States see employee telecommuting as a way of creating tax nexus amid coronavirus

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The majority of states are considering a company to have tax nexus if just a single employee is telecommuting from their state, according to a new survey, which could have wide implications for businesses as more of their employees work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The research, from Bloomberg Tax & Accounting, found that 36 states indicate that having just one employee telecommuting from their state will create nexus. That’s more than double the number of responses in 2018 from an earlier survey, before the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of South Dakota v. Wayfair.

The survey this year concentrates on the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic on compliance, nexus issues, state sourcing provisions, the taxation of pass-through entities, the transition to economic nexus and state tax policy for marketplace facilitators. The survey also looked into how states are implementing their economic nexus rules after the Wayfair ruling, particularly in terms of economic nexus threshold calculations.

“The 2020 survey sheds light on how state tax departments are responding to the unique challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and provides guidance for corporate tax professionals looking to navigate these murky waters,” said Christine Boeckel, director of state tax analysis and content at Bloomberg Tax & Accounting, in a statement Tuesday.

The survey found that 16 states said a third-party vendor is obligated to collect sales tax on delivery or errand services that are arranged by the third-party vendor, such as Postmates, Grubhub and TaskRabbit, while only five said this obligation was imposed on the delivery or errand person.

In addition, 27 states said that marketplace facilitators, such as eBay and Etsy, are required to collect sales and use tax on sales made via their platforms by marketplace sellers, provided they have nexus with the taxing jurisdiction. Twenty-three of these states said that marketplace sellers are relieved of liability for tax that is supposed to be collected by a marketplace facilitator.

Meanwhile, 13 states said they make adjustments, determine imputed tax, and assess and collect tax at the entity level for partnerships, while 25 states said they do so at the owner level. Nine states said they do so at both levels.

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Tax nexus South Dakota v. Wayfair Coronavirus Work from home Bloomberg State taxes Tax research