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Effective October 1, 2016, North Carolina has enacted a sales and use tax exemption for sales of products made of more than 75% by weight of recycled materials when the products are sold for use in an accepted wastewater dispersal system. A purchaser of qualifying products is required to provide the seller with a completed Form E-595E, Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement Certificate of Exemption, or the required data elements indicating the seller’s authority to exempt the transaction from sales or use tax. (Important Notice: Exemption for Certain Products Made of Recycled Materials, North Carolina Department of Revenue, September 15, 2016)


On August 25, 2016, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte released a discussion draft of the Online Sales Simplification Act of 2016. The legislation would implement a “hybrid origin” approach for remote sales. Under the legislation, states could impose sales tax on remote sales if the origin state participates in a clearinghouse.In this case, the tax is based on the origin state’s baseand taxability rules. The rate would be the origin state rate, unless the destination state participates. In that case, the rate used would be a single state-wide rate determined by each participating destination state. A remote seller would only remit sales tax to its origin state for all remote sales. Only the origin state would be able to audit a seller for remote sales. Non-participating states would not be able to receive distributions from the clearinghouse. Sellers would be required to provide reporting for remotes sales into participating states to the Clearinghouse so it can distribute the tax to the destination state. We will continue to monitor activity and update when the official bill is introduced.  (Discussion draft of Online Sales Simplification Act of 2016)


On July 14, 2016, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) introduced the No Regulation Without Representation Act of 2016.  Taking the opposite approach of the Marketplace Fairness Act and Remote Transactions Parity Act, this proposed bill would limit the ability of states to require remote sellers to collect use tax. If enacted, the Act would codify the physical presence requirement established by the US Supreme Court in Quill Corp v. North Dakota.  The bill would define physical presence and create a de minimis threshold. If enacted, the bill would preempt click-through nexus, affiliate nexus, reporting requirements and marketplace nexus legislation. The bill would be effective as of January 1, 2017. The bill defines “seller” and provides that states and localities may not:


  • Obligate a person to collect a sales, use or similar tax; 
  • Obligate a person to report sales; 
  • Assess a tax on a person; or 
  • Treat the person as doing business in a state or locality for purposes of such tax unless the person has a physical presence in the jurisdiction during the calendar quarter that the obligation or assessment is imposed.


Persons would be considered to have a physical presence only if during the calendar year the person: 


  • Owns or leases real or tangible personal property in the state; 
  • Has one or more employees, agents or independent contractors in the state specifically soliciting product or service orders from customers in the state or providing design, installation or repair services there; or 
  • Maintains an office in-state with three or more employees for any purpose.


Physical presence would not include: 


  • Click-through referral agreements with in-state persons who receive commissions for referring customers to the seller; 
  • Presence for less than 15 days in a taxable year; 
  • Product delivery provided by a common carrier; or 
  • Internet advertising services not exclusively directed towards, or exclusively soliciting in-state customers.


The bill defines seller to exclude marketplace providers; referrers; third-party delivery services in which the seller does not have an ownership interest; and credit card issuers, transaction or billing processors or financial intermediaries.Marketplace Providers are defined as any person other than the seller who facilitates a sale which includes listing or advertising the items or services for sale and either directly or indirectly collects gross receipts from the customer and transmits the amounts to the marketplace seller. (No Regulation Without Representation Act of 2016 (H.R. 5893))


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.


Effective May 11, 2016, North Carolina’s definition of "qualifying datacenter" is amended. This impacts the exemption for electricity and datacenter support equipment.  A "qualifying datacenter" is a datacenter that satisfies each of the following conditions.


  • The datacenter certifies that it satisfies the wage standard for the development tier area or zone in which the datacenter is located. There is no wage standard for a development tier one area. If an urban progress zone or an agrarian growth zone is not in a development tier one area, then the wage standard for that zone is an average weekly wage that is at least equal to 90% of the lesser of the average wage for all insured private employers in North Carolina and the average wage for all insured private employers in the county in which the datacenter is located. The wage standard for a development tier two area or a development tier three area is an average weekly wage that is at least equal to 110% of the lesser of the average wage for all insured private employers in North Carolina and 90% of the average wage for all insured private employers in the county in which the datacenter is located.
  • The Secretary of Commerce has made a written determination that at least $75 million in private funds has been or will be invested by one or more owners, users, or tenants of the datacenter within five years of the date the owner, user, or tenant of the datacenter makes its first real or tangible property investment in the datacenter on or after January 1, 2012. Investments in real or tangible property in the datacenter made prior to January 1, 2012, may not be included in the investment required by this subdivision.
  • The datacenter certifies that it provides health insurance for all of its full-time employees. The datacenter provides health insurance if it pays at least 50% of the premiums for health care coverage that equals or exceeds the minimum provisions of the basic health care plan of coverage recommended by the Small Employer Carrier Committee.


For more information on the exemption, see our previous news item North Carolina Enacts Exemption for Qualifying Datacenters. (Important Notice: Definition of Qualified Datacenter Clarified, North Carolina Department of Revenue, May 25, 2016)


On February 11, 2016, the U.S. Senate approved a permanent extension of the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA) that is included in H.R. 644, the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015. The bill also establishes an end date of June 30, 2020 for the seven states that currently impose a tax on internet access: Hawaii, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin. President Obama is expected to sign the permanent extension of the ITFA into law. The House of Representatives had previously passed H.R. 235, the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act, on December 15, 2015.  For our previous news item on this topic, visit Internet Tax Freedom Act Extended Through October 1, 2016.


UPDATE: On February 24, 2016, President Barack Obama signed into law the permanent extension of the Internet Tax Freedom Act.


(Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015)



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