CLBR #97: Matt Schaefer Explains New York’s Court Victory on the Amazon Tax

Matt Schaefer Explains New York’s Court Victory on the Amazon Tax

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The whole gymnastics over the Amazon tax stems from a Supreme Court case (Quill v North Dakota) which established a bright line test that a physical presence was required before an out of state retailer should be required to collect sales tax.  In upholding the New York law, the New York high court punted on Quill by stating:

The world has changed dramatically in the last two decades, and it may be that the physical presence test is outdated. An entity may now have a profound impact upon a foreign jurisdiction solely through its virtual projection via the Internet. That question, however, would be for the United States Supreme Court to consider.

In contrast, the lone dissenter cited Quill that “mere advertising by the out-of-state retailer in in-state media does not” constitute having a physical presence in the state.

Matthew P. Schaefer from Lewiston’s Brann & Isaacson has successfully litigated against Amazon tax legislation in Colorado and Illinois (with his Colorado victory coming moments after his appearance on our second show) will discuss the ruling and what happens next.

Matthew  is a partner whose practice focuses on state and local tax issues and general civil and commercial litigation in both federal and state courts. He has appeared before state tax tribunals and administrative agencies throughout the United States and regularly advises clients on state corporate income, sales/use, franchise and excise tax matters, including direct mail tax questions. Matt also has extensive experience representing clients on telecommunications tax matters, as well as legal issues affecting the direct marketing and direct selling industries.

Matt is a co-author of ‘Eyes on eCom Law,’ a blog that reports on legal developments of interest to direct marketers and online sellers.  He is also author or has presented on the following:

  • “ LLC v. New York State Department of Taxation and Finance,”  E–Commerce Law Reports (Volume 11, Issue 01, 2011);
  • “The Right Question on the Nexus Standard for Gross Receipts Taxes,” State Tax Notes (February 7, 2011) (with Martin I. Eisenstein);
  • “Use Tax: States Get Aggressive” (co-authored with George S. Isaacson), Catalog Age (November, 2004);
  • “Killing the Affiliate Nexus Tax Dead,” Affiliate Summit East (August 22, 2011) (panelist);
  • “Legal Risks and Ethical Obligations in Setting Shipping and Handling Charges” (co-presenter with George S. Isaacson) Direct Marketing Association Tele-seminar (January 18, 2006).

Brann & Isaacson has represented LL Bean for over 50 years and now represent over 100 catalog companies, online sellers, and online service providers as special counsel for a wide range of legal matters affecting the industry, including tax, trade regulation, intellectual property, privacy and information security, unclaimed property, consumer protection, employee relations, and supply chain agreements.  They also serve as tax counsel to the Direct Marketing Association, the largest and oldest trade association representing mail order and Internet sellers.

Contact Matt:

T: (207) 786-3566
F: (207) 783-9325

Brann & Isaacson is based in Lewiston, Maine which is approx. 40 miles north of Portland and 135 miles north of Boston.  

From Wikipedia:

Lewiston is a city in Androscoggin County in Maine, and the second-largest city in the state. The population was 36,592 at the 2010 census. It is one of two principal cities of and included within the Lewiston-Auburn, Maine metropolitan New England city and town area and the Lewiston-Auburn, Maine Metropolitan Statistical Area, which as of 2006 census estimates has a combined population of 107,702. It is also part of the extended Portland-Lewiston-South Portland, Maine combined statistical area, which has a combined population 621,219 as of 2006 estimates.

A former industrial center, it is located in south-central Maine, at the falls of the Androscoggin River, across from Auburn. Lewiston and Auburn are often considered a single entity and referred to as Lewiston–Auburn, which is colloquially abbreviated as L-A or L/A, and have a combined population of 59,647 people. Together, Lewiston-Auburn is somewhat smaller than Maine’s largest city, Portland (excluding its own suburbs). Lewiston is home to Bates College, the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, the University of Southern Maine’s Lewiston-Auburn College, and two significant regional general hospitals: Central Maine Medical Center and Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center.