This month takes us to the Mount Rushmore state of South Dakota. South Dakota is the 5th least populous state in the U.S., with a population of 865,454 people in 2016. It is also the 5th least densely populated state in the country. South Dakota is in the north-central United States, and is considered part of the Midwest by the U.S. Census Bureau. It is also part of the Great Plains region, which covers most of the western two-thirds of the state. West of the Missouri River the landscape becomes more and more rugged, consisting of rolling hills, plains, ravines, and steep flat-topped hills called buttes. In the south part of the state, east of the Black Hills, lies the Badlands of South Dakota. Erosion from the Black Hills, marine skeletons that fell to the bottom of a large shallow sea that once covered the area, and volcanic material, all contribute to the geology of this area.
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.
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.
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.
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.
State taxes can be daunting. There are so many ways companies can trip into nexus creating activities in multiple states and suddenly find themselves in a compliance nightmare. I see this situation often in my practice. Many of my clients are in the technology industry. Silicon Valley moves at an alarming speed (well, except for Highway 101 – but that’s another story!), and companies move people and product into multiple states just as quickly – sometimes without even realizing the ramifications. State taxes – including sales tax and income tax are often an afterthought, but then come back and rear their heads when a company is getting its next round of funding or needs a financial statement audit. It is at this point that people usually take notice of the state tax situation. Why? Here’s a scenario: Continue reading
We’ve written about online sales tax multiple times before, but it’s a complicated topic without a simple solution. And that’s why we keep coming back to it! In the past we’ve discussed how states are attempting to extend the definition of nexus to broaden their online tax reach, or potential legislation coming through Congress. But one area we haven’t really taken a look at is the question of cloud-based services. How do they fit into the online sales tax debate?
About Cloud-Based Services
More and more, consumers are opting for digital versions of software, music, DVDs and games over physical copies. They purchase the rights to use these goods online and stream them directly from the “cloud” to their computer, tablet or smartphone without ever holding a tangible item that can be taxed in the traditional manner.
Consumers aren’t the only ones relying on the cloud. Businesses are continuing to move their company’s storage to the ominous “cloud,” hiring third-party cloud-based organizations rather than needing to rely on their own data-management. Many companies are therefore entering the software-as-a-service (“SaaS”) models. Continue reading