Judge Puts Temporary Injunction on Colorado’s Amazon Law

A Denver judge has granted a request to temporarily block a 2010 law aimed at requiring remote sellers, including online merchants, to collect sales tax. The injunction comes after an August decision, where a U.S. court of appeals reversed a previous injunction that was put into place by U.S. District Court Judge Robert Blackburn. The previous injunction was reversed on the grounds that Blackburn had overstepped his authority with the injunction (see story here). The current injunction is only temporary, and will stay in place until the case is resolved further.

Read more:

Denver Judge Temporarily Blocks Colorado’s “Amazon Tax” Law

Cyber Monday Tax Evasion

This article from Forbes, explores the amount of tax evasion that is occurring due to Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday follows Black Friday, and is typically the busiest day of the year for online shopping. States often look forward to Black Friday, because it generates a significant amount of sales tax revenue. Cyber Monday, however, is a day where states lose copious potential revenue.  Out-of-state retailers are not required to collect and remit sales tax without a physical presence or substantial nexus within the state. Even if the tax is not collected by the seller, the buyer typically still owes the use tax on the product; however they rarely report this. The result is high profits for retailers, and little to no revenue for states.

http://tinyurl.com/lqcpobt

Problems with Affiliate Nexus

The article Affiliate nexus litigation: Everyone loses by Annet Nellen points out some of the glaring problems with affiliate nexus laws. Some of these include:

  • Litigation Costs– Amazon and Overstock have proven time and time again that they are willing to litigate these laws.
  • Loss of income tax revenue– Amazon and Overstock have decided to sever their ties with affiliates in state with these types of laws, reducing the amount of income that the states can tax.
  • Problem still remains–After a relationship with a 3rd party affiliate is severed, a company is no longer liable to collect sales tax.
  • No solution reached–There are two conflicting cases on affiliate nexus (New York, and Indiana), and the Supreme Court has been unwilling hear the case. The only real hope for a solution seems to lie with Congress.

Supreme Court Declines to Hear Online Sales Tax Case

The Supreme Court of the United States has declined to hear a case involving online sales tax in New York, thus letting the New York statute stand.

The Statute requires that companies like Overstock and Amazon have to collect and remit sales tax in the state even if they do not have facilities or a direct physical presence in the state. The statute operates on the basis that companies have a physical presence simply by having contracts with  3rd party affiliates within that state.

Amazon and Overstock won a similar case in Indiana back in October, meaning that there are currently two conflicting rulings on the matter.

http://tinyurl.com/nfwxc4u

Colorado’s Amazon Win

In 2010 Colorado passed a law requiring internet retailers, whose gross sales exceeded $100,000, to mail annual use tax owed notices to customers that bought over $500 worth of merchandise.

Last year a lower court threw the statute out, claiming that it placed an “undue burden on interstate commerce.”

Yesterday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit remanded the case back to the lower court, claiming that it had overstepped its authority, and that it had to lift the permanent injunction on the tax. The reason cited was the U.S. Tax Injunction Act, which prevents federal courts from taking on state tax disputes when a state court could handle the matter. It also prohibits Federal lawsuits that could restrain the collection of state taxes.

The suit was brought by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA); a trade association based out of New York.

If the lower court reverses the injunction, then the Amazon act will be back in effect; however the DMA could still try to get an injunction in state court.

Read more:

http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/blog/boosters_bits/2013/08/colorados-amazon-tax-isnt-back.html

http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_23904271/colorados-internet-tax-law-scores-win-federal-appeals