West Virginia Considers Amazon Tax
- Apr 15, 2013 | Gail Cole
UPDATE 5.9.13: HB 2754 has been approved by the governor and signed into law. It takes effect on July 12, 2013 but will not impact retailers until January 1, 2014.
West Virginia may be the next state to institute an online sales tax, often called an Amazon Tax in honor of the world's largest online retailer.
HB 2754 (SB 377) passed the House on April 1 with a strong majority, and it passed the Senate on April 13 in a 34 to 0 vote. The bill, put forth at the request of Governor Earl Ray Tomblin (D), would amend §11-15A-1 of the Code of West Virginia, thereby "further defining a retailer engaging in business in this state for purposes of sales and use taxes…."
In HB 2754:
"Retailer engaging in business in this state … means and includes but is not limited to:
"Any retailer having or maintaining, occupying or using, within this state, directly or by a subsidiary, an office, distribution house, sales house, warehouse, or other place of business, or any agent (by whatever name called) operating within this state under the authority of the retailer or its subsidiary, irrespective of whether the place of business or agent is located here permanently or temporarily, or whether the retailer or subsidiary is admitted to do business within this state pursuant to article fifteen, chapter thirty-one-d of this code or article fourteen, chapter thirty-one-e of this code…"
This includes any retailer:
- "That, by any agent, or representative (by whatever name called), or employee, performs services in this state in connection with tangible personal property or services sold by the retailer, or any related entity, related member or part of the unitary business; or
- That directly, or through or by an agent, representative or employee located in, or present in, this state, solicits business in this state for or on behalf of the retailer, or any related entity, related member or part of the unitary business."
The proposed legislation casts a broad net. In essence, "The bill requires out-of-state retailers to start applying West Virginia's sales tax if they or a subsidiary have a physical presence in the state." If it passes, it would take effect June 1, 2013.
Amazon has a customer service center in Huntington, WV, but the online retailer currently does not collect sales tax in West Virginia.
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