Weekly Insights: Trade Shows & Sales Tax

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Last year everyone was caught up in GDPR and what ramifications that legislation had for trade shows. But a Supreme Court decision came down which could also affect exhibitors, yet hardly anyone talks about it.

On June 21, 2018, in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., the Court ruled in favor of the state, allowing sales tax to be collected from businesses which had no physical presence in that state. While this was aimed primarily at online sellers, it’s a factor for trade show exhibitors as well.

But figuring out exactly what the requirements are isn’t easy – laws vary by state, and it all comes down to the definition of economic nexus, or a business’ presence in that state.

Some states don’t require sales tax to be collected if you’re only there for three or four days, yet some require a sales tax permit even if it’s only for a day.

You may not need a permit if you sell less than a certain dollar limit in some states, and some only require it if you’re making physical sales in the booth. Yet others demand sales tax to be collected even if you’re simply taking orders for later delivery.

To help sort it all out, this article from Accounting Web provides a good overview of which states are making demands on exhibitors. (Disclaimer: I am not an attorney nor accountant, I’m simply pointing out a situation you need to investigate with your chosen professionals before heading out to shows in other states.)

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