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On December 18, 2015, President Barack Obama signed H.R. 2029 – Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016. The Act extends the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA) through October 1, 2016. Prior provisions that grandfather taxes that existed prior to October 1, 1998 are also extended through October 1, 2016. For our previous news item on this topic, see Internet Tax Freedom Act Extended Until December 11, 2015. (H.R. 2029 – Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016)

(01/18/2016)

On September 30, 2015 the U.S. House of Representative passed H.R. 719, which includes a provision that would extend the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA) through December 11, 2015. The ITFA was scheduled to expire on October 1, 2015. The bill will now go to President Obama for signature.

 

To see our previous news item on the ITFA, visit Internet Tax Freedom Act Extended Until October 1, 2015, Permanent Extension Introduced.

 

To see an update on this news item, visit Internet Tax Freedom Act Extended Through October 1, 2016,

 

(H.R. 719)

(10/26/2015)

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)

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has signed the Massachusetts fiscal year 2016 budget, which authorizes a tax amnesty program to be established for a period of 60 days as determined by the Commissioner of Revenue. The scope of the program, including the tax types and periods covered as well as the look-back period for unfiled returns (for a period not to exceed three years) will be determined by the Commissioner. It is unclear from the legislation how the 3 year lookback will apply.  Under the amnesty program, penalties will be waived for qualifying taxpayers who have failed to timely file any proper return for any tax types and for any tax periods, timely pay any tax liability, or pay the proper amount of any required estimated payment toward a tax liability. Penalties will be waived without the need for any showing by the taxpayer of reasonable cause or the absence of willful neglect. The amnesty program will not apply to penalties for underpayment of tax or inconsistent reporting of taxable income, with regard to returns filed pursuant to the amnesty. The waiver of penalties will not apply to any period for which the taxpayer does not file such proper returns.

 

Participating taxpayers must voluntarily file proper returns and pay the full amount of tax on the returns, or the amount due upon the Commissioner’s assessments, plus all interest due. All required payments must be made by June 30, 2016. The amnesty will not apply to a tax liability of any tax type for a period commencing on or after January 1, 2014. The amnesty will not apply to taxpayers who have been the subject of a tax-related criminal investigation or prosecution or to taxpayers who have delivered or disclosed any false or fraudulent application, document, return, or other statement. The Commissioner is also required to establish administrative procedures and methods to prevent any taxpayer who participates in the amnesty program from utilizing any future tax amnesty programs for the next consecutive 10 years, beginning in calendar year 2015. (Press Release, Office of Gov. Charlie Baker, July 17, 2015)

(07/29/2015)

Massachusetts has enacted a two-month tax amnesty program beginning March 16, 2015 and ending May 15, 2015. The amnesty program applies to tax years or periods that were stated on a Notice of Assessment issued by the Commissioner of Revenue on or before January 1, 2015. The amnesty program is limited to eligible taxpayers with existing tax liabilities for tax types that were not included among the tax types covered by the amnesty established under Technical Information Release 14-8, August 25, 2014. The eligible tax types include all corporate excise tax imposed under G.L. c. 63 (corporate excise, financial institutions, insurance, public utilities, and banks), estate taxes imposed under G.L. c. 65C, fiduciary income taxes imposed under G.L. c. 62, and individual use tax on motor vehicles imposed under G.L. c. 64I. Taxpayers will be notified by the Commissioner if they are eligible to participate in the amnesty program. Under the program, if an eligible taxpayer pays the full amount of tax and interest due for any period as shown on the Tax Amnesty Notice, all unpaid penalties will be waived. This includes penalties imposed for failure to timely file a return; failure to file a proper return; underpayment of tax attributable to negligence or disregard of the tax laws or to a substantial understatement of tax; failure to timely pay a tax liability; failure to file, report or pay electronically; failure to pay the proper amount of any estimated tax payment; and failure to disclose an inconsistent filing position for such period. If an eligible taxpayer pays the full outstanding balance of tax and interest with respect to previously filed returns or assessments, the Commissioner may waive the unpaid penalties and the portion of interest charges directly attributable to those penalties for those tax periods. By participating in the program, the taxpayer waives the possibility of obtaining a refund of an amount paid pursuant to the amnesty program and of any right to contest liability for the amounts paid pursuant to amnesty. Corporate taxpayers must be in compliance with the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s filing requirements to be eligible for the program. Penalties that have been assessed or that could be assessed against a taxpayer for liabilities relating to tax types other than the eligible tax types are not eligible for waiver under the program. Eligible taxpayers who participate in the program will not be eligible to participate in future amnesty programs for 10 years. (Technical Information Release 15-2, Massachusetts Department of Revenue, March 16, 2015)

(03/30/2015)

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