State legislators have already proposed a number of digital and data tax bills in 2021, some of which are new proposals while others reintroduce proposals from previous legislative sessions. The proposed bills fall into one of three categories: taxes on digital advertising services, taxes (or fees) targeting social media providers, and taxes on the sale or monetization of personal data. Most of the proposals are in the early stages, but a Maryland bill originally introduced last year is moving closer to a legislative vote on whether to override the governor’s veto.
Washington legislators may introduce a digital advertising tax bill in the state’s upcoming legislative session. See H-0028.1 (advance copy; not yet introduced). Washington’s potential legislation is the latest in a recent trend of digital advertising tax proposals (including in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Nebraska, New York, and West Virginia, none of which have become law as of the date of this blog post).
On July 21, the Washington Department of Revenue (“DOR”) issued its analysis of the Court of Appeals’ decision from March 30, 2020, in LendingTree, LLC v. Dep’t of Revenue, no. 80637-8-I (Wash. App. Ct. Mar. 30, 2020). As set forth in the analysis, from the DOR’s perspective, the LendingTree court followed the existing Washington Business and Occupation tax (“B&O”) attribution rules and guidance and did not create a new interpretive legal framework. Although the DOR lost the case, and the court held that LendingTree’s receipts could not be sourced based where its customers’ customers were located, the DOR’s response suggests that they are factually distinguishing the case and will continue to attribute receipts to the customer’s customer location if that is where it determines the benefit of the services occurs.
On Monday, July 27, the Senate Finance Committee released draft legislative provisions (“COVID-19 Bill”) regarding the next iteration of Coronavirus relief. Somewhat surprisingly, the provisions include the Remote and Mobile Worker Relief Act of 2020, which was introduced earlier this year as S. 3995 by Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Jon Thune (R-SD). S. 3995 appears to be based on S. 604, the Mobile Workforce State Income Tax Simplification Act (“Mobile Workforce Act”), which was…