Washington Insurance Company Created Nexus for Affiliated Mail Order Pharmacy

The Washington Department of Revenue has determined that business and occupation tax is due on an out-of-state mail order pharmacy’s sales to an in-state affiliated insurance company’s benefit plan subscribers. The insurance company’s and/or its representatives distributed brochures containing information about the benefits of ordering from the pharmacy to subscribers, contained descriptive information and a link to the pharmacy’s’ website on its website, and enabled subscribers to order drugs from the pharmacy from within its secure site. Although the pharmacy claimed that the insurance company’s actions were done solely to establish and maintain a market for its health plans and that it is not performing services on behalf of the pharmacy at the pharmacy’s direction and control, as evidenced by a written agreement between the two corporations, the court determined that an agency or representative relationship was created based on the practice of the parties. Since the in-state affiliate acted as an agent or representative engaged in establishing or maintaining a market in Washington for the out-of-state pharmacy, the pharmacy was found to have substantial nexus with the State. (Tax Determination No. 08-015ER, Washington Department of Revenue, March 25, 2010)

Posted on April 19, 2010