What does online sales tax have to do with third-party sellers? This blog post explains.
If you’ve purchased from Amazon lately, you may have noticed they’ve started charging sales tax. However, many third-party merchants that sell through the website haven’t been collecting it.
In fact, research shows that despite half of online sales happening through marketplaces (a number which is expected to grow to two-thirds within five years), these sellers don’t collect sales tax – even if the retailer they work through does (such as Amazon).
States’ Efforts: Collecting Sales Tax From Third Party Sellers
Come December 1, it’s expected the states involved in the amnesty program we’ve recently discussed will begin collecting sales tax from online merchants – including those that sell through a website like Amazon.
As the Seattle Times points out, this presents an important question: “Who will be responsible for collecting and remitting the taxes when someone buys something from a third-party seller on Amazon.com? Is that Amazon’s job or the merchant’s job, or some combination?” Continue reading
Have you heard the latest online sales tax news coming out of Indiana?
Every time we turn around, it seems there’s a new development in the online sales tax debate. As states continue to get involved and look for new ways to bolster their revenue, the issue continues to grow larger and more complex. Now Indiana is looking to the courts to settle the matter.
Indiana’s Online Sales Tax Lawsuit
On August 29, IndyStar reported that Indiana’s Attorney General filed a lawsuit asking Marion Superior Court (in Indianapolis) to find the state’s online sales tax law constitutional. ” The law, which went into effect July 1, requires out-of-state businesses to collect and remit the same sales taxes as Indiana-based businesses.”
This isn’t the first lawsuit Indiana’s online sales tax law, House Enrolled Act 1129, has been involved in. American Catalog Mailers Association and NetChoice argued the legislation was unconstitutional back in June. Continue reading
What’s the latest in the online sales tax debate? The No Regulation Without Representation Act. Read about it here.
As you know, we’ve been following the online sales tax debate for years. From the Marketplace Fairness Act to states taking matters into their own hands, it’s been interesting to follow as lawmakers debate how to handle imposing state sales tax on internet retailers. It’s especially difficult given the wide variety of taxes and fees that would need to be imposed at a state, county and city level.
New Online Sales Tax Bill: No Regulation Without Representation
The latest legislation coming from Washington DC is called the No Regulation Without Representation Act. Unlike previous bills, this one would actually remove the ability for states to collect online sales tax by essentially codifying the physical presence standard set in the US Supreme Court case Quill Corp v. North Dakota (1992). What would that mean for taxpayers? It would define physical presence (and that you have to have it in order for a state to impose its taxing scheme), as Quill did, and also likely create a de minimis threshold. The bill would essentially eliminate click through nexus standards and affiliate nexus rules currently being imposed by various states. Continue reading
How is Massachusetts approaching online sales tax? This post explains!
Over the last couple of months we’ve been taking a closer look at how various states are approaching the issue of online sales tax. Some states, like Washington and Nevada, have enacted “Amazon Laws” that make some retailers responsible for collecting and remitting state sales tax. Other states, such as Arizona, haven’t created new legislation directly about the issue yet and seem to be waiting to see how the debate is settled, either in Congress or through other states’ laws.
Today we look at a state that has been a little bit slower to enact online sales tax legislation, but is starting to make changes internet retailers need to know about: Massachusetts. Keep reading for the details. Continue reading
How does New York approach online sales tax? This blog post explains.
Overall, the topic of collecting online sales tax is not as cut and dry as some would first assume, with ambiguous meanings and regulations, often confusing business owners. And hopefully, that’s where we come in to help!
In our series we have talked about multiple states, including Nevada, Washington and Colorado, and how each one handles the issue surrounding online sales tax for their state; up next in the lineup is New York.
A Summary of New York’s Online Sales Tax Law
New York was the first state in the country to enact a law for larger internet retailers (back in 2008). This law is referred to as the “Amazon Law,” based on the large internet retailer that used to have physical presence in very few states and therefore wasn’t required to collect sales tax. Amazon has now changed its business model and has worked with many states to collect sales tax. However, over the past several years, many states enacted “Amazon Laws” or “click through” statutes to get ahead of the company and internet retailers. New York was simply the first! Continue reading
How does Arizona approach online sales tax? This blog post explains!
Have you been following our series on how states are approaching the online sales tax debate? So far we’ve taken a look at Colorado, Alabama, Washington and Texas; today we look at Arizona! Keep reading to see how the Grand Canyon State is approaching the issue.
