Top 5 Sales Tax Nexus Issues for Technology Companies

Gross sales Tax Guidelines for Know-how Firms

  1. Do you make web gross sales? (On all web gross sales, gross sales tax is due…assuming the product/service is taxable. The difficulty is whether or not the vendor has an obligation to gather and remit or whether or not the customer is required to self report.)
  2. Do you might have affiliate relationships (for producing gross sales) with out-of-state firms?
  3. Do you might have gross sales representatives journey exterior of your house state?
  4. Do you interact in commerce reveals exterior of your house state?
  5. Do you might have workers or brokers that carry out providers in your behalf exterior of your house state?


For those who answered “sure” to a number of of those questions, you may be making a gross sales tax legal responsibility exterior your house state. Additionally, keep in mind revenue tax nexus shouldn’t be equal to gross sales tax nexus. The foundations apply otherwise.


Nexus is a “connection” or “hyperlink”. Gross sales and use Become a service bureau nexus refers back to the connection between an individual or entity and a taxing jurisdiction ample for that jurisdiction to require the individual or entity to adjust to its gross sales and use tax legal guidelines.

The present foundation for figuring out when gross sales and use tax nexus exists is present in two Supreme Courtroom instances; Quill Corp. vs. North Dakota [May 26, 1992], and Nationwide Bellas Hess, Inc. vs.Division of Income of the State of Illinois [May 8, 1967]. In each Quill Corp. and Nationwide Bellas Hess, Inc., the Supreme Courtroom dominated in favor of the taxpayer, limiting the states’ capability to impose its taxing authority over interstate commerce. The steering derived from these two instances may be employed in at the moment’s markets to handle gross sales and use tax compliance obligations.

Whereas most States proceed to reference these instances when defining gross sales tax nexus thresholds, the States proceed to pursue growth of their gross sales and use tax authority. With nexus being the foundational ingredient that requires an organization to gather and remit gross sales tax, it is necessary to notice a number of the difficulties in figuring out whether or not an organization has gross sales tax nexus or not.

As with most gross sales and use tax associated issues, figuring out whether or not or not gross sales tax nexus exists requires some stage of interpretation of a state’s statute because it applies to the actions of the entity. With that backdrop, listed below are the commonest points that know-how firms battle with from a gross sales tax nexus perspective. Additionally, it needs to be famous that sellers don’t truly “cost” gross sales tax. Fairly, vendor’s “acquire and remit” gross sales tax. This may be necessary. For instance, as within the case of web gross sales, gross sales tax is at all times “due”. This subject turns into whether or not the vendor has the duty to gather and remit the tax or if the customer is obligated to self report.

#1. Affiliate Nexus, “Amazon Legal guidelines”, and Click on-By Nexus

The web has resulted in a shift in our purchasing patterns and a decline in gross sales tax revenues. With our present tax system and the nexus guidelines as outlined above, an out-of-state retailer (translation – a retailer with out nexus within the state) promoting items to a client or enterprise over the web shouldn’t be required to gather gross sales tax. It’s the purchaser’s duty to self-assess the tax and voluntarily remit use tax to the state. Most companies are conscious of this nuance however many customers usually are not.

States guarantee compliance with these legal guidelines by way of enterprise audits; nevertheless, the states haven’t got the bandwidth, neither is it sensible, to audit each client. So as a substitute of going after the patron, states want to implement taxing guidelines that require the out-of state enterprise to gather the tax.

