Reminiscing and Wondering

Happy New Year!  I can’t believe it is 2017 already – where has the time gone?  If you are like me, a year passes in a blink of an eye.  It seems like just yesterday I was setting some goals for 2016 and now it is time to see how I did and plan for 2017.  I’ve stopped making New Year’s Resolutions – but have tried to set a few major goals – business and personal.

Last year I had 5 major business goals and 3 personal ones.  Some got accomplished, some had a strong effort and some just didn’t even get touched.  How about you?  I thought I would try to do a little reminiscing about what happened in the sales tax world as well as at the Sales Tax Institute during 2016 and also do a little wondering about what 2017 might bring.

On the sales tax front – probably the biggest news was the Colorado Reporting litigation and its long path coming to an end.  After one trip to the U.S. Supreme Court and then a denial in December, I think this is finally done.  The only thing we are waiting for is direction from Colorado as to when it will be effective.  We have a great summary on our News & Tips page. But at a high level, remote sellers that are not registered to collect Colorado use tax will now be required to provide data to not only their customers but also the State regarding taxable sales made to residents.  The Colorado purchasers will be required to remit the use tax.  Based on the court rulings during the year, we saw a few additional states enact or strengthen their reporting legislation including Vermont, Oklahoma, and Louisiana.  I’m betting after the December SCOTUS denial of cert we will see similar proposals in a number of states in 2017. (Prediction #1)

The other big news on the sales tax nexus front is economic nexus.  What prompted the action?  Justice Kennedy in DMA (see above), concurred with an unqualified opinion, but included a surprising statement. He explained the National Bellas Hess and Quill decisions then said “Given these challenges in technology and consumer sophistication, it is unwise to delay any longer a reconsideration of the Court’s holding in Quill.  A case questionable even when decided, Quill now harms States to a degree far greater than could have been anticipated earlier.”  He closed his opinion by saying “The instant case does not raise this issue in a manner appropriate for the Court to address it. It does provide, however, the means to note the importance of reconsider­ing doubtful authority. The legal system should find an appropriate case for this Court to reexamine Quill and Bellas Hess.” It is unclear if this could be a request for a nexus case to come before the Court.

The states have tired of waiting for federal legislation.  Nothing really happened although we saw 4 proposed or draft bills on the topic.  Marketplace Fairness Act, Remote Transaction Parity Act, No Registration without Representation and Online Sales Simplification Act.  Now that the new Congress has been sworn in, these are all dead and any new ideas will have to be reintroduced.  I’m hoping we will see better bills proposed.  Prediction #2 – bills will be proposed – but I’m not ready to say anything will pass in 2017.  Too much uncertainty with the new administration.

Alabama enacted an economic nexus RULE in 2015 that was effective January 1, 2016.  Not to be outdone, South Dakota passed economic nexus legislation that required registration by May 1, 2016 for remote sellers.  The legislation provided an expedited appeals process under the expectation that there would be challenges to the constitutionality of the provision.  Both states now have litigation pending.  Vermont was busy.  In addition to the reporting legislation that it passed, it also passed economic nexus provisions.  For both of these, the effective date is tied to the resolution in the Colorado case (reporting) and South Dakota (economic nexus).  We are waiting to hear when Vermont considers the Colorado case resolved and the effective date.

Prediction #3 – we will see the litigation move in both Alabama and South Dakota and likely not be resolved at the state level.  I’m guessing it will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court – although not sure this will all happen in 2017.  Prediction #4 – look for a lot of action at the state level on Click Through, Affiliate, Economic, Marketplace and Reporting legislation.  And to help you with this – Goal #1 for Sales Tax Institute – we will be launching a new tool to help – watch for this in the next month!  So I think it will be a very interesting legislative year – at the state and federal level!  Until then, we’ve got a comprehensive white paper on nexus.  Check it out!

And what happened with the Sales Tax Institute during 2016 and what do we have planned for 2017?  Lots of great things!  Our big news was our 20th Anniversary was in August.  We had a great celebration with so many that have contributed to our success for this long.  I still can’t believe it has been that long!  We put out mementos – that was a trip down memory lane for me!

And everyone left some wishes for me that I will treasure.

It meant a lot that almost my entire family was there with me – I couldn’t have done this without them.

We made 2 announcements during the party – and they were 2 of my big company goals.  And we did it!  We now have a new training delivery method – Webinars on Demand! And a way to share more thoughts, ideas and tax ideas with you in our new Blog.  Both of these have been on my goal list for a number of years!  The Webinars on Demand was a labor of love – thanks so much to Brad Farris who has been my business advisor for so long.  We’ll be writing a blog post about what it took to launch – it was CRAZY!  So watch for that in the next month or so. We’ll be adding more soon so watch for the announcements.

We’ll continue with our live webinars – we’ve got a great line up for Q1.  We’ll chat about taxation of services, the sales tax process and what you need to know to do your job and Nexus!

We’ll also visit Scottsdale in May for our Advanced Workshop where we’ve got a great line up of topics and instructors including BJ Pritchett and Breen Schiller.  For our Basics of Sales Tax class in June, we will be back at the Union League Club in the same room where we celebrated our Anniversary.  That will be fun!  Joining us will be BJ Pritchett, David Hughes and Jennifer Zimmerman.  I of course will be at both classes.  We love our faculty and appreciate their commitment to teaching people about sales tax.

So what are my company goals for 2017?  I have 3 (in addition to the nexus tool I talked about above).  The first is to finally finish and deliver our long awaited Exemptions self study course.  Yes I know we’ve been promoting it for a long time – but it is really almost here!  My second is to grow and develop our small business sales tax advisory services through YETTER.  I really love working with smaller businesses where we can make a big impact.  We’ve seen this part of our business grow and it has energized me to come up with new ideas and ways to help them.  And the last thing I want to focus on is finding and developing relationships with organizations and companies to help us do more for all of you in the sales tax field.  I broke my record for speaking last fall – 16 speeches in 3.5 weeks!  I was wiped out but also invigorated.  I talked to so many people and got a lot of ideas on what is important to all of you.  I want to be able to reach more people and help them with not just sales tax questions but how to really grow in their career (in fact this was our December webinar).  If you have any ideas on who I should talk to or if you have opportunities where I can speak or write an article for you – just let me know.

What are you goals for 2017?  Anything I can help you with?  Is there something more you would like to see from us at the Sales Tax Institute or YETTER?  If so, just drop us a line and share your thoughts.  We really want to be your go to resource for sales tax training.

Here’s to a great 2017 with much success and a lot of fun along the way!

Posted on January 5, 2017

About the Author:

Diane L. Yetter

Founder of the Sales Tax Institute

Diane L. Yetter is a strategist, advisor, speaker, and author in the field of sales and use tax. She is president and founder of YETTER Tax and founder of the Sales Tax Institute. You can find Diane on LinkedIn and Twitter.