Multistate Tax Commission Addressing Marketplace Facilitator Laws

The Supreme Court’s June 2018 Wayfair decision qualifies as historic, so it’s no surprise the ruling’s countless impacts and implications continue to play out in state legislatures and within state departments of revenue (DOR) 13 months after it was published. At last count, all but four states have so far taken actions in response to Wayfair.

While much of this activity has focused on adjusting existing sales tax laws and/or implementing new rules concerning Wayfair’s shift to economic nexus, states are also putting forth new statutes regarding the collection and remittance of sales tax by marketplace facilitators. These statutes do vary, which is a problem that has motivated the Multistate Tax Commission’s (MTC) Uniformity Committee to reconvene a workgroup to examine this lack of uniformity (and many related issues) and then engage with state DORs, taxpayers and professional service providers. I’ll be participating in the meetings of the Uniformity Committee’s Wayfair Implementation and Marketplace Facilitator workgroup – the first is slated for Aug. 6 – and will provide updates here. (Vertex is advocating for uniformity, as well as clear rules and definitions so both facilitators and sellers may efficiently comply with these new marketplace rules).

Vertex Inc.

The MTC is an intergovernmental state tax agency whose mission is “to achieve fairness by promoting compliance and consistent tax policy and practice, and to preserve the sovereignty of state and local governments over their tax systems.” The MTC’s Uniformity Committee was formed to help the commission achieve its fairness and consistency objectives by:

  1. Identifying areas in need of greater simplicity, fairness, and consistency;
  2. Encouraging greater voluntary compliance through taxpayer education and enhanced tax enforcement; and
  3. Fostering communication among state tax administrators, taxpayers, and tax practitioners.

The Wayfair Implementation and Marketplace Facilitator workgroup convened last year to examine what state DORs might consider when implementing new marketplace facilitator statutes. That work concluded with the publication last November of a comprehensive whitepaper detailing:

  • How new state laws might treat marketplace facilitators, including the imposition of a tax collection and remittance obligation on those sellers;
  • What issues might arise from having marketplace facilitators collect and remit tax; and
  • What best practices might address those issues.

However, as more states move forward with new marketplace facilitator laws, it has become clear that numerous issues now require additional attention. As such, the MTC Uniformity Committee is hoping to conclude its work in the late fall of 2019 with a whitepaper providing guidance to all interested stakeholders (legislators, DORs, and taxpayers) by the beginning of the 2020 legislative calendar.

Please remember that the Tax Matters provides information for educational purposes, not specific tax or legal advice. Always consult a qualified tax or legal advisor before taking any action based on this information.


About this Contributor

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Michael Bernard
Chief Tax Officer-Transaction Tax

Mike Bernard is Chief Tax Officer-Transaction Tax, providing insight around tax department operations, indirect tax, tax risk management, emerging tax trends and tax policy. An experienced executive level tax attorney, Mike holds a J.D. and Bachelor of Science from Creighton University. He also served on the board of directors, executive committee and chaired committees for The Tax Executives Institute.

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