BAC Files Petition Stating Nebraska Not in Compliance With SST Agreement

In a petition filed on February 11, 2011, the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax (SST) Business Advisory Council (BAC) stated that Nebraska is not in compliance with the SST Agreement due to its taxation of electronic mailing lists. The BAC states that the SST Governing Board made an error during their 2010 certification review of Nebraska. Since Nebraska includes the sale or use of electronic mailing lists as tangible personal property and taxes accordingly, they are out of compliance with the SST Agreement. The Agreement indicates that a member state may not include any product transferred electronically (except for specific exclusions) in its definition of tangible personal property. Electronic transfers can be taxed under the Agreement by separate imposition or as a service. According to the BAC, the state’s sales tax treatment of electronic mailing lists is based on a 2002 Nebraska Supreme Court opinion that treats sales of online data as sales of tangible personal property for purposes of corporate income tax. The BAC states that that court decision doesn’t apply to sales tax. Also, the SST Agreement does not allow for grandfather provisions. As a result, the BAC states that Nebraska should have been found out of compliance with the Agreement in the 2010 review. The Issue Resolution Committee will schedule a hearing on the petition and will issue a recommendation to the board after hearing arguments. (Petition for Resolution and Reconsideration, Business Advisory Council, February 11, 2011)

Posted on December 13, 2011