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Effective July 1, 2017, remote sellers must notify Louisiana purchasers at the time of sale that a purchase is subject to Louisiana use tax unless it is specifically exempt and there is no specific exemption for purchases made over the Internet, by catalog, or by other remote means. The notice must also include a statement that Louisiana law requires that use tax liability be paid annually on the individual income tax return or through other means as may be required by administrative rule. Per the legislation, "remote retailer" means a retailer that purposefully avails itself of the benefits of an economic market in Louisiana or who has any other minimum contacts with the state and who:

 

  • Is not required by law to register as a dealer or to collect Louisiana sales or use tax,
  • Makes retail sales of tangible personal property or taxable services in Louisiana and the cumulative annual gross receipts of the retailer and its affiliates from those Louisiana sales exceed $50,000 per calendar year, and
  • Does not collect and remit Louisiana sales and use tax on retail sales in the state.

 

By January 31st of each year, a remote seller must send to each Louisiana purchaser an annual notice containing the total amount paid by the purchaser to the retailer for property or taxable services in the preceding calendar year. The notice must list the dates and amounts of purchases if available, state whether the property or service is exempt from tax if known by the retailer, give the name of the retailer, and state that Louisiana use tax may be due.

 

By March 1st of each year, a remote seller must file with the Louisiana Department of Revenue an annual statement for each Louisiana purchaser which includes the total amount paid by the purchaser to that retailer for property or taxable services in the preceding calendar year. The statement shall not contain detail as to the property or services purchased. (Act 569 (H.B. 1121), Laws 2016, effective July 1, 2017)

(07/25/2016)

Louisiana has enacted click-through and affiliate nexus provisions, applicable to tax periods beginning on and after April 1, 2016. Louisiana’s definition of a dealer for tax collection purposes is expanded to include any person soliciting business through an independent contractor or other representative pursuant to an agreement with a Louisiana resident or business under which the resident or business, for a commission, referral fee, or other consideration, directly or indirectly, refers potential customers to the seller, whether by an internet link, an in-person oral presentation, telemarketing, or otherwise. The click-through legislation applies to sellers whose cumulative gross receipts from sales of tangible personal property to customers in Louisiana who are referred to the person through such an agreement exceed $50,000 during the preceding 12 months. This presumption may be rebutted if the person can demonstrate that he cannot reasonably be expected to have gross receipts in excess of $50,000 for the succeeding 12 months.

 

The legislation also expands the definition of a dealer to include any person who:

 

  • Sells the same or a substantially similar line of products as a Louisiana retailer under the same or substantially similar business name, using the same trademarks, service marks, or trade names that are the same or substantially similar to those used by the Louisiana retailer.
  • Solicits business and develops and maintains a market in Louisiana through an agent, salesman, independent contractor, solicitor, or other representative pursuant to an agreement with a Louisiana resident or business, under which the affiliated agent, for a commission, referral fee, or other consideration, engages in activities in Louisiana that benefits the person's development or maintenance of a market for its goods or services in the state. Such activities of the affiliated agent shall include referral of potential customers to the person, either directly or indirectly, whether by link on an Internet website or otherwise.

 

Additionally, a person will be presumed to be a dealer if it holds a substantial ownership interest, directly or through a subsidiary, in a retailer maintaining sales locations in Louisiana, or is owned, in whole or in substantial part, by a retailer maintaining sales locations in Louisiana or by a parent or subsidiary thereof. For purposes of the legislation, "substantial ownership interest" means affiliated persons with respect to each other where one of such persons has an ownership interest of more than 5%, whether direct or indirect, in the other, or where an ownership interest of more than 5%, whether direct or indirect, is held in each of such persons by another person or by a group of other persons which are affiliated persons with respect to each other.