A Summary of Arizona’s Online Sales Tax Legislation
Unlike the other states we’ve covered so far, Arizona interprets the 1992 court case, Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, a little bit more directly. The precedent set forth established that companies need to have a physical presence in the state (or nexus) in order for the state to collect sales tax on a purchase.
While many states establish economic nexus through a variety of provisions, Arizona’s 2015 Tax Handbook clearly states that physical presence as defined by Quill is key. And, as Nolo.com points out, “According to the same section, a company with no physical presence in the state, but whose products are both available in independently-owned Arizona stores and directly from the company via the internet, is not responsible for collecting sales tax.” Continue reading
How is Alabama approaching online sales tax? This post explains.
A couple of weeks ago we started a series that looks at the ramifications of various online sales tax legislation states across the country are proposing and signing into law. We started with Colorado as they’ve been at the forefront of the debate since 2010. Today we take a look at Alabama!
Alabama has been making waves in the state tax world because it passed legislation in 2015 that requires an out-of-state seller making retail sales within the state to register, and collect and remit sales tax on these sales by virtue of “economic nexus” if the seller has sales of more than $250,000 within Alabama, and engages in certain limited activities in the state. However, it does not require substantial physical presence as required in the 1992 Supreme Court decision (Quill). With the passage of these laws, Alabama drafted legislation that is unconstitutional and effectively challenging taxpayers to take the issue to court (or is challenging the federal government to finally enact some of the bills which have been circulating in Congress but have not passed). Whether that’s “simplified” or not is a question, but read on for a summary of the latest activities in the state. Continue reading
Are you keeping up with the online sales tax debate?
Have you been keeping up with the online sales tax debate? Are you curious which pieces of internet sales tax legislation are still circulating in Congress? Here’s a quick summary of the current bills we’ve been watching, and the pros and cons for each one.
The Marketplace Fairness Act of 2015
Unveiled in March 2015, this version of the Marketplace Fairness Act is similar to its 2013 predecessor with a few notable changes, requiring out-of-state companies to collect sales and use tax just like local businesses already do.
- It has a small seller exception (it does not apply to small businesses selling less than $1 million online).
- It creates an environment where the states would ultimately have to become more uniform in order to participate, thus creating some simplification.
- The implementation dates are confusing.
- It relies too heavily on Streamlined Sales Tax states.
- Conforming of non-Streamlined Sales Tax states would take a long time, and it’s unlikely there would ever be true conformity.
- It requires internet sellers to do a lot of research into sales and use taxes for online customers.
- It doesn’t address more complicated matters such as re-sales, audits, etc.
This new legislation massively expands the authority of states’ tax collection.
Cash register used to compute sales tax
For several years, the online sales tax debate has been tossed around Capitol Hill, but has gained little traction in Congress. However, two new bills introduced recently add some new fodder for discussion. One bill makes it harder to impose sales tax, while the other makes it much easier. Will either pass?
No Regulation Without Representation
Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, a republican from Wisconsin, introduced a new bill to Congress in July that would prevent states from taxing any seller lacking a physical presence. This bill is called the No Regulation Without Representation Act of 2016 (H.R. 5893).
Under this bill, unless the person is physically present in a given state during the relevant tax period, a state may not obligate a person to:
- Collect a sales, use or similar tax
- Report the sale
- Assess a tax on a person
- Treat the person as doing business in a state for purposes of such tax
Have you heard about South Dakota’s latest move regarding the online sales tax debate?
Last month we discussed how two states, Louisiana and Alabama, are taking matters into their own hands regarding the online sales tax debate. Now another state, South Dakota, is forcing the issue.
South Dakota’s Case Regarding Online Sales Tax
If you recall from our previous posts about the online sales tax debate, states are frustrated that they can’t collect the revenue from purchases made via the internet, and retailers claim it’s too difficult to keep track of the wide variety of tax codes for every single state, county and municipality – especially for small internet retailers.
Instead of waiting for Congress to come to some sort of agreement, South Dakota has taken matters into their own hands by passing Senate Bill 106, allowing the state to collect taxes from sales made from online retailers – even if they don’t have nexus within South Dakota itself. This challenges the 1992 ruling in Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that only businesses with an actual physical presence in the state (or nexus) needed to collect sales tax from residents. Continue reading