Online sales continue to have a negative impact on state and local tax revenue, and Georgia is the latest state to take action.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal recently signed House Bill 61 legislation, which is an economic nexus law on internal sales and will affect certain retailers who conduct business in the state of Georgia. The law will require retailers who make sales outside of Georgia, for delivery into Georgia, to either collect and remit tax on those sales, or provide notice to purchasers that tax may be due. These retailers must send tax statements each year to purchasers who spend at least $500, and must file such statements with the Georgia Department of Revenue.
Retailers who are subject to this economic nexus include those in the previous or current calendar year who:
- Have over $250,000 in gross revenue from retail sales of tangible personal property to be delivered to a location in Georgia, or
- Have conducted 200 or more separate retail sales of tangible personal property to be delivered to a location in Georgia.
If you have any questions about this or similar legislation, contact your state and local tax professional.
California has contacted more than 2,500 out-of-state retailers to notify them that they may owe sales tax due to the presence of products in California warehouses. A remote seller owning products in a California warehouse creates a physical presence in California and therefore sales tax nexus. The most common example is holding inventory in an Amazon warehouse. If contacted by the State of California the remote seller will be required to remit sales tax on all sales into California from the time this nexus was created. Any seller who believe they are in this situation should contact Eide Bailly’s State and Local Tax Team to discuss options to minimize the tax, penalties and interest. Once the state contacts the retailer the options to mitigate the exposure are limited.
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the South Dakota v. Wayfair case on April 17, 2018. The case involves a South Dakota law that requires an out-of-state seller to collect sales tax from South Dakota customers if the seller’s gross revenue from taxable sales delivered in South Dakota exceed $100,000 or the seller makes more than 200 deliveries in the state of South Dakota annually. We will continue to monitor developments in this historic tax case. If you have questions about your responsibilities to collect and remit sales tax, please contact a member of our state and local tax team.
We previously discussed this case here, here, and here.
Today the United States Supreme Court announced it will hear the South Dakota challenge in the 1992 Quill decision. In South Dakota v. Wayfair, the South Dakota Supreme Court ruled the economic nexus standard for sales tax established by the South Dakota legislature as unconstitutional. South Dakota decided that sales tax nexus was established by meeting the minimum threshold of 200 total sales or $100,000 in total South Dakota transactions/sales. In Quill, sales tax nexus required substantial presence which is widely considered to be physical presence.
Contact a member of our state and local tax team to learn more or for assistance with your sales tax questions.
On November 25, 2017 Colorado published a permanent rule in regard to its Notice and Reporting requirement for out-of-state retailers. The permanent rule includes a few minor changes and clarifications from the previously announced requirements.
Summary of Rule
Effective July 1, 2017, Colorado required an out-of-state retailer whose total gross sales into Colorado are $100,000 or more, and who does not collect Colorado sales tax, to give a transactional notice to their Colorado purchasers that sales tax has not been collected and that use tax may be owed. Additionally, if any of their Colorado purchasers purchased more than $500 worth of products in a calendar year, then a Purchase Summary must be mailed to that purchaser and a corresponding Informational Report given to the Colorado Department of Revenue.
Noteworthy Changes with Permanent Rule
- Colorado has recognized that some out-of-state retailers making online sales utilize third party payment processing vendors. Previously, to give a transactional notice, an online retailer would be required to display a transactional notice on the “check out” page. However, for retailers that use a third party payment processor, they may not have control of the content that is on the “check out” page. Therefore, those retailers can now give the transactional notice on the “product page” of their website.
- For retailers that utilize subscription type sales such as a “Jelly of the Month Club,” Colorado has clarified the notice requirements. For subscription type sales, a transactional notice is only required when the purchaser enrolls in the subscription or renews it.
- The maximum penalty limitation given to out-of-state retailers for the first year that they are required to comply, has been removed. Now, if an out-of-state retailer fails to comply with Colorado’s Notice and Reporting rules they will have to show that they “reasonably had no knowledge” of the requirement, to be subject to a maximum penalty.
- Unlike Washington, Colorado does not directly impose a duty to either collect sales tax or comply with their Notice and Reporting requirement on marketplace providers, such as Ebay. But, sellers (with gross sales of $100,000 or more), that utilize online marketplaces, are still required to comply with Colorado’s Notice and Reporting requirement regardless of their use of a marketplace provider platform. However, the permanent rule allows marketplace providers to satisfy the Notice and Reporting requirements on behalf of the sellers.
Colorado has indicated that online retailers must include certain elements in the transactional notice. Sample language would include the following:
[Name of retailer] does not collect Colorado sales or use tax. This purchase is not exempt from Colorado sales or use tax merely because it is made over the internet or by other remote means. The State of Colorado requires purchasers to (A) report all purchases that are taxable in Colorado and for which no tax was collected by the retailer and (B) pay tax on those purchases.
The permanent rule will be effective on January 1, 2018.
If your company makes sales into Colorado without collecting sales tax, contact Eide Bailly’s State and Local Tax Team for assistance with how to comply with Colorado’s Notice and Reporting requirements.
Starting January 1, 2018, similar to the State of Colorado, the State of Washington has created a new sales tax reporting requirement where retailers must issue a notice to the buyer saying “use tax” may be owed. Businesses with more than $10,000 in WA sales (compared to Colorado’s $100,000) will be required to comply. Remote sellers must either collect and remit tax or adhere to the reporting requirements.
The seller must notify the purchaser at the time of purchase and then send a follow-up notice by February 21 of the year following the year of the original transaction. A detailed notice must also be sent to the State of Washington by February 28 of the following year with an officer signed affidavit. In addition, “use tax may be owed” language needs to be included on seller advertising materials, which would include the seller’s website. The seller also needs to furnish year-end information to the purchaser and the state, to inform the purchaser that the State of Washington requires the purchaser to file a use tax return.
Penalties for non-compliance start at $20,000 and can grow to over $100,000.
But, the debate continues. Watch for additional information as states create ways to collect more sales and use tax from remote/online businesses for sales within their state. These new rules make for an added layer of compliance and complexity that businesses often overlook and/or lose track of. Contact your Eide Bailly professional or a member of our State and Local Tax Team for assistance.
The Ohio Department of Taxation issued a release stating that “substantial nexus” exists for Ohio sales and use tax purposes if the seller has gross receipts in access of $500,000 and if the seller uses in-state software to sell tangible personal property or services or enters into an agreement with another person to accelerate or enhance the delivery of the sellers website to others. The release (Sales Tax Information Release ST 2017-02) notes a difference between “in-state software nexus” and “network nexus”. In-state software refers to the use of software to sell or lease taxable tangible personal property or services in Ohio. Network nexus refers to the creation of a network to distribute property whether through taxable sales, storage, use or consuming in Ohio. If the benefit is realized in Ohio, sales tax is owed in Ohio. Anyone making taxable sales in Ohio will need to obtain a seller’s permit, collect tax, file returns and remit tax.
This is the latest update in the Sales Tax Nexus conversation. Ohio’s law appears to be more aggressive than South Dakota and similar to Massachusetts. If you’re doing business across state borders, you may need assistance ensuring compliance. Contact a member of our State and Local Tax Team to learn more.