Because of this “affiliate nexus”, and the “Amazon Legislation” or “click on by way of nexus” have advanced. These are methods during which states have tried to make use of the prevailing nexus requirements to require out-of state retailers to gather the tax that in any other case wouldn’t have been collected. The standard situation happens when an out-of-state enterprise kinds a relationship with an in-state enterprise (also known as an affiliate) for the only function of buyer referrals through a connection to the out-of-state enterprise’s web site. For this referral, the in-state enterprise receives some sort of fee or different consideration. The connection established by way of the affiliate packages creates nexus for the out-of-state enterprise, creating an obligation to gather and remit native gross sales tax. A number of states together with Illinois and California have launched latest affiliated nexus laws primarily concentrating on massive web retailers akin to Amazon, therefore the title “Amazon Legislation”. In response to this laws, Amazon has dropped their affiliate packages in most of those states. By dropping the affiliate packages, the corporate intends to terminate its nexus with the state and keep away from potential gross sales tax assortment duty. Nonetheless, this may be problematic as most states deem nexus to exist for a interval of at the very least twelve months subsequent to the exercise that created nexus.

The State of New York has handed laws, known as the “commission-agreement provision,” that creates a rebuttable presumption that an individual (vendor) making gross sales of tangible private property or providers is soliciting enterprise by way of an unbiased contractor or different consultant if the vendor enters into an settlement with a New York resident underneath which the resident, for a fee or different consideration, immediately or not directly refers potential clients, whether or not by a hyperlink on an web web site or in any other case, to the vendor (click on by way of nexus). The presumption applies if the cumulative gross receipts from gross sales by the vendor to clients within the state who’re referred to the vendor by all residents with the sort of settlement with the vendor is in extra of $10,000 in the course of the previous 4 quarterly durations ending on the final day of February, Might, August and November. The presumption could also be rebutted by proof that the resident with whom the vendor has an settlement didn’t interact in any solicitation in New York on behalf of the vendor that satisfies the nexus requirement of the U.S. Structure in the course of the 4 previous quarterly durations. N.Y. Tax Legislation 1101(b)(8)(vi).

Know-how firms ought to evaluation their affiliate packages and perceive which states, particularly, have “Amazon Legal guidelines”, “affiliate nexus” guidelines, or “Click on-By Nexus” guidelines. It is a continually altering space that requires shut monitoring. On the time of publication, California handed a 1-year repeal of their “Amazon Legislation”.

#2. Touring Gross sales Representatives

The thought of a gross sales consultant sitting in a house workplace in a state apart from the place company headquarters is positioned is a transparent instance of an exercise which establishes gross sales tax nexus within the state the place the gross sales consultant is predicated. Nonetheless, what occurs when that gross sales consultant travels into different states to satisfy with prospects or clients? The sort of exercise continuously happens with know-how companies because the gross sales consultant meets with the prospect to exhibit their product. Whether or not or not the sort of exercise creates gross sales tax nexus will depend upon the state and the frequency of the exercise. Every state’s guidelines are barely completely different when it comes to the edge that must be met to create nexus. Nonetheless, for some states, a gross sales consultant touring into the state for a single day will create gross sales tax nexus. Whereas different states have extra lenient thresholds, a common rule-of-thumb is that three days of exercise of this sort will create nexus for gross sales and use tax functions.

Texas prescribes that out-of-state sellers engaged in promoting, leasing, or renting taxable gadgets for storage, use, or different consumption in Texas should acquire use tax from the purchaser. “Retailer engaged in enterprise on this state” can embrace, along with different actions, any retailer: Having any consultant, agent, salesman, canvasser or solicitor working in Texas underneath the authority of the retailer or its subsidiary to promote, ship or take orders for any taxable gadgets. Texas Tax Code Ann. 151.107(a)(2); Texas Tax Publication 94-108, Engaged in Enterprise (Gross sales and Use Tax), 11/01/2006.

Nexus Technique: As an alternative of nose to nose buyer displays, know-how companies might think about conducting product demonstrations through the Web by way of Webex, GoToMeeting, or one other comparable software.

#3. Commerce reveals

Know-how firms are frequent individuals in commerce reveals. Usually, firms attend commerce reveals to advertise their services. An organization might promote its services through consultant workers or brokers and/or show its wares through a kiosk or sales space. In both of those situations, the corporate is performing a kind of solicitation.

