Friday, July 9, 2010

Oklahoma (again)!

This post is not a repeat of the successful musical. Rather, it is yet another blog post on the Oklahoma tax statute to supplement our posts of June 24 and July 1. The Oklahoma Tax Commission has recently proposed emergency regulations that purport to implement the notice requirements of the recently-adopted Oklahoma statute. As reported in our blog post of June 24, the Oklahoma statute is “Colorado-like,” inasmuch as it requires notice with each sale to an Oklahoma consumer by a direct marketer that does not have substantial nexus with Oklahoma. However, the statute provides that the notice is not effective until the Tax Commission has adopted regulations implementing the statute. Hence, the proposed regulations circulated by the Tax Commission, which become effective when approved by the governor.

The regulations require that the “required notice” be included (i) on the retailer’s website or in the retailer’s catalog; and (ii) on each invoice provided by the retailer. The regulations also prescribe that if the retailer does not provide invoices, the retailer must send a confirmatory email containing the required notice. The “required notice” must include the following disclosures:(1) the retailer is not required to collect, and does not collect, Oklahoma use tax; (2) the purchase is subject to Oklahoma use tax, unless exempt; (3) the purchase is not exempt because it is made over the Internet, by catalog or other remote means; (4) the State of Oklahoma requires Oklahoma purchasers to report, by filing a consumer use tax return or disclosing the same on the individual income tax return, all use tax due on out-of-state purchases and to pay such tax with the report or return; and (5) the forms and instructions for consumers to report and pay the Oklahoma use tax are available on the Oklahoma Tax Commission web site,

There are significant issues regarding the proposed regulations. They go beyond the statutory authorization. First of all, there is no requirement in the statute for email confirmation if the retailer does not use invoices. Second, the detailed specifications of the notice, as set forth in the proposed rule, go well beyond the requirements of the statute and will place significant burdens on remote sellers. Third, the statute does not appear to require both notice on the retailer’s Internet website and inclusion of notice on invoices.

In addition to the fact that the proposed regulations exceed the requirements of the statute, the regulations, in combination with the statute, present significant questions of violation of the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. These are similar to those raised by the Colorado statute and regulations. See our blog post of July 2.

1 comment:

  1. It seems like both the Colorado and Oklahoma notice and reporting regimes are sort of the 2.0 of alternative sales tax enforcement theories. (1.0 being the Amazon-law or click-through nexus approach adopted in NC, NY, and RI).

    With its release of its draft Model Sales and Use Tax Notification and Reporting law yesterday, it looks like other states will be considering this approach in 201l.