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Digital Download Tax in Wisconsin

Wisconsin recently added a digital download tax. In an attempt to level the playing field between brick and mortar stores and Internet retailers. Wisconsin now requires sales tax to be collected on downloads of music, books and ring tones. If you are a merchant and currently include these products check with your accountant to make sure you are in compliance.

All merchants, regardless of products sold,  are urged to contact a sales and use tax attorney to ensure they are in compliance with all of the current sales and use tax laws. As we have seen over the past several months, it is becoming more common for states to question the activities of out of state merchants. While the emphasis is sometimes on pending legislation, all states with a sales and use tax have current laws merchants must comply with.  The current nexus definition in Wisconsin may impact many merchants as it includes solicitors and other representatives.

In addition to the digital download sales tax, Wisconsin passed other legislation that took effect October 1, resulting in many changes to sales and use tax laws.  As a result of some of these changes, Wisconsin is  the newest member of the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Project.

Like many states, Wisconsin is facing severe financial challenges. Wisconsin has a budget deficit of nearly $6 billion.  With a deficit that large, it seems logical to assume they will be seeking revenue from many sources – including sales and use tax. Legislators have estimated that the digital download tax will bring in $6-11 million in additional revenue.

Wisconsin Department of Revenue

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Is the Next Nexus Target Arizona

As far as Internet sales tax and the modernization of nexus laws is concerned it appears that Arizona may take on a bigger role in the upcoming months. The American Booksellers Association (ABA) is again calling on the Arizona Department of Revenue to enforce current nexus laws and require Amazon to collect sales tax on sales to Arizona residents. According to a recent article, the ABA has previously asked why Amazon does not have to collect sales tax in Arizona when it has two distribution centers in Arizona. That they do not currently collect and remit sales tax does seem like a bit of a contradiction as one would think nexus was established but that is for the revenue department to decide.

A recent article in the New York Times on Amazon and their Arizona distribution centers renewed the ABA’s interest in the Amazon/Arizona nexus issue. Of course if it is ultimately decided that Amazon does have Arizona nexus based on the two distribution facilities there will be no impact on affiliates; removal of Arizona affiliates will not remove the nexus. But, if there is no action by the Revenue Department I think that it is only logical to assume that the next logical step is for the ABA and other organizations to push for new nexus laws that will target merchants with substantial affiliate presence. Once legislation is submitted and pending it is safe to assume that affiliates in Arizona will be proactively removed by several merchants.

Of course these are just my thoughts. To be clear, the only current action in Arizona is a campaign to push the Arizona Revenue Department to enforce a current law. This campaign action is going on in many states in others it is not needed.

Over the past few months, several states have been reported to being more aggressive in questioning the activities of out of state merchants. Missouri, Florida, Illinois, California and Utah are just a few of the states that appear to have stepped up their investigations; more and more merchants are receiving nexus questionnaires. These states are seeking to enforce current nexus laws. Some do not feel new legislation is necessary, they believe current laws are enough. In addition to monitoring new legislation it is critical for merchants to seek professional advice to ensure they are in compliance with current laws. Remember, the best long term solution is to collect the sales tax, although it’s not as simple as some may believe.

The next year will be a hectic one as we all try to keep up with states strictly enforcing current nexus laws and the states with pending legislation. 

I hope we are ready.

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Walking for Children’s Tumor Foundation

I am asking for a little help from my readers. On September 26 2009 my family and I are walking to raise funds for the Children’s Tumor Foundation. Please consider a small donation to support the wonderful work of the leading group that provides support and services to those affected by Neurofibromatosis. Neurofibromatosis is a neurological disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerves. There are many other manifestations of this disorder, far too many to list here.

My children, Ashley and Matthew have Neurofibromatosis Type 1, something they inherited from me. Our team, Full of Hope is walking to raise money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation which provides critical support services and funds research to find treatments and a cure for Neurofibromatosis (NF). Please visit our donation page for the Walk for the Children’s Tumor Foundation.