It’s the solicitation exercise that determines whether or not or not nexus has been created. Nonetheless, numerous states have established particular thresholds (variety of days in attendance at a commerce present) so as to set up when an organization attending a commerce present has created nexus within the state. For instance, California has set a typical of greater than fifteen (15) days – i.e. should you attend commerce reveals in California for fifteen days or much less, you haven’t created nexus within the state of California (assuming that is your solely exercise throughout the state). Cal. Rev. & Tax. Cd. 6203(d); Cal. Code Regs. 18 1684(b).

Nexus with Michigan shouldn’t be created if the one contacts an individual has with Michigan consists of: (1) attending a commerce present at which no orders for items are taken and no gross sales are made or (2) taking part in a commerce present at which no orders for items are taken and no gross sales are made for lower than 10 days cumulatively on an annual foundation. Nonetheless, this rule doesn’t apply if an individual additionally conducts the next actions: soliciting gross sales; making repairs or offering upkeep or service to property bought or to be bought; accumulating present or delinquent accounts, by way of project or in any other case, associated to gross sales of tangible private property or providers; delivering property bought to clients; putting in or supervising set up at or after cargo or supply; conducting coaching for workers, brokers, representatives, unbiased contractors, brokers or others appearing on the out-of-state vendor’s behalf, or for patrons or potential clients; offering clients any sort of technical help or service together with, however not restricted to, engineering help, design service, high quality management, product inspections, or comparable providers; investigating, dealing with, or in any other case aiding in resolving buyer complaints; offering consulting providers; or soliciting, negotiating, or getting into into franchising, licensing, or comparable agreements. Michigan Income Administrative Bulletin 1999-1, 05/12/1999.

Know-how companies ought to fastidiously plan the place they may attend commerce reveals and perceive the gross sales tax nexus thresholds related to every state for the sort of exercise.

#4. Staff or Brokers Performing Providers

Know-how companies that ship workers right into a state to offer implementation, set up or restore providers are creating nexus for gross sales and use tax functions. The truth that it is a non-selling or non-solicitation exercise doesn’t imply this exercise doesn’t create gross sales tax nexus. Quite the opposite, these actions usually tend to create nexus for gross sales and use tax functions.

The Washington State Supreme Courtroom, in a latest ruling, asserted {that a} producer whose workers traveled into the State with the only function of assembly with clients merely to handle the connection was ample to create nexus. This exercise was seen as a mechanism that created a market within the State and consequently created nexus for the producer. R W R MANAGEMENT, INC., Appellant, vs. STATE OF WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE, Respondent, 10-332, 06/27/2011.

Utilizing non-employees to help shoppers can have the same impact. For instance, a know-how {hardware} enterprise that makes use of a neighborhood useful resource to restore or carry out different upkeep for its buyer is offering the service through an affiliate and is deemed to have created nexus for gross sales and use tax functions. Whether or not the individual offering the service to the shopper is an worker of the enterprise or not is immaterial to the states. The truth that the individual is current of their state and performing a service on behalf of the out-of-state enterprise is ample to create nexus for the out-of-state enterprise.

Know-how companies ought to consider non-selling associated actions they carry out in every state together with set up and upkeep/help providers in addition to providers supplied through a third-party consultant when assessing their gross sales and use tax nexus foot print.

#5. Revenue tax nexus doesn’t equal gross sales tax nexus

There’s usually an assumption that the place an organization has revenue tax nexus, in addition they have gross sales tax nexus. Finish of story. That is true, however solely partially true. The second half is that an organization can have gross sales tax nexus with out having revenue tax nexus. The edge for gross sales tax is far decrease than that of revenue tax. For instance, the solicitation of gross sales is mostly thought-about a gross sales tax nexus creating exercise whereas this identical exercise is not going to, by itself, create revenue tax nexus (See P. L. 86-272). Probably the most well-intentioned CPA corporations are vulnerable to assuming that as a result of nexus has not been created for revenue tax functions, gross sales and use tax nexus would not exist. That is actually not supposed however is the results of restricted data of gross sales and use tax legal guidelines.

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