collect Indiana sales tax and that the person’s obligation to collect Indiana sales tax is valid under state and federal law. The department and other state agencies and state entities may not, during the pendency of the declaratory judgment action - including any appeals from a judgment in the declaratory judgment action - enforce the obligation to collect Indiana sales tax against any person that does not affirmatively consent or otherwise remit the sales tax on a voluntary basis. The latter does not apply to a person if there is a previous judgment from a court establishing the validity of the obligation to collect state gross retail tax with respect to that person.

 

Included in the statute is an explanation for the enactment of the remote seller collection provisions with a plea to the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider its doctrine that prevents states from requiring remote sellers to collect the tax.  It also claims that the non collection of the tax by remote sellers causes significant harm to the state of Indiana. (H.B. 1129, Laws 2017, effective July 1, 2017)

(05/09/2017)

On April 27, 2017, a bipartisan group of senators introduced the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2017 (MFA). Similar legislation was introduced in both 2013 and 2015 and failed to be enacted both times. If enacted, the legislation would authorize states meeting certain requirements to require remote sellers that do not meet a "small seller exception" to collect their state and local sales and use taxes. The small seller exception is set again at $1 million of remote sales annually. The only other significant change from the 2015 version is a prohibition of making the effective date during the 4th quarter of the calendar year. For information on the previous versions of the bill, visit Senate Introduces Marketplace Fairness Act of 2015.  

 

On April 27, 2017, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced the Remote Transactions Parity Act (RTPA) of 2017. Similar legislation was introduced in 2015 but failed to be enacted. Like the MFA, the legislation would also create sales and use tax collection obligations for remote sellers, but has some differences and additional provisions. Some key differences from the Marketplace Fairness Act include a different definition of a small seller.  The RTPA has a phased in threshold starting at $10million in year one, then $5million, then $1million.  In year 4, there is no threshold.  In addition to the monetary thresholds, any seller that sells on an electronic marketplace is considered a small seller.  A difference from the 2015 version of the bill is an inclusion of a definition of remote seller which specifies when a company is NOT a remote seller which includes physical presences for more than 15 days in a state, leasing or owning real property and using an agent to establish or maintain the market in a state if the agent does not perform business services in the state for any other person during the taxable year.  For more information on the Remote Transaction Parity Act of 2015, visit House Introduces Remote Transactions Parity Act of 2015. (Marketplace Fairness Act of 2017, Remote Transactions Parity Act of 2017)

(05/04/2017)

On April 3, 2017, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue issued a directive with economic nexus provisions for out-of-state internet sellers. It adopts an administrative bright line rule, instead of applying sales and use tax collection requirements on a case by case basis. Per the directive, an internet seller with a principal place of business located outside the state is required to register, collect and remit Massachusetts sales or use tax on sales into the state as follows:

 

  • For the period of July 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017, if during the preceding 12 months (July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2017), it had in excess of $500,000 in Massachusetts sales and made sales for delivery into Massachusetts in 100 or more transactions.
  • For each calendar year beginning with 2018, if during the preceding calendar year it had in excess of $500,000 in Massachusetts sales and made sales for delivery into Massachusetts in 100 or more transactions. 

 

The directive discusses Quill Corp. v. North Dakota and states that internet sellers with significant Massachusetts sales meets the statutory and constitutional standards that apply for purposes of the imposition of the commonwealth’s sales or use tax collection duty. In its discussion of what constitutes substantial physical presence under the Commerce Clause, the Directive distinguishes Large Internet Vendors from mail order vendors.  Specifically, it considers software, apps and cookies that are typically used by internet sellers to be tangible personal property owned by the seller as substantial physical presence in the state.  In addition, they consider Content Distribution Networks (CDN) providers that may be located in the state of Massachusetts to be performing local activities “on behalf of the vendor that are significantly associated with the vendor’s ability to establish and maintain a market” for its sales. When that activity takes place in Massachusetts it establishes an instate physical presence on behalf of such vendor.

 

Large Internet vendors may also utilize other persons as instate representatives that result in the creation of an instate physical presence. For example, large Internet vendors commonly sell goods through “online marketplaces.”  These online marketplaces, which offer a range of potential services through employees or other contract personnel, benefit the client/vendor by, among other things, enhancing its name recognition and creating consumer confidence with respect to its products. These arrangements may vary in form. Many of these agreements allow the Internet vendor to post goods for sale on a website operated by the online marketplace, with orders and payment then processed through that website (with subsequent order fulfillment completed by the individual Internet vendor). Other agreements may provide for increased services by the employees or other personnel of the online marketplace, which may include order fulfillment, return processing, access to the online marketplace’s customer service team, and the preparation of sales reports or other analytics. In either instance, although the website maintained by the online marketplace on which the vendor’s products are sold is “virtual,” some of the various services provided by the online marketplace in connection with the sale of the vendor’s products will be physical in nature.  Because these latter, physical services operate to establish and maintain the Internet vendor’s market, these services, when performed in the state, will result in an Instate physical presence on the part of such vendor. 

 

Also, large Internet vendors may utilize delivery services that exceed the type of delivery services that were evaluated by Quill. Quill held that a state could not impose a sales or use tax collection duty on vendors that limit their contacts with the state to the contacts of mail and common carrier. In contrast, large Internet vendors may utilize delivery services that provide not merely product delivery, but additional services that may include logistics, order fulfillment, storage, return processing and order management. In general, these additional services operate to enhance the vendor’s sales. Therefore, these services, when performed in the state, will result in an instate physical presence on the part of such vendor. 

 

This is an expansive definition of substantial physical presence defined not through the legislative process but through a Department of Revenue Directive.  The Department is making this a prospective position.  It is very likely this will be challenged as economic nexus provisions in other states.  We will monitor and update this news items with developments. (Directive 17-1: Requirement that Out-of-State Internet Vendors with Significant Massachusetts Sales Must Collect Sales or Use Tax, April 3, 2017)

(04/17/2017)

Pages

Scroll to Top