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Transaction Taxes

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On Tuesday, the New York Supreme Court granted Baker McKenzie’s motion to dismiss the New York Attorney General’s (“AG”) complaint against B&H Foto and Electronics Corp. regarding a purported False Claims Act (“FCA”) violation. The AG incorrectly alleged that B&H made a false claim on its tax return when they did not collect sales tax on “instant savings,” a type of vendor funding where a manufacturer reduces B&H’s purchase price of a particular item based…

On April 30, 2021, the Court of Appeals of Maryland held in Travelocity.com LP v. Comptroller of Md., No. 14, 2021 Md. LEXIS 200 (Apr. 30, 2021), that the taxpayer, an online travel company, was not required to collect and remit state sales and use tax prior to the enactment of Maryland’s accommodations intermediary law in 2015. This ruling by the state’s highest court, which overruled the lower courts’ decisions, helps clarify the “pre-accommodations intermediary law” tax obligations of online travel companies, and may also be helpful in understanding the impact of marketplace facilitator law enactments more generally.

The City of Chicago recently issued nexus guidance and a limited safe harbor for City tax purposes in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s pivotal South Dakota v. Wayfair ruling and the State of Illinois’ statutory economic nexus standards. True to form, the City implemented its new nexus standards by executive action via publication of a “nexus and safe harbor” “information bulletin” on its website (available on the City’s website, here), as opposed to the Chicago City Council more formally (and more appropriately) adopting a new ordinance.

New York lawmakers recently introduced two bills to expand the application of the New York State False Claims Act (“FCA”). The first intends to require the FCA to apply to non-filers, the second to remove the scienter element (i.e., no longer imposing a “knowing” requirement). Although both bills are retroactive and concerning, removing the scienter element should put all businesses on high alert as enforcement of the tax laws could now be in the hands…