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The Direct Marketing Association has reached a settlement agreement with the Colorado Department Revenue in regards to its lawsuit over the state’s use tax notice and reporting requirements. Pursuant to the settlement agreement, the use tax notice and reporting requirements legislation becomes effective on July 1, 2017. Per the agreement, the Department of Revenue will waive penalties for non-collecting retailers who fail to comply with the legislation prior to July 1, 2017. Non-Collecting Retailers will be required to include the required transactional notices on all invoices issued after July 1, 2017 per Sec 39-21-112(3.5)(c)(I) and 1 Colo Code Regs Section 201-1: 39-21-112.3.5(2).

 

The first annual summaries of customer purchases required of non-collecting retailers must be mailed to customers by January 31, 2018. The Department will waive all penalties for non-collecting retailers who do not include customer purchases made prior to July 1, 2017 in any annual summary provided to Colorado customers before the January 31, 2018 deadline. This summary must include all transactions dated after July 1, 2017 and if possible all 2017 transactions.

 

The first customer information reports required of non-collecting retailers must be filed with the Department by March 1, 2018. The Department will waive all penalties for non-collecting retailers who do not include customer purchases occurring prior to July 1, 2017 in their customer information report provided to the Department on or before the March 1, 2018 deadline.This information report must include all transactions dated after July 1, 2017 and if possible all 2017 transactions.

 

To view our previous news item on this case, click here

 

Based on this settlement, all Colorado non-collecting retailers should review their marketing materials, invoices and systems to ensure they will be able to comply. Penalties for non-compliance are harsh.  

 

(Direct Marketing. Association v. Colorado Department of Revenue, Colo. Dist. Ct., No. 13-CV-34855, settlement announced 2/23/17)

(03/06/2017)

The Multistate Tax Commission (MTC) has announced a sales/use tax and income/franchise tax amnesty program for online sellers that will run from August 17 to November 1, 2017 (previously October 17, 2017). Qualified online sellers with potential tax liability may be able to use the MTC's voluntary disclosure agreement (VDA) to negotiate a settlement during the amnesty period if they meet certain eligibility requirements. Taxpayers that have not been contacted by any of the states participating in the amnesty program will be able to apply to start remitting sales tax on future sales without penalty or liability for unpaid, prior accumulated sales tax in the participating states. 25 MTC member states have agreed to participate in the amnesty program. The participating states include: 

 

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado (sales/use tax only)
  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia (may not waive all prior periods)
  • Florida
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Massachusetts (special provisions apply)
  • Minnesota (special provisions apply)
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska (may not waive all prior periods)
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas 
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Wisconsin (will require payment of back tax and interest for a lookback period commencing January 1, 2015 for sales/use tax, and including the prior tax years of 2015 and 2016 for income/franchise tax)

 

Some of the additional states may require a limited look-back period for prior tax liabilities. Sellers who wish to participate in the program will need to file the voluntary disclosure program paperwork during the program dates. The MTC will route the paperwork for each participating state for which the seller is seeking amnesty protection. For more details visit the MTC website.

 

UPDATE: The Multistate Tax Commission's online seller amnesty program is now over. If you didn't take advantage of this program but realize you need to evaluate your activities, you can contact us here.

(11/07/2017)

On June 12, 2017, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) introduced the No Regulation Without Representation Act of 2017. A previous version of this bill had been introduced in 2016 and failed to pass. Under the proposed bill, a State may tax or regulate a person’s activity in interstate commerce only when such person is physically present in the State during the period in which the tax or regulation is imposed. Under the proposed bill, the physical presencerequirement would apply to sales and use taxand net income and other business activities taxes, as well as the states’ ability to regulateinterstate commerce. “Physical presence” in a state includes:

 

  • maintaining a commercial or legal domicile in the state;
  • owning, holding a leasehold interest in, or maintaining real property such as an office, retail store, warehouse, distribution center, manufacturing operation, or assembly facility in the state;
  • leasing or owning tangible personal property (other than computer software) of more than de minimis value in the state;
  • having one or more employees, agents or independent contractors present in the state who provide on-site design, installation, or repair services on behalf of the remote seller;
  • having one or more employees, exclusive agents or exclusive independent contractors present in the state who engage in activities that substantially assist the person to establish or maintain a market in the state; or
  • regularly employing in the state three or more employees for any purpose.

 

“Physical presence” in a state would not include:

 

  • entering into an agreement under which a person, for a commission or other consideration, directly or indirectly refers potential purchasers to a person outside the state, whether by an Internet-based link or platform, Internet Web site or otherwise;
  • any presence in a state for less than 15 days in a taxable year (or a greater number of days if provided by state law);
  • product placement, setup or other services offered in connection with delivery of products by an interstate or in-state carrier or other service provider;
  • Internet advertising services provided by in-state residents which are not exclusively directed towards, or do not solicit exclusively, in-state customers;
  • ownership by a person outside the state of an interest in a limited liability company or similar entity organized or with a physical presence in the state;
  • the furnishing of information to customers or affiliates in such state, or the coverage of events or other gathering of information in such state by such person, or his representative, which information is used or disseminated from a point outside the state; or
  • business activities directly relating to such person's potential or actual purchase of goods or services within the State if the final decision to purchase is made outside the state.

 

In addition, the bill prohibits the imposition or assessment of a sales, use or other similar tax or a reporting requirement unless the purchaser or seller has physical presence in the state.  This would prohibit all the remote seller legislation (click through, affiliate, economic, marketplace and reporting/notification). If enacted, the legislation would apply with respect to calendar quarters beginning on or after January 1, 2018. (No Regulation Without Representation Act of 2017)

(07/12/2017)

Colorado has issued a general letter ruling regarding the taxability of advance payments made on vehicle rentals. Although there is not specific provisions in the statutes regarding these charges for vehicle rentals, there is for hotel occupancy rentals.  The Department has indicated that these rentals are similar in nature and therefore, following the occupancy provisions seems appropriate. 

 

Any advance payment applied toward the charge for a vehicle rental is subject to sales and use tax. The letter ruling states that any nonrefundable advance payment that exceeds 50% of the daily rental charge is subject to tax, which may be collected at the time the payment is made. Nonrefundable advance payments are subject to sales and use tax either in their application toward the charge for the ultimate vehicle rental or as a forfeited deposit if the vehicle rental is canceled, either by explicit cancellation or by failure to appear at the designated time. Sales and use tax should not be collected for a refundable advance payment or an advanced payment that is 50% or less of the daily vehicle rental charge. If a refundable advance payment is refunded due to cancellation, no tax is due and any collected tax should be refunded.(GIL-16-011, Colorado Department of Revenue, July 6, 2016)

(05/24/2017)

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)

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