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  1. #1
    Advocate mellie's Avatar
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    Rhode Island is actually emailing online merchants about the Internet sales tax. What a gutsy state!

    http://newsblog.projo.com/2009/07/ri-issues-notic.html

    I don't recall that NY did that. I expect merchants are going to do a lot of emailing to affiliates tonight.
    Melanie
    President - Affiliate Advocacy 2008 ShareaSale Performance Industry Advocate Award, 2009 Affiliate Summit Pinnacle Award - Affiliate Advocate
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  2. #2
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    I must credit Rhode Island for being more "open and fair" to merchants regarding its enactment of the "Advertising-Nexus" tax law -- quite unlike New York's "gotcha" strategy which "trapped" merchants who didn't learn about the law until it was too late to avoid its impact.

    But I'm not sure what Rhode Island hopes to accomplish by sending emails to merchants before the state's tax agency has followed up with its interpretation of the law. As worded, the "Advertising-Nexus Tax Law" is incredibly vague and broad, and blatantly unconstitutional.

    My assumption is that they're just hoping that a few merchants will "give in" and register to collect sales tax for Rhode Island. They might even plan to announce the number of companies which register, in order to boast about the law's "success." (Alternatively, they may actually be seeking to inspire a rush of termination letters so that they can condemn the despicable out-of-state resellers who spurn the state in order to "continue unfairly profiting by not collecting sales tax" -- an "us vs. them" strategy.)

    The most likely impact, of course, is that dozens of merchants will follow up by issuing termination notices to all their Rhode Island web publishers much sooner than they otherwise would.

    I wonder:
    • how Rhode Island got its list of 100 merchants to whom it sent these letters,
    • which merchants received the letters, and
    • what the letters say (or did the tax agency just send this notice posted on its web site)?


    I'm also curious about how the affiliate networks are dealing with these laws in their communications with merchants. Have the networks sent emails (or even physical letters) to their merchant clients, advising them about the Rhode Island and North Carolina laws, and what information or advice are the networks giving? Are any of the networks relying on phone calls instead of written communications (in order to avoid leaving a paper trail of possibly very bad advice)?

    I still haven't received any response from Gov. Carcieri to my email thanking him for supporting the law which will increase my profits at the expense of Rhode Island's residents.
    Last edited by markwelch; July 4th, 2009 at 02:47 PM.

  3. #3
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    To clarify: I wrote, above, "But I'm not sure what Rhode Island hopes to accomplish by sending emails to merchants before the state's tax agency has followed up with its interpretation of the law."

    After posting, I checked the Rhode Island tax agency's web site and found a "notice" which actually does seem to provide an interpretation of the "Advertising-Nexus" law. I now assume that it was this notice which was mailed to 100 e-commerce resellers, as mentioned in the article mellie links to above.

    In a separate discussion thread, I posted the full text (and PDF version) of that notice, along with my quick analysis.

    I made some changes to the post above, but didn't remove this sentence, which was simply my mistake.

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