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January Roundup: Sales tax laws you need to know

  • Jan 31, 2020 | Gail Cole

monthly-sales-tax-roundup

While you focus on your business, we stay on top of legislative and policy changes that can affect your sales tax compliance.

If the first weeks of the year are any indication of what lays ahead, 2020 will be another exciting year for sales tax.

Electronic filing and remittance requirements expand in Arizona and Hawaii.

More businesses must file and remit Arizona transaction privilege tax returns electronically as of January 1, 2020. And more businesses must file and pay Hawaii General Excise Tax electronically. Learn more.

Five states start 2020 with new collection requirements for marketplace facilitators.

Marketplace facilitators must collect and remit sales tax on behalf of sellers in Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin as of January 1, 2020. Starting February 1, 2020, the same goes for marketplaces in North Carolina. Learn more.

Georgia is making marketplaces collect and remit the tax due on third-party sales.

A bill sitting on Governor Brian Kemp’s desk would add Georgia to the growing list of states holding marketplace facilitators responsible for sales tax on indirect as well as direct sales. Learn more.

It’s hard to get sales tax right on shipping and handling charges.

A business in Virginia learned the hard way that charges for “easy return labels” should be taxed. Learn more.

Kansas moves to make marketplace facilitators responsible for sales tax on marketplace sales.

If marketplaces collect and remit sales tax for all Kansas sales made through their platforms, the Sunflower State could increase sales tax collections by $22.4 million in the next fiscal year. Learn more.

Local governments in Alaska prepare to impose sales tax collection obligations on remote sellers.

Although Alaska doesn’t have a statewide sales tax, local sales tax exists in more than 100 boroughs or municipalities. Remote sellers may soon be required to collect and remit some of those taxes. Learn more.

Louisiana Supreme Court rules Walmart not liable for parish sales tax on third-party sales.

A long legal battle between the Jefferson Parish and Walmart ended with the Louisiana Supreme Court finding in favor of Walmart. Jefferson Parish had argued Walmart was responsible for the tax on its marketplace sales. The court found Walmart to be acting like an auctioneer that facilitates sales between the actual sellers and consumers. Learn more.

Marketplace facilitator legislation to make headlines in 2020.

More states are adopting and amending marketplace facilitator laws. Learn more.

Massachusetts wants sales tax revenue remitted sooner rather than later.

Retailers in the Bay State currently have until the 20th day of the following month to file and remit sales tax. If Governor Charlie Baker gets his way, they’ll eventually have to remit sales tax every day. Learn more.

Municipalities in New Jersey can now impose more local parking taxes.

Many parking fees are already subject to state sales tax in the Garden State. Now certain municipalities can add their own taxes to the mix. Learn more.

Nebraska could significantly broaden sales tax but lower its rate.

Nationwide, consumers now spend more money on services than tangible products. To ensure Nebraska’s sales tax collections remain stable, lawmakers are looking to make more services taxable in 2021. Learn more.  

Staunchly anti-sales tax New Hampshire considers a limited sales tax.

It’s hard to imagine lawmakers in New Hampshire backing any sort of sales tax, and harder still to imagine Governor Chris Sununu approving it. Nonetheless, a couple of lawmakers think the Live Free or Die State should tax retail sales of certain electronic devices. Learn more.

Turning taxable tangible property into exempt intangible property may be as easy as flipping a switch.

OK, not really. But the Virginia Tax Commissioner determined very tangible machinery and tools may be treated as intangible — and therefore be exempt from sales tax — if they haven’t been used for a certain amount of time. Learn more.

Utah backpedals on tax reform.

The significant income tax and sales tax changes signed into law last month were repealed this month. Utah will not increase the sales tax rate on groceries or broaden sales tax to services. Learn more.

Varying registration requirements keep remote sellers on their toes.

Most states now require remote sellers to register to collect sales tax if they cross a certain sales threshold in the state. But just how quickly sellers need to do so after crossing that threshold can vary widely. Learn more.

Windfall from South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., continues.

State sales tax collections continue to mount thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 Wayfair decision. Learn more.

Automating sales tax compliance can help your business keep compliant with changing sales tax laws. Learn more.


Sales tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Avalara Author
Gail Cole
Avalara Author Gail Cole
Gail Cole has been researching, writing, and reporting tax news for Avalara since 2012. She’s on a mission to uncover unusual tax facts and make complex laws and legislation more digestible for accounting and business professionals — or anyone interested in learning about tax compliance.