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SALT TALK: I Don’t Like (Cyber) Mondays

Posted by Wayne K. Berkowitz CPA, J.D., LL.M. on Nov 26, 2018 11:30:00 AM
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The Boomtown Rats second number one single, “I Don’t Like Mondays” released in 1979, obviously has absolutely nothing to do with Cyber Monday, first recognized in 2005. It also has nothing to do with that nagging feeling some of you have after an extended Thanksgiving weekend.

So while my team and I are eager to go this Monday morning, why you ask, don’t we like Cyber Mondays?

The answer lies in the sales and use tax and the payment and collection obligations associated with the two. We started explaining years ago that there are no federal laws banning sales tax related to internet purchases. (In particular, see my January 1, 2013 article, “Marketplace Fairness Act May Help Clear Muddy Tax Waters.”) Many articles and blog posts since have delved into the various legislative proposals since. In addition, as avid Berdon Blog and Evisor readers know, the word is the world has turned upside-down since the Supreme Court decision in Wayfair. (See the June 22, 2018 Client Alert, “Most Impactful State and Local Tax Ruling in More Than 25 Years . . .”)

So when the bartender asks me, why the long face, the answer is: When are federal and state lawmakers going to provide our clients, both as merchant sellers and purchasers of goods and services, a consistent, clear, and easy to administer set of rules to follow?

The popular media has posited the idea that maybe this year’s Cyber Monday sales will slump because of the Wayfair decision. I guess we will have to wait until tomorrow to find out. But please remember readers, if you are not charged the sales tax, you are obligated to pay the applicable use tax. Through computer matching, information sharing requirements, and the inclusion of a use tax remittance line on most state personal income tax returns, the game is coming to an end.

So once again, lawmakers, I plead with you to let us all get back to the business of running our businesses and fix the slightly more level, but still askew, playing field once and for all.

If I have raised questions, contact me at WBerkowitz@BerdonLLP.com or your Berdon advisor.

Wayne Berkowitz, a tax partner and head of the State and Local Tax Group at Berdon LLP, advises on the unique requirements of governments and municipalities across the nation.

Topics: SALT TALK

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