Accountants further expect--and some are even advising their business clients to consider--moving operations out of states that have aggressive tax policies, such as Texas. "I've definitely heard that some clients are considering pulling out of some states," adds Virginia CPA Barrett. It's a viable option, she continues, "but it has to be part of the growth strategy and should be a well thought out decision."
There's a wild card, however: More than half of the units sold on Amazon worldwide last year came from third-party sellers, including many small- and medium-sized merchants. David Fildes, head of Amazon’s investor relations, said in its most recent earnings call in April that Amazon collects taxes on behalf of third-party sellers in Washington and Pennsylvania (per those states' rules). “We're not opposed to collecting sales tax” within a system that’s both “simple and applied evenhandedly,” he said.
It is increasingly advantageous for companies to use social media platforms to connect with their customers and create these dialogues and discussions. The potential reach of social media is indicated by the fact that in 2015, each month the Facebook app had more than 126 million average unique users and YouTube had over 97 million average unique users.
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A 1992 Supreme Court decision (the Quill v. N. Dakota case) attempted to address the issue of internet transactions. According to the Tax Foundation, the Quill decision said that a business "must have a physical presence in a state in order to require the collection of sales or use tax for purchases made by in-state customers." This physical presence is called a tax nexus. The tax nexus concept originally meant a physical building, office, warehouse, retail store, or employees selling in the state.
For additional guidance, check Rule 3.286 under Title 34 of the Texas Administrative Code, which provides definitions of when a seller is engaged in business in Texas. The Rule includes a statement that a person does not have nexus with the state simply because he or she has a certificate of authority to do business in the state. The Rule also states that an out-of-state seller with nexus with the state must collect sales tax.
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