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A New Way Forward for Remote Vendor Sales Tax Collection

This article takes another look at remote vendor sales tax collection, which is again a subject of heightened interest to the states, the business community, and Congress. Its underlying thesis is straightforward – the constitutional prohibition imposed by National Bellas Hess and reaffirmed by Quill is the relic of a bygone era.


It asserts that the states cannot count on, and should not wait for, federal legislation superseding Quill and tied to the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement. Instead, the states should pursue a new, multipronged strategy under which they:

  • recognize the enormous impact of new technologies on both the national marketplace and the burden of sales tax compliance for multi-state vendors;

  • adopt aggressive nexus legislation and undertake aggressive compliance efforts to bring as many remote vendors into the fold as possible without federal legislation;

  • propose straightforward federal legislation that addresses only the remote vendor issue and ties a remote vendor’s obligation to collect tax to simplification within a state rather than uniformity across states; and

  • consider action that would lead to litigation challenging the continuing validity of Quill.

This article was originally published by Tax Analysts in State Tax Notes, January 18, 2010.

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A New Way Forward for Remote Vendor Sales Tax Collection (pdf)