Category Archives: Sales Tax

IT’S ALL GREEK TO ME!- US MULTISTATE TAX & FOREIGN COMPANIES

Santorini, Greece

I just returned from an amazing vacation – a cruise of the Mediterranean.  We started in Athens, Greece; spent just a couple days there enjoying the history, and then boarded our ship.  The cruise took us to the Greek isles of Santorini and Crete, and then we sailed to Italy, the beautiful St. Tropez, France, and finally Barcelona, Spain.  We finished our vacation by sampling many, many tapas and wines in Barcelona.  About midway through our vacation, I found myself wondering – how could I do US multistate tax consulting somewhere in Europe?  I’m still working on that angle, and will certainly keep you posted.

But meanwhile, on the flip side of that equation, we’ve been engaging with several foreign companies who have US operations and find our state tax laws to be, well, challenging!  As I tell all my foreign clients – trust me, they are challenging for US companies too!  Here are some of the main things for foreign companies to think about as they begin doing business in the US.

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FOCUS ON MISSISSIPPI

A Mississippi Riverboat sailing down the Mississippi River.

This month we travel to the land of Dixie, the southern state of Mississippi. The state is heavily forested with over half of the state’s area covered by wild trees including mostly pine, as well as cottonwood, elm, hickory, oak, pecan, sweetgum and tupelo.

The Mississippi River delta region is considered home of the blues music, where this type of music is honored at the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale. This region is also one of the top casino destinations between Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Many well-known and diverse singers came out of Mississippi including Elvis Presley, alternative rock band 3-Doors Down, Jimmy Buffet and Opera Singer Leontyne Price.

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ANOTHER MOVE TOWARD ECONOMIC NEXUS

How is Indiana changing the way it views nexus?

Multistate tax can be a cumbersome issue. When businesses sell their products across state lines, they need to think about whether they have taxable presence, or nexus, in the state and if their products are taxable.

Generally companies establish nexus by having a physical presence in the state. However, several states are pushing the boundaries of defining the physical presence in order to generate more revenue. Welcome to the concept of “economic nexus.”

 

Nexus and Physical Presence

As we discuss in a previous post, “nexus” is the term used to describe the minimum connection that a company (taxpayer) must have with the state in order for the state to be able to subject the company to its state taxing schemes (including sales tax, income tax, gross receipts tax and others). Nexus is normally established by companies having a physical presence in the state, by virtue of having employees, or third party contractors acting on their behalf in a state, or the presence of a warehouse or storefront in the state.  Inventory in a state can also create nexus. Continue reading

FOCUS ON NEW MEXICO

White Sands National Monument full of white sand dunes and gypsum crystals.

Welcome to the Land of Enchantment! This month we travel to the southwestern state of New Mexico. The states of New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and Utah come together at the Four Corners in the northwestern corner of the state, the only such occurrence in the U.S. Although a large state, New Mexico has very little water, with a surface area of only about 250 square miles.

Inhabited by Native Americans for thousands of years before European Exploration, New Mexico was colonized in 1598 by the Imperial Spanish viceroyalty of New Spain. Later, it was part of independent Mexico before becoming a U.S. territory and eventually a U.S. state, as a result of the Mexican-American War. Among the U.S. states, New Mexico has the highest percentage of Hispanics, including descendants of the original Spanish colonists who have lived in the area for more than 400 years beginning in 1598. The demography and culture are shaped by these strong Hispanic and Native American Influences and is also expressed in the state flag. Its scarlet and gold colors are taken from the royal standards of Spain, along with the ancient symbol of the Zia, a Pueblo-related tribe.

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What Do You Need To Know About Washington’s Online Sales Tax?

Side view of a piggy bank with the flag design of Washington.

How does Washington state approach online sales tax? This post explains.

The online sales tax debate continues, with states taking matters into their own hands instead of waiting for Congress to decide how to settle the matter. However, not all states are approaching the issue the same way. We’ve already looked at current and potential legislation in Colorado and Alabama; next we venture to Washington state!

