Internet Sales Tax Fairness – Rhode Island

Date: 21 Jul 2009 | posted in: Retail | 0 Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

Following New York’s lead, in 2009, Rhode Island enacted new provisions that require e-commerce retailers that generate more than $5,000 in sales through sales affiliates based in the state to collect and remit state sales taxes. Like New York, Rhode Island’s law states that sales affiliates create a physical presence, or nexus, in the state that allows the state to require them to collect sales taxes.  The law will affect an estimated 100 retailers in Rhode Island.


Section 8 of Article 16, H-5983 Sub A (enacted July 1, 2009)

44-18-15. “Retailer” defined. — (a) “Retailer” includes:

(1) Every person engaged in the business of making sales at retail, including sales at auction of tangible personal property owned by the person or others.

(2) Every person making sales of tangible personal property through an independent contractor or other representative, if the retailer enters into an agreement with a resident of this state, under which the resident, for a commission or other consideration, directly or indirectly refers potential customers, whether by a link on an Internet website or otherwise, to the retailer, provided the cumulative gross receipts from sales by the retailer to customers in the state who are referred to the retailer by all residents with this type of an agreement with the retailer, is in excess of five thousand dollars ($5,000) during the preceding four (4) quarterly periods ending on the  last day of March, June, September and December. Such retailer shall be presumed to be soliciting business through such independent contractor or other representative, which presumption may be rebutted by proof that the resident with whom the retailer has an agreement did not engage in any solicitation in the state on behalf of the retailer that would satisfy the nexus requirement of the United States Constitution during such four (4) quarterly periods.

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Stacy Mitchell is co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, and directs its Independent Business Initiative, which partners with a wide range of allies to implement policies that counter concentrated power and strengthen local economies.