Connecticut legislative leaders recently announced support for a digital advertising tax (“Connecticut Digital Advertising Tax”) proposed by the Connecticut Joint Committee on Finance, Revenue and Bonding (the “Finance Committee”). Connecticut joins Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, and Texas, among others, as states with concrete digital advertising tax proposals on the table (and in Maryland’s case, an enacted law).
State legislators in the Massachusetts House of Representatives recently introduced four bills on the taxation of digital advertising services. Two of these bills propose a tax on digital advertising services, a third bill would set up a “special commission” to study how to generate revenue from digital advertising, and a fourth bill appears to be a placeholder for some action on digital advertising taxation. This makes Massachusetts one of the latest states to join the wave of state digital advertising tax proposals targeting large digital advertising service providers. We have previously covered Maryland’s digital advertising tax, the first in the nation to become law, and various other states’ pending digital and data tax proposals, including New York and Texas. Below, we summarize and compare the various Massachusetts proposals.
Massachusetts recently joined a handful of other states (read: States over the Edge and Testing Boundaries with Business Activity Tax Nexus) by issuing a final revised regulation adopting a bright-line, $500,000, nexus threshold for its corporate excise tax. See generally 830 CMR 63.39.1. Echoing the language of the Wayfair decision, the state’s revised nexus regulation provides that “the Commissioner will presume that a general business corporation’s virtual and economic contacts subject the corporation to the tax jurisdiction of Massachusetts under M.G.L. c. 63, § 39, where the volume of the corporation’s Massachusetts sales for the taxable year exceeds five hundred thousand dollars.” 830 CMR 63.39.1(3)(d).
On September 22, 2017, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (the “Department”) officially promulgated a remote vendor sales tax nexus regulation, 830 CMRH.1.7: Vendors Making Internet Sales (the “Regulation”). The Regulation sets forth the following bright-line nexus threshold:
An Internet vendor with a principal place of business located outside the state that is not otherwise subject to tax is required to register, collect and remit Massachusetts sales or use tax with respect to its Massachusetts sales […] if during the preceding 12 months […] it had in excess of […]” (1) “$500,000 in Massachusetts sales from transactions completed over the Internet […]”; and (2) “made sales resulting in a delivery into Massachusetts in 100 or more transactions.