A Summary of Washington’s Online Sales Tax Legislation

As we’ve previously explained, Washington prompted online sales tax collection by expanding its definition of nexus. Back in 2015, they rolled out the five-point internet sales tax solution, followed by establishing nexus through click-through retail solutions. Continue reading

FOCUS ON MARYLAND

Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Academy Chapel Dome and Harbor Queen tour vessel at City Dock.

This month we travel to the birthplace of religious freedom in America, the state of Maryland. Formed by George Calvert in the early 17th Century, the state was intended as a refuge for persecuted Catholics from England. George Calvert was the first Lord of Baltimore and the first English proprietor of the then-Maryland colonial grant. Maryland was the seventh state to ratify the U.S. Constitution, and played a pivotal role in the founding of Washington D.C., which was established on land donated by the state.

Mid-Atlantic Maryland is defined by its abundant waterways and coastlines on the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean. Its largest city, Baltimore, has a history as a major seaport, and is also home to such tourist attractions as the National Aquarium and the Maryland Science Center.

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Fascinating Ramifications of Colorado’s New Online Sales Tax

Side view of a piggy bank with the flag design of colorado.

What are the ramifications of online sales tax in Colorado? This post explains.

As we’ve been following the online sales tax debate in previous posts, we’ve mostly approached the issue as it affects the country as a whole. While Congress has continued to debate how to handle taxing internet shoppers, however, states have been taking matters into their own hands. This upcoming series will look at new legislation coming out in different state legislatures across the country, beginning with Colorado.

A Summary of Colorado’s Online Sales Tax Legislation

Colorado has been at the forefront of the internet sales tax debate since 2010, when it passed a law that required companies with more than $100,000 in sales that did not have nexus in the state to do two things:

  1. Alert Colorado customers that Colorado sales or use tax is due
  2. File annual reports to the state, listing all the names, purchases and shipping addresses of Colorado customers

Although this legislation seemed egregious to most of us in the business, it went to court and, after many rounds in various courts, the law will now be effective as of July 1, 2017 because the U. S. Supreme Court denied certiorari – meaning they won’t hear the case. There have been some recent modifications that stipulate retroactive reporting won’t be necessary, but businesses will need to report on all sales after July 1 of this year. Continue reading

PENNSYLVANIA- CLARIFICATION ISSUED ON LEGISLATION?

We all buy digital products and music online, but how does Pennsylvania tax them?

Businesses obviously grow by selling their products outside of their local boundaries and across state lines. Pennsylvania (PA) has experienced, like most states, a relatively large amount of sales from companies outside PA, and, with that, the loss in sales tax revenue from those sales, as out of state companies do not often collect sales tax. Pennsylvania has a growing economy, and like most states, it is continually modifying its tax laws to be current with changing conditions and technologies.

Last summer, we wrote an article about a new Pennsylvania law going into effect related to taxing software that is digitally downloaded. This law went into effect on August 1, 2016.

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How to Determine Taxability of Services, Part 2

Smiling businesswoman calculating bills at office desk

Do you understand how to determine the taxability of services?

A couple of weeks ago we introduced the general guidelines surrounding taxability of services. Because taxability varies by state, we wanted to share a few examples of how selected states determine if a company is responsible for sales and use tax on their services.

Arizona’s Take on Taxability of Services

In Arizona, transactions that include both tangible personal property and services may be subject to sales and use tax collection (note that AZ has what is called the Transaction Privilege Tax, which is similar to a sales tax for purposes of this example). So, for example, a company that sells a physical widget and then operates it for you would need to charge taxes on the entire transaction. Continue reading

FOCUS ON MISSOURI

The St. Louis, Missouri Gateway Arch and skyline

This month we travel to the “Show Me” state of Missouri. The people of Missouri have earned their motto as the “Show Me” state for their very practical skepticism of the fads that sweep other parts of the country. This attitude manifests itself in the state government’s approach to business encouragement and regulation. So, let’s look at the state and see how their approach could help your business.

The state is the 21st most extensive by area and is geographically diverse. North of the Missouri River, the state is primarily composed of rolling hills of the Great Plains and south of the Missouri River, the state is dominated by forests. The Mississippi River forms the Eastern Border of the State, eventually flowing into the swampy Missouri Bootheel.

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