What states are coming up with amnesty programs of their own?
Across the U.S., amnesty seems to be a popular topic these days. The Multistate Tax Commission’s (MTC) special amnesty program for marketplace retailers recently ended. And a few other states have recently announced their own amnesty programs so that they can benefit from potential increased compliance as well. Connecticut (CT), Ohio (OH) and Rhode Island (RI) are the latest states to roll out amnesty programs of their own. And we expect others to follow. The states administer amnesty programs because they want to induce companies to become compliant by waiving, or limiting penalties and interest for prior unpaid taxes.
Recent MTC amnesty program
Many states just took part in a special amnesty program. The MTC had negotiated this special program for online sellers using marketplace fulfillment services (such as Fulfillment by Amazon) that created nexus and thereby had sales tax and income tax obligations. Twenty five states participated, including CT and RI. To find out more about this amnesty program, click here.
This special amnesty program waived taxes in addition to interest and penalties. We’ve cautioned our clients not to expect amnesties to be that generous in the future. Most state amnesties allow taxpayers to waive penalties and some interest, but rarely the tax itself.
Tahquamenon Falls in Michigan’s eastern Upper Peninsula.
This month takes us to the Wolverine State of Michigan. The origins of this name are obscure, but may be derived from a busy trade in Wolverine furs during the 18th Century.
Its largest city, Detroit, is famed as the seat of the U.S. auto industry, which inspired Diego Riviera’s murals at the Detroit institute of Arts. Also in Detroit is Hitsville U.S.A., the original headquarters of the Motown Record Company. Michigan is home to many great musicians including The Supremes, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Bob Seger, Kid Rock and Alice Cooper.
Don’t miss these details about Washington’s new Marketplace Fairness solution.
We recently shared an overview of Washington’s New Marketplace Fairness solution. While we’re skeptical it will help rather than hinder, it’s important you know additional details about marketplace facilitators and sellers.
Marketplace Facilitator Overview
- Starting in January 2018, marketplace facilitators will need to collect sales tax on behalf of marketplace sellers that have not established a physical presence, or nexus, within the state.
- Facilitators are responsible for collection of sales tax if they themselves have nexus in Washington State or $10,000 or more in retail sales within the state. This can include their own products as well as sales they make on behalf of a remote seller.
- What exactly do these facilitators need to do? As the Department of Revenue explains:
- Collect and pay sales tax on sales to Washington consumers
- Follow the use tax notice and reporting requirements [as explained].
Read here for an update on the ongoing CA Competes Tax Credit.
As the mainstream media wonders where Amazon will locate its HQ2, many states are in the news touting their credits and incentives benefits to draw in company expansions. We thought it would be a good time to revisit the California Competes Tax Credit. As we’ve reported before, the credit has been available since January 2014 and isn’t scheduled to sunset until 2025. Every year, the state earmarks funds for the program of approximately $200 million, and companies compete for the funds during three application periods per year.
The CA Competes Tax Credit is an income tax credit available to companies who want to expand their business in CA. (They can be in state businesses expanding or businesses new to the state.) Companies that apply for this credit must submit applications to the state detailing increased investment in CA. Tax credit agreements are negotiated by GO-Biz and approved by a statutorily created “California Competes Tax Credit Committee.” The GO-Biz is a board consisting of representatives from the Governor’s office of Business and Economic Development. Not all companies requesting money receive it. There is a subjective process for allocating the funds annually.
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.
Don’t miss the amnesty program’s deadline!
Are you still considering whether to take advantage of the current amnesty program? Designed as a way for online sellers to become compliant in states they may have created nexus (either intentionally or inadvertently), the voluntary program provides an opportunity for these businesses to come forward if they haven’t been collecting income, franchise, use or sales tax.
The program originally was going to end on October 17. However, on October 11, the MTC voted to extend the application deadline to November 1. So contact us soon for help registering for this program!
How the Amnesty Program Works
Online marketplace and ecommerce sellers (particularly those using fulfillment services such as “Fulfillment by Amazon” or FBA) with outstanding sales and income tax liabilities use the Multistate Tax Commission’s Voluntary Disclosure Agreement to become tax compliant, and the participating states waive the fines and penalties for which sellers would generally be responsible. In several cases they are also waiving the tax itself! 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.
Did you hear about Washington’s latest state tax legislation? This post has the details.
Over the last few years, Washington has taken an interesting approach to its nexus and state tax law. Back in 2015, it adopted a click-through statute and economic nexus thresholds for businesses making sales in the state. Washington currently has a few other interesting bills up for debate, but in the meantime the Department of Revenue (DOR) enacted another piece of legislation that affects economic nexus.
About Washington State Tax Law HB 2163
Washington’s DOR explains how this new state law affects nexus and business and occupation (B&O) tax alongside a few examples on its website. Here’s a brief summary. Continue reading
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.