My children at SI 5K Walk for Children's Tumor Foundation 2008

This is the second year for this event. Last year, the Children’s Tumor Foundation Staten Island Walk was an inspiring moment for me and my family. Emotions were strong as we walked. Though it was cool and the skies were grey with the threat of rain, our spirits were high. Each step renewed our hope that there will, one day, be a cure. Hundreds walking each step a step closer to a cure. Children racing to the finish line filled with pride knowing that they can help find a cure. Children and adults empowered and encouraged; filled with hope.

Last year as I watched my children walk and then at the end proudly display their medals I truly was filled with hope. As a mom of children who have NF, I know that there is uncertainty; tumors and other complications are a fact of life. Even though my children have so far had few complications I worry about their future. This disorder is progressive and variable. We really do not know what the future holds, and how far it will progress. I have seen the heartbreak experienced by the thousands of moms and dad whose children have experienced severe complications. 

Every donation, no matter what size aids research and makes critical support services available to the thousands of children and adults affected by Neurofibromatosis. Every donation, every step means parents can find knowledgeable doctors for their children. Before getting the referrals provided by the Children’s Tumor Foundation it was hard finding doctors that knew more than me about NF. I will always remember having to spell and explain Neurofibromatosis to one of my children’s doctors. The Children’s Tumor Foundation means I can sleep a little better at night, knowing my children will always be able to find quality care and, one day even a cure.

Every dollar and every step brings us closer to a cure.

Thank you for helping and keeping us Full of Hope.

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As I announced at Affiliate Voice LLC, we are holding another Educational Conference Call. This webinar is part of a series called “Affiliate Education and Protection”. The title for this call is “How to Evaluate a Merchant Program”. During this call we will discuss the variables affiliates use in choosing which programs to join and promote. We’ll examine how to evaluate a merchant’s website and program offer. Also on the agenda is how to use the statistics and information provided in program description.

To help get the conversation going we have a panel that includes:

  • Carolyn Tang, Director of Client Services, ShareASale Inc.
  • Kevin Webster, President, 72 Kilowatts
  • Melanie Seery, President, Affiliate Voice LLC & NY Affiliate Voice

This call is designed to be attended by affiliates, merchants and other members of the affiliate industry with any degree of experience. This webinar offers affiliates the opportunity to discuss and share their thoughts and ideas. By sharing their thoughts and opinions, not only can we help newcomers and each other, we can begin to talk about standards. Affiliates can help shape future offers. Merchants are also welcome to participate with their thoughts and questions. Having the opportunity to listen to affiliates perspective can be priceless in helping to maximize your program.

We encourage everyone to participate and add their thoughts but it is not mandatory to speak. If you know anyone new to affiliate marketing please feel free to share information about this call.

To facilitate communication and maximize the benefits attendance may be limited. You must register in advance. Though open to all in the industry preference will be given to Affiliate Voice members.

As always Affiliate Voice LLC members may submit questions in advance by using the contact information provided in their welcome email.

Title: Affiliate Education Call: Evaluating Merchant Affiliate Program

Date: Thursday, October 1, 2009
Time: 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM EDT
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/644907419

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

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Affiliate Voice September Legislative Update Call

Affiliate Voice LLC  will have a legislative update call on September 15 at 12:30 EST.  The purpose of the call is to update everyone on the status of legislation in states. We anticipate more activity in upcoming legislative session and it is important to share information and prepare.  The purpose of this call is to educate and increase awareness of the likelihood of legislative actions and prepare for legislation that will impact the affiliate  marketing industry in the upcoming year. We will have a  special guest lobbyist to provide us with updates on legislative actions and answer questions.

This call is open to everyone in the affiliate industry but preregistration is required.  Attendees will have a chance to ask questions during the call. As always, Affiliate Voice members may submit questions in advance by using member contact information provided in welcome email.

Topics to be discussed:

– Update of states reported to be planning legislation and states likely to take action
– The importance of identifying your legislators and establishing contact prior to the start of new legislative sessions.
– How to contact or initiate conversation with legislators
– How to monitor legislation
– How to voice your opinion on pending legislation
– Writing your Senators and Representatives

Title: “Affiliate Voice LLC Internet Sales Tax Legislative Updates and Prepare for 2010″
Date:  Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Time:  12:30 PM – 1:30 PM EDT

Register now by clicking the link below:
https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/669521394

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

This information was first announced at Affiliate Voice LLC September Legislative Update Call

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