Kentucky is known for its horse races, particularly the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.
This month we travel to the Bluegrass State of Kentucky. The nickname is based on the bluegrass found in many of its pastures due to its fertile soil. The state’s largest city, Louisville, is home to the Kentucky Derby, the renowned horse race held at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May.
The Red River Gorge is a canyon system on the Red River in east-central Kentucky. Geologically, it is part of the Pottsville Escarpment, a resistant sandstone belt of cliffs and steep sided, narrow crested valleys. The prevalence of sandstone allowed the Red River to cut a magnificent gorge through the mountains. It is a rock climber’s paradise and is some of the best natural area around!
Kentucky is a land with diverse environments and abundant resources, including the world’s longest cave system, Mammoth Cave National Park, the longest of navigable waterways and streams in the contiguous United States, and the two largest man-made lakes east of the Mississippi River.
South Dakota’s online sales tax legislation could end up before the U.S. Supreme Court. Here are the details.
If you’ve been following the online sales tax debate on our blog, you know South Dakota recently passed, “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.”
The 2016 law mandated a sales tax collection responsibility from sellers grossing over $100,000 in sales to South Dakota customers, or transactions numbering more than 200 in a year – even if the seller has no physical presence or other connection with the state. Then NetChoice and the American Catalog Mailers Association sued the state, claiming the law violates Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, a ruling which established businesses need a physical presence in the state to be responsible for sales tax and fees.
Online Sales Tax Bill Ruled Unconstitutional
Unsurprisingly, South Dakota’s Supreme Court ruled Senate Bill 106 to be unconstitutional. Supreme Court Justice Glenn Severson stated, “We see no distinction between the collection obligations invalidated in Quill and those imposed by Senate Bill 106…and hold that the circuit court correctly applied the law when it granted sellers’ motion for summary judgment.” Continue reading
An update on the new amnesty program.
Last month, we updated our readers on an ongoing amnesty program for state taxes that is currently taking effect. As this program could be helpful to sellers utilizing fulfillment marketplaces, we wanted to provide an update on this program so qualified companies can take advantage of the potential benefits of the amnesty.
What exactly is it?
Despite certain online sellers, like Amazon, volunteering to collect tax across the U.S., many online sellers are not collecting tax in states where they may have (intentionally or inadvertently) created nexus. Amnesty programs encourage companies to become compliant in a given state. This one is a grand-scale amnesty, covering many states.
The nexus committee of the Multistate Tax Commission (MTC) approved the MTC to participate in a multistate sales tax amnesty program for third-party sellers whose only nexus with a state is the use of fulfillment services offered by third-party marketplaces. The Multistate Voluntary Disclosure Program (MVDP) provides a way for a taxpayer with a potential tax liability in multiple states, to negotiate a settlement, using a uniform procedure.
A lighthouse in Portland, Maine.
This month we travel all the way to the northeast corner of the country to the state with the rocky coastline and maritime history of Maine, the Pine Tree State.
Maine is the northeasternmost state in the contiguous United States. It is known for its jagged rocky coastline, low, rolling mountains, heavily forested interior, picturesque waterways, and its seafood cuisine, especially clams and lobster.
During the last ice age, the receding glacier left artifacts that we find interesting today- millennia later. Much of Maine’s geomorphology was created by extended glacial activity at the end of the last ice age. Prominent glacial features include Somes sound and Bubble Rock, both part of Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island. Carved by glaciers, Somes sound is considered to be the only fjord on the eastern seaboard and reaches depths of 175 feet. The extreme depth and deep drop-off allow large ships to navigate almost the entire length of the sound. These features also have made it attractive for boat builders, such as the prestigious Hinkley Yachts.
Could an Amnesty Program erase your tax burden?
There is a new scheduled amnesty program that may help businesses correct overlooked tax obligations if they have been selling products and services in other states. Many companies engage in multi-state sales through an intermediary, like Amazon, eBay and similar organizations called “fulfillment services.” The fulfillment centers place a seller’s inventory in warehouses in multiple states to expedite shipping, but in the process, create nexus for the seller in those states. As such, the sellers have an obligation to collect sales tax and pay income tax. Unfortunately, unpaid taxes may incur penalties and interest. Now there may be a short time window to correct these errors and avoid interest and penalties.
On Monday, July 31, the nexus committee of the Multistate Tax Commission (MTC) approved the MTC to participate in a multistate sales tax amnesty program for third-party sellers whose only nexus with a state is the use of fulfillment services offered by third-party marketplaces. The MTC is an intergovernmental state tax agency working on behalf of states and taxpayers to facilitate the equitable and efficient administration of state tax laws that apply to multistate and multinational enterprises.
Mt. Rushmore in beautiful South Dakota
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.
Is Ohio’s new approach to online sales tax justified?
What do cookies, nexus and online sales tax have to do with each other? States are continuing to look for ways to justify charging sales tax to internet retailers; Ohio just took a page out of Massachusetts’ book.
Massachusetts’ Online Sales Tax Directive 17-1
A couple of weeks ago we shared that Massachusetts created a directive that redefined nexus to include internet cookies, which meant that the state was recognizing these bits of computer code as a way to establish a physical presence, therefore making internet retailers responsible for collecting and remitting sales tax from online shoppers. Continue reading
Have you been following the latest online sales tax directives from Massachusetts?
A couple of weeks ago we summarized Massachusetts’ Directive 17-1, a new piece of online sales tax legislation that redefined physical presence to include downloaded apps and internet ‘cookies’ – the data websites store on users’ computers and phones to track visits. While Directive 17-2, which repealed the prior directive, was announced at the end of June, the original law redefining physical presence (or nexus) was so distinctive that we wanted to take a closer look at the rule.
Massachusetts’ Online Sales Tax Directive 17-1
What made this state’s approach to online sales tax so uncommon? Sylvia Dion, our colleague and a principal at PrietoDion Consulting Partners, provides a nice summary in a recent blog post for SalesTaxSupport.com. I’ve included a few of her key points below, but the reason so many opposed it (including trade groups) is that it redefines nexus, twisting established precedent to justify collecting sales tax from internet vendors.
It’s worth noting that, unlike other states that have enacted online sales tax legislation, Directive 17-1 was established as an administrative policy from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue rather than the state legislature. Also, because the directive clearly targets “internet vendors,” there is a strong argument that it could be discriminatory.
The most interesting part of this directive, however, is the detailed discussion and justification accompanying it, contorting previous precedent and state law to increase the number of online retailers responsible for charging customers for state sales tax. Continue reading
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.
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