Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Illinois and Colorado Adopt Two Different Approaches to Internet Click-Through Nexus Laws

We have written extensively about Internet click-through nexus laws. Indeed, Brann & Isaacson prevailed, on behalf of the Performance Marketing Association, in the challenge to the Illinois Internet click-through nexus law. On October 18, 2013, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that the Illinois statute violated the federal Internet Tax Freedom Act (“ITFA”), which is found at 47 U.S.C. §151 note, because the Illinois statute discriminated against electronic commerce. The lower court, the Circuit Court of Cook County, had held that the Illinois statute also violated the Commerce Clause because it mandated that any retailer that had an affiliate relationship with an Illinois company (i.e. the Illinois company referred potential customers to the retailer for a commission or other consideration) was required to collect and remit the Illinois sales and use tax. Because of its ruling under the ITFA, the Illinois Supreme Court declined to address the Commerce Clause issue.

In February 2014, the DMA, also represented by Brann & Isaacson, obtained a preliminary injunction from the District Court of Colorado, enjoining the enforcement of the Colorado reporting nexus law. The Colorado law required those companies that do not have a physical presence in Colorado to file reports with the Colorado Department of Revenue, make certain disclosures on their websites and catalogs and notify their customers through mailings describing the customers' obligation to remit sales taxes to the Colorado Department of Revenue. We reported on this decision in our February 20, 2014 blog post.

Subsequent to both the Illinois and Colorado victories for the industry, the legislatures in both of these states amended their statutes to address click-through nexus arrangements. Their approaches are different, though: