We’ve written frequently about developments in Amazon.com and Overstock.com’s challenges to the New York State affiliate nexus law (a law which has inspired similar laws in many other states). Last spring, the New York Court of Appeals, the State’s highest court, upheld the law, stating that, in regards to the parties’ Commerce Clause claims, the “statute plainly satisfies the substantial nexus requirement. Active, in-state solicitation that produces a significant amount of revenue qualifies as ‘demonstrably more than a ‘slightest presence’’” under the Tax Appeals Tribunal’s 1995 ruling in the Orvis case. The Court continued by saying that “The bottom line is that if a vendor is paying New York residents to actively solicit business in this State, there is no reason why that vendor should not shoulder the appropriate tax burden.” The Court rejected the parties’ due process claims, as well.
Late last month, both Amazon.com and Overstock.com took their challenge to the United States Supreme Court, each filing a petition for a writ of certiorari, seeking review of the New York affiliate nexus law and of the New York Court of Appeals Decision (see status of the petitions here and here). New York has until October 23 to file a response in each case. However, as the Supreme Court’s review is discretionary, it is unclear whether the matter will be actually be heard by or decided by the Supreme Court. If not, the New York decision will stand, and other states’ versions of the affiliate nexus law will not be impacted. Meanwhile, the Marketplace Fairness Act, which could, in theory, make challenges such as these moot, remains in committee in the House of Representatives.
We will continue to track developments and keep our readers posted.