Sales Tax Laws Move Forward in Utah and West Virginia

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As a bipartisan coalition of U.S. lawmakers seeks to pass federal sales tax fairness legislation in the current Congress, states continue to move forward with their own solutions. In Utah, a Senate committee recently approved an affiliate-nexus bill sponsored by Sen. Wayne Harper (R-6), and in West Virginia, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) has proposed legislation that would require remote retailers with warehouses in the state to collect and remit sales tax.

“Even though the Marketplace Fairness Act has tremendous momentum in the U.S. Congress, these state efforts point to the fact that there is a very real sense of urgency to leveling the playing field for Main Street retailers,” said ABA CEO Oren Teicher. “It has become increasingly clear that the status quo of sales tax inequity is no longer sustainable and something must be done now. We thank Sen. Harper and Gov. Tomblin for going to bat for Main Street, and we certainly hope our federal lawmakers look to these efforts as impetus for passing a bill at the federal level in this Congress.”

In Utah, S.B. 226 unanimously passed the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee and advanced to the full Senate, as reported by the Deseret News. The bill amends Utah state sales tax law to require remote retailers whose gross receipts from affiliate sales to customers in Utah exceed $10,000 during the preceding year to collect and remit sales tax.

Aaron Schubach, who owns Standard optical in Salt Lake City, told radio station KUER that the bill would help level the playing field for Main Street retailers, and that the state stands to gain “$180 million. It’s $180 million that needs to be reinvested in education and Medicaid efforts and expansion and some of those other things.”

In West Virginia, Gov. Tomblin introduced a bill that would require online retailers with a warehouse or other facility in the state to collect and remit sales tax, as reported by the Associated Press. recently opened a 70,000-square-foot customer service center in Huntington, West Virginia, the article reported. The governor’s bill was assigned to the House and Senate finance committees.