WAYFAIR DECISION

Wayfair Legislation Seeks To Protect NH Businesses

The Joint Task Force on the Wayfair Decision voted to recommend legislation to be taken up in Special Session next Wednesday, July 25. House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff (D-Penacook) and Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn (D-Whitefield) released the following joint statement: “Governor Sununu’s haste to call the legislature into Special Session prevented the Wayfair Task Force from conducting a thorough study of the complex legal and technical questions that have arisen from the Supreme Court decision. Because the issue of sales tax collection by online retailers remains unsettled law, and we still have no idea how many New Hampshire businesses will be affected, rushing into legislative action could result in unintended consequences like costly litigation for our business community.”

“Contrasted with the partisanship exhibited by the Governor following the Wayfair decision, Democrats in the legislature recognize that this issue is too important for partisanship. Even though Democrats were only given five seats on the seventeen-member Task Force, our recommendations brought many improvements to the proposed legislation including reimbursement for retailers required to collect sales taxes, bolstered consumer protection against fraud and fees for out of state tax jurisdictions seeking to collect from New Hampshire businesses. Most importantly, Democrats proposed a commission that will continue to study ways to protect NH businesses from the uncertainty created by the Wayfair decision.”
“The Department of Justice and members of the Task Force understand that while New Hampshire can enact state laws to protect our interests, we are unable to fully protect our business community from the effects of the federal Supreme Court decision. Governor Sununu’s brash response to Wayfair may have provided our business community with false hope regarding the level of protection the state can provide.”

“Notwithstanding the compressed seven-day timeline imposed by the Governor, Task Force Democrats voted for this bill to send our business community the message that we are here to support them. By outlining a process for out-of-state tax entities to register with the NH Attorney General's office prior to collecting taxes, the legislation provides New Hampshire businesses with a level of protection from scams and illegal tax collection attempts.”

“As the Supreme Court noted in its Wayfair decision, federal legislation that establishes uniform standards throughout the U.S. would be the most appropriate way to resolve this issue. New Hampshire’s federal delegation, led by Senators Shaheen and Hassan, has shown great leadership by introducing federal legislation that protects New Hampshire businesses and the New Hampshire Advantage.”

“When Governor Hassan called a Special Session to address New Hampshire’s growing opioid epidemic three years ago, Republican leadership blocked the consideration of bills and established a lengthy task force, citing the complexity and consequences of the issue. While this Task Force should have been afforded a similar timeframe, forming a commission to continue studying this important issue greatly improves the original legislation.”