 

The click-through and affiliate nexus provisions for establishing a person as a dealer for sales and use tax purposes shall not be used in determining whether the person is liable for payment of Louisiana income and franchise taxes. If the U.S. Congress enacts legislation authorizing states to require a remote seller to collect sales and use taxes on taxable transactions, the federal law shall preempt the provisions of the Louisiana law. (Act 22 (H.B. 30), Laws 2016, First Extraordinary Session)

(03/24/2016)

On June 15, 2015, Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) introduced the Remote Transactions Parity Act (RTPA) of 2015 in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill – similar to the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) of 2015 – pertains to sales and use taxcollection obligations for remote sellers, but the RTPA contains some differences and several additional provisions. Unlike the MFA’s $1 million small seller exception, the RTPA’s small seller exception is as follows: first year: $10 million; second year: $5 million; third year: $1 million. The exception goes away in the fourth year. Furthermore, under the RTPA sellers utilizing an electronic marketplace are not considered small sellers and are not entitled to the exception, no matter the year. Under the RTPA, sellers would not be audited by states where they don’t have a physical presence. There would be a three year statute of limitations for assessments on remote sellers. The bill would enable remote sellers to refund over-collected tax to customers. The RTPA also specifies that a state would not be authorized to impose a sales and use tax collection requirement on remote sellers until it has certified multiple software providers that are certified in all states seeking to impose authorization requirements. The RTPA would also allow customers to pursue refunds of over-collected tax from remote sellers. However, RTPA does not preempt states from imposing sales and use taxes on remote sellers that do not have physical presence under this definition. It merely authorizes states to impose sales and use tax on remote sellers without a physical presence. Under the RTPA, if a seller has nexus under existing law, including Quill v. North Dakota, then the state may still impose a sales and use tax collection requirement.  The bill is assigned to the Judiciary Committee just like the MFA.  On July 1, 2015 it was referred to the Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial And Antitrust Law. (H.R. 2775, the Remote Transactions Parity Act of 2015)

 

UPDATE: This bill failed to pass during the 114th Congressional Session running from January 3, 2015 to January 3, 2017.  Therefore, this bill has died and would need to be reintroduced to be considered and voted on.

(09/08/2015)

On March 10, 2015, a bipartisan group of senators introduced the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2015. Similar legislation – the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 – was previously introduced in February 2013 and passed by the Senate on May 6, 2013. That legislation failed to be enacted. If passed, the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2015 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. For more information on the previous legislation, visit Federal Government Introduces New Remote Seller Bill. (Marketplace Fairness Act of 2015, March 10, 2015)

 

UPDATE: This bill failed to pass during the 114th Congressional Session running from January 3, 2015 to January 3, 2017.  Therefore, this bill has died and would need to be reintroduced to be considered and voted on.

(03/16/2015)

The federal Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 was introduced in the House of Representatives and the Senate on February 14, 2013.  If passed, the bill would authorize states that meet certain requirements to require remote sellers that do not meet a "small seller exception" to collect their state and local sales and use taxes.  Under the legislation, a state would be authorized to require a remote seller to collect sales and use taxes only if the remote seller has gross annual receipts in total remote sales in the United States of more than $1 million in the preceding calendar year.

 

Member states of the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax (SST) Agreement would be authorized to require all sellers that do not qualify for the small seller exception to collect and remit sales and use taxes with respect to remote sales sourced to that member state pursuant to the provisions of the SST Agreement. The SST Agreement would have to include certain minimum simplification requirements. An SST member state could begin to exercise authority under the Act beginning 90 days after the state publishes notice of its intent to exercise such authority, but no earlier than the first day of the calendar quarter that is at least 90 days after the date of the enactment of the Act.

 

States that are not members of the SST Agreement would be authorized, notwithstanding any other provision of law, to require all sellers that do not qualify for the small seller exception to collect and remit sales and use taxes with respect to remote sales sourced to the state if the state implements certain minimum simplification requirements. The authority would begin no earlier than the first day of the calendar quarter that is at least six months after the state enacts legislation to exercise the authority granted by the Act.

 

To enforce collection requirements on remote sellers that do not meet the small seller exception, states that are not members of the SST Agreement would have to implement the minimum simplification requirements listed below. For SST member states to have collection authority, the requirements would have to be included in the SST Agreement.

