No Nexus Created by In-State Employee Hired in Virginia

In response to a taxpayer inquiry, the Virginia Department of Taxation ruled on the tax obligations of an energy service company that assists customers in selling their unused electricity back the energy grid. The company owns and manages a software application that enables Virginia customers to transact with an independent system operator, located outside Virginia, who purchases the unused electricity. However, an employee was hired in Virginia to promote and sell the company’s services to Virginia based organizations. The company requested a ruling regarding whether its activities of hiring a Virginia-based employee created any tax obligations for corporate and retail sales and use tax purposes. Based on the facts presented, it was ruled that since the taxpayer had only one salesperson working in Virginia, it was not an adequate basis to create corporate income tax nexus. In regards to sales and use tax nexus, an obligation is only established when a taxpayer is a dealer and has sufficient contacts with Virginia to require registration. In this case, the company does not qualify as a dealer under the statute because it does not offer tangible personal property for sale at retail, but rather facilitates the sale of unused electricity between two participants. Consequently, the company does not have a sales tax collection obligation. (Ruling of Commissioner, P.D. 07-181, Virginia Department of Taxation)

Posted on September 3, 2008