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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Are States Powerless to Enforce Sales and Use Tax Obligations on Out-Of-Sale Retailers?

Geoffrey E. Weyl (J.D. 2013, Penn State), Comment, Quibbling With Quill: Are States Powerless in Enforcing Sales and Use Tax-related Obligations on Out-Of-Sale Retailers?, 117 Penn St. L. Rev. 253 (2012):

Part II of this Comment will discuss the history of sales and use taxes in the United States and will include a brief introduction to the “dormant” Commerce Clause. Part III will examine the relevant jurisprudence concerning the imposition of tax collection obligations on out-of-state companies, including the requirements of nexus under both the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. Part IV will introduce the various Amazon laws and focus particularly on the recent laws passed in Illinois, Connecticut, Colorado, Oklahoma, and South Dakota, and discuss the related legal challenges. Part V will explore the effectiveness of the Amazon laws and the possibility that Congress will step in to resolve whether out-of-state retailers must collect and remit sales taxes to the states. Part VI will provide a conclusion to the issues presented in this Comment.

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The author did a great job distinguishing the states that have implemented variations on the model Amazon law. Colorado stands out as a state that made real efforts to address these issues "the right way," with an approach that is practical for accountants, tolerable to lawyers, and understandable to laymen. It's time we all move past the hysterical rhetoric of main street fairness.

Posted by: CPA Reader | Nov 21, 2012 6:12:35 AM