 

-       A single entity within the state responsible for all state and local sales and use tax administration, return processing, and audits for remote sales sourced to the state

-       A single audit of a remote seller for all state and local taxing jurisdictions within that state

-       A single sales and use tax return to be used by remote sellers to be filed with the single entity responsible for tax administration.

-       Each state would have to provide a uniform sales and use tax base among the state and the local taxing jurisdictions within the state.

-       Each state would have to source all interstate sales in compliance with the sourcing definition outlined below.

-       Each state would have to provide information indicating the taxability of products and services along with any product and service exemptions from sales and use tax in the state and a rates and boundary database. States would have to provide free software for remote sellers that calculates sales and use taxes due on each transaction at the time the transaction is completed, that files sales and use tax returns, and that is updated to reflect state and local rate changes. States would also have to provide certification procedures for persons to be approved as certified software providers (CSPs). Such CSPs would have to be capable of calculating and filing sales and use taxes in all the states qualified under the Act.

-       Each state would have to relieve remote sellers from liability to the state or locality for incorrect collection, remittance, or noncollection of sales and use taxes, including any penalties or interest, if the liability is the result of an error or omission made by a CSP.

-       Each state would have to relieve CSPs from liability to the state or locality for the incorrect collection, remittance, or noncollection of sales and use taxes, including any penalties or interest, if the liability is the result of misleading or inaccurate information provided by a remote seller.

-       Each state would have to relieve remote sellers and CSPs from liability to the state or locality for incorrect collection, remittance, or noncollection of sales and use taxes, including any penalties or interest, if the liability is the result of incorrect information or software provided by the state.

-       Each state would have to provide remote sellers and CSPs with 90 days’ notice of a rate change by the state or any locality in the state and update the taxability and exemption information and rate and boundary databases, and would have to relieve any remote seller or CSP from liability for collecting sales and use taxes at the immediately preceding effective rate during the 90-day notice period if the required notice is not provided.

 

For non-SST member states, the location to which a remote sale is sourced would be the location where the item sold is received by the purchaser, based on the location indicated by instructions for delivery. When no delivery location is specified, the remote sale is sourced to the customer's address that is either known to the seller or, if not known, obtained by the seller during the transaction, including the address of the customer's payment instrument if no other address is available. If an address is unknown and a billing address cannot be obtained, the remote sale is sourced to the address of the seller from which the remote sale was made. SST member states would be required to comply with the sourcing provisions of the SST Agreement.

 

On March 22, 2013, the U.S. Senate voted 75-to-24 in favor of the concept of the Marketplace Fairness Act. The actual Marketplace Fairness Act was introduced in both chambers in February, but last week Senator Enzi, the sponsor of the Senate bill, offered an amendment to the 2014 Budget Resolution that would include insertion of the language of Marketplace Fairness in the budget. It was a largely symbolic tactic since the Budget Resolution itself will not become law, but by approving the amendment, the Senate has shown that there is broad, bipartisan support for the notion of requiring remote sellers to collect sales tax.

 

On May 6, 2013, the U.S. Senate passed the Marketplace Fairness Act with a 69-27 vote.

 

UPDATE: On September 18, 2013, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee released a set of seven principles that he believes any internet sales tax bill should meet.  The seven principles outlined by Goodlatte are tax relief, tech neutrality, no regulation without representation, simplicity, tax competition, states’ rights, and privacy rights.  For more details on the principles, click here to see the House Judiciary Committee’s press release.

 

We are continuing to track the activities of these bills.  We are also involved in planning efforts involving states and businesses regarding the potential implementation consequences of passage.  Watch for updates in the Sales Tax Compass as well as through our Twitter account and LinkedIn updates. 

 

The text of the bill passed by the Senate can be viewed here.

 

For an update on this news item, visit Senate Introduces Marketplace Fairness Act of 2015.

 

(H.R. 684 and S. 336, as introduced in Congress on February 14, 2013; S.743, as passed by the U.S. Senate on May 6, 2013)

(09/20/2013)

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