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Is Your Business Subject To Trailing Nexus?

Businesses that establish nexus within a particular state may be required to meet certain tax compliance requirements even after they stop conducting business within that state. For instance, some states have implemented trailing sales tax nexus rules which require companies to collect sales tax even if they no longer have tax nexus.


What is sales tax nexus?

Tax nexus can best be defined as the seller’s minimum level of physical presence within a state that permits a taxing authority to require them to register, collect and remit sales and use taxes. In determining whether an out-of-state seller needs to comply with tax nexus laws, it is appropriate to examine a combination of federal and state laws. Having said that, if de minimis activities are performed within a state that establishes only the “slightest presence” in a taxing jurisdiction, it is unlikely that the seller will need to register and collect sales tax in that area. If the company has more than a de minimis physical presence in the state, then sales tax registration and collection would likely be required. Most states characterize “doing business in their state” as regularly or systematically soliciting business either by employees, independent contractors, agents or other representatives or by distribution of catalogs or other advertising matter. It is important to know the rules in each state where your company conducts business.

Trailing Nexus

Certain states require businesses to continue to collect sales tax even if they no longer have nexus within those borders. An example would be a company that conducts business in one state only to later close its retail locations and ceases to have a physical presence in that same state. If the state has a trailing nexus provision, the company must continue collecting and remitting sales tax for the duration of the provision.


States with a trailing sales tax nexus provision

Several states have some type of sales tax nexus provision. The length of time that the provision applies varies by state. Washington State has the most extensive set of rules with a trailing sales tax provision lasting through the current year and an additional four years. Many other states have a trailing provision that doesn’t exceed twelve months. The following states have a known sales tax trailing nexus provision: Alabama, Arizona, California, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, & Wyoming.

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