Recap of State Tax Issues
By Jason Watson, CPA
Posted February 28, 2020
We attempted to provide several angles and concepts to the state taxation issue. There are very few hard and fast solutions. There are tax attorneys and consulting firms who do nothing but argue and litigate state nexus issues.
If there is nexus, is there allocation? If there is allocation, who gets what? If there is a sales tax obligation is there an income tax (or franchise tax or business tax) obligation? Can you have one and not the other? Are your services considered tangible personal property by some states?
Be careful. States are taking on the bigger online retailers like Wayfair, Newegg and Overstock, and now they now appear to be shifting their focus to those businesses who do not have deep pockets to fight or pay fines. If what you are doing smells wrong or keeps you up at night, it probably is worth looking into.
Our philosophy at WCG is not popular among online retailers, but we believe our position is solid. We are 100% in favor of capitalism and free markets. We are also 100% in favor of fair competition. If another tax and business consulting firm “beats us” then we learn and move along. But if a competitor beats another player in the market because the playing field is not level, then that is not winning… it’s cheating.
Selling the same stuff as Best Buy but not charging a sales tax to make yourself look more attractive is not fair competition. Sure, the responsibility is ultimately on the consumer to pay sales tax, Yes, we get it. But a consumer cannot get out of Best Buy without paying a sales tax, and to make matters even worse Best Buy has to collect sales tax even on internet orders. What bugs us the most is the resistance from Amazon and other big online retailers.
Times are changing. Sure, the small retailer might get squeezed, but that’s life. Survival of the fittest. Eat or get eaten.
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