As we’ve written previously (here, here, and here), the California legislature has been considering legislation that may impose potentially unconstitutional requirements on out-of-state retailers selling to California customers.
On May 6, the State Assembly passed AB 2078, Colorado-style legislation that would require out-of-state retailers to provide notice to California customers via the retailers' websites and in their catalogues of the customers’ potential use tax obligations. Previous versions of the Assembly Bill had required such retailers to file quarterly reports with the names, addresses and amounts purchased by California customers, and also created a rebuttable presumption that for any controlled group of corporations, if one member was engaged in business in California, all members would be deemed to be engaged in business in California. As passed by the Assembly, however, only the Bill’s provisions requiring that notice of use tax obligations be provided to California customers survived.
The State Senate has since taken up consideration of the Bill and made its own amendments. In the Bill currently before the Senate, the presumptions regarding controlled groups were reinserted, and the notice provisions were kept in. The Senate did not reinsert the reporting requirements of the original Assembly Bill.
However, the State Senate has yet to vote on the Bill. Instead, yesterday, the Senate moved the Bill to the Senate’s inactive file on a motion by one of the State Senators, likely because today marks the last day on the Senate calendar for any bill to be passed before the Senate’s final recess begins. Although the Bill may be moved off the inactive file, it appears that the California Senate will not be voting on it any time soon. In the meantime, we’ll continue tracking any action on the Bill and keep you posted of developments as they arise.
UPDATE, Jul. 5, 2011: California has enacted a new nexus law.