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Tag Archive for Jeremiah T. Lynch

Illinois Click-Through Legislation Preempted by Federal Law

TaxConnections Blog Post The Supreme Court of Illinois recently affirmed a lower court’s ruling that the state’s click-through nexus legislation was preempted by a federal law governing taxes placed on electronic commerce.

In 2011, the Illinois General Assembly enacted Public Act 96-1544,1 which added new click-through nexus legislation and sought to tax a common contractual arrangement known as “performance marketing.” In performance marketing, an online retailer contracts with an individual to place hyperlinks for a retailer’s website in consumer-targeted or high-volume areas, as a means for creating online presence and directing potential customers to the retailer’s website. Illinois’s legislation sought to establish nexus with retailers making more than $10,000 per year through performance marketing relationships.

The Performance Marketing Association, Inc. (“PMA”) filed a complaint against the representative for the Illinois Department of Revenue, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief from the click-through nexus element in Public Act 96-1544. The circuit court of Cook County sided with PMA, finding that the click-through nexus legislation was preempted by the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA), 2 which prohibits “multiple discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce.” Accordingly, the circuit court granted PMA’s motion for summary judgment. Read more

Massachusetts Repeals Tax on the Modification of Pre-Written Software and Computer System Design Services

TaxConnections Picture - Computer SoftwareOn September 27, 2013, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law Massachusetts House Bill 3662 (“H.B. 3662”), which repeals the Commonwealth’s sales and use tax on computer system design services and the modification, integration, enhancement, installation, or configuration of pre-written software recently implemented by House Bill 3535 (“H.B. 3535”). H.B. 3535 became effective July 31, 2013, a mere 58 days ago. The repeal applies retroactively to July 31, 2013, with companies required to return to customers any sales tax collected for these services.

The Massachusetts Senate voted unanimously for the repeal, and the House of Representatives had only a lone dissenter. The Legislature originally passed the law by overriding the Governor’s veto of H.B. 3535 by a vote of 123-33 in the House and 35-5 in the Senate. The tax on computer system design services and the modification, integration, enhancement, installation, or configuration of pre-written software was expected to raise $160 million for the Commonwealth’s transportation systems and projects.

Jeremiah T. Lynch, Principal – Ryan

In accordance with Circular 230 Disclosure

New Jersey Issues Guidance on Taxability of Information Services

New Jersey decision on Information Services - Blog PostThe New Jersey Department of Taxation issued Publication ANJ–29, which offers new guidance regarding what constitutes a taxable information service. New Jersey sales tax applies to the collection, compilation, or analysis of information, where the purpose of the transaction is the information itself, not a related professional service. Known as “information services,” these transactions commonly include sales of mailing lists, market research reports, and credit reporting services. Sales of information services can also include fees charged for access to information, such as stock quotes or legal research, delivered in any medium, electronic or tangible.

Information services do not include the furnishing of data for the purposes of a larger professional service. For example, a lawyer who gathers personal information about a client during the course of representation is doing so for purposes of legal representation. In this instance, the object of the transaction is not information collection itself. As such, the transaction would not qualify as a taxable information service. Along the same lines, transactions for the sale of data that are personalized, and not incorporated into reports furnished to others, are similarly not taxable information services. Custom market research reports, for example, are created for one client and not for outside distribution, and are therefore not taxable. Read more

Massachusetts Business Leaders Initiate Repeal of Sales Tax on Computer and Software Services

Repeal of Sales Tax on Computer and Software Services Blog PostJust weeks after passing the Commonwealth’s Transportation Finance Bill (“H.B. 3535”) through a legislative override, twenty top business leaders in Massachusetts filed an initiative petition to the state’s attorney general to repeal the law that made various computer services subject to sales and use tax. H.B. 3535 was passed into law on July 24, 2013 and took effect a week later on July 31, 2013. If the Attorney General deems the petition constitutional, the petitioners must collect 68,911 certified voter signatures by December 4, 2013. The Legislature will then view the petition and determine whether to repeal, modify, or take no action. If the Legislature takes no action, the petitioners will need to collect an additional 11,485 signatures. At that point, Massachusetts voters would decide whether to repeal the tax when they head to the polls in November of 2014. Besides business leaders moving to repeal the bill, Massachusetts State Senator Karen Spilka (D-Ashland) filed petition, S.D. 1872, to repeal the new sales tax. Senator Spilka previously voted in favor of H.B. 3535.

H.B. 3535 has created quite a buzz around Massachusetts, as businesses scramble to understand and properly apply sales and use tax to computer system design services and the modification, integration, enhancement, installation, or configuration of standardized software. As of August 9, 2013, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue publication Frequently Asked Questions: The New Computer and Software Services Tax Effective 7/31/13 had ballooned to fifty five questions, as the department continues to add new questions submitted by taxpayers. The Read more

Connecticut’s Tax Amnesty Program Starts September 16, 2013

TaxConnections Picture - Books_Hour_GlassConnecticut Department of Revenue Services (“Department”) will conduct a tax amnesty program (“Program”) during the period of September 16, 2013 until November 15, 2013 for any taxable period ending on or before November 30, 2012 (House Bill 6704, enacted June 18, 2013 and effective July 1, 2013). The Program applies to all taxes administered by the Department, with the exception of the motor carrier road tax. The Program is available to delinquent, deficient, and non-filer taxpayers. If an amnesty application is filed along with the payment of tax and interest during the amnesty period, the Department will not seek criminal prosecution or collect any civil penalties.

Under the Program, the Department will calculate interest at 1% per month on tax that is past due. However, taxpayers that make payment of all outstanding taxes and interest during the amnesty period will have the interest reduced to one-quarter of what is due. Taxpayers that have not filed a return for the period for which amnesty is sought are subject to a 25% penalty in addition to tax and interest.

Amnesty applications that are granted will serve as an express and absolute waiver of any judicial or administrative rights of appeal for the taxpayer. Further, no payment made by a taxpayer under the Program is eligible to be refunded or credited to the taxpayer.

Amnesty is not available for: Read more