Online Retailers Targeted by North Carolina Legislation

A bill that would enact a presumption of nexus for certain online retailers and extend the sales and use tax to digital products has been introduced in the North Carolina Senate on March 9, 2009. The legislation is basically identical to the Amazon law that was enacted by New York in 2008. A presumption that an online retailer is soliciting business in the state, for sales and use tax purposes, would be created if an in-state entity refers customers to the retailer by a link on a Web site in return for a commission or other consideration. As in New York law, the presumption under the North Carolina bill would only apply when the retailer’s cumulative gross receipts from sales to customers referred to the retailer by in-state entities exceed $10,000 in the preceding year. However, the presumption could be rebutted by proof that the in-state entity did not engage in any solicitation in the state on the retailer’s behalf that would meet the nexus requirement. The North Carolina legislation would also extend the general state sales and use tax rate to the sales price of an audio or audiovisual work, a book, and computer software that is delivered or accessed electronically and would be subject to sales and use taxes if sold in a tangible form. Further rules and regulations apply. (S.B. 487, introduced in the North Carolina Senate on March 9, 2009, and referred to the Senate Committee on Finance on March 10, 2009)

Posted on June 10, 2009