Cloudbeds Billing Portal - United States Sales Tax

In tax legislation, you'll often find pre-written and non-prewritten (aka custom) software broken down into one of three broad categories. However, only ONE category is relevant to Cloudbeds: the Software accessed via cloud. This article explains all the details about it.

Software accessed via cloud - Background

  • This is a software that is accessed remotely (via cloud)
  • Customers typically access cloud software by connecting to the internet, using a web browser to navigate to a secure customer portal, and entering unique login credentials
  • States define cloud based software, within their respective codes, differently.
    • Some states define it as: data processing, data organization, or as tangible personal property
  • Currently, sales tax is assessed on SaaS* products in 21 states, all of which have varying tax legislation over SaaS
  • Action Item (for Finance and Accounting only): Of the states we have Nexus, determine which assess sales tax on SaaS products (Please check further information about nexus below)

*SaaS = software-as-a-service

What is Nexus?

Sales tax nexus is the connection between a seller and a state that requires the seller to register, then collect and remit sales tax in the state.

Certain business activities trigger sales tax nexus, including:

  • Reaching a certain sales or transaction threshold (economic nexus)*
  • Having a physical presence
  • Remote activity, establishing quasi physical presence
  • Click-through nexus

Nexus is the obligation to register, collect, and remit sales tax in a jurisdiction where it has been triggered.

Action Item (Accounting and Finance only)Determine where we have nexus regardless if that state assesses sales tax on SaaS products.

Trailing Nexus: Nexus may continue even after you cease doing business or having a presence in a state, for a period that can last through the end of the calendar year or even longer.

*Under economic nexus, a taxable connection is established when a company reaches a certain level of economic activity in the state, even if it has no physical presence in the state.

Activities That Trigger Nexus

There are four activities that could trigger nexus for Cloudbeds within a state:

1. Economic activity

  • Economic nexus laws are now enforced in 43 states
  • Economic nexus laws vary from state to state
  • Economic nexus can be a sales threshold, a transaction threshold, or both
  • Depending on the state, economic nexus considers varying periods when measuring the sales or transactional thresholds, including:
    • Previous year
    • Current year
    • Trailing 12 months
  • State-by-State Economic Nexus Laws

2. Physical presence

Physical presence is defined differently by state, and can include:

3. Remote Activity

  • Each state defines physical presence differently
  • Physical presence in a state can be established in unexpected ways, including remote activity:
    • Remote workers:
      • Nexus is likely to be triggered where there is a remote employee
      • However, certain states only consider employees whose job is to exploit that state’s marketplace initiating this particular trigger.
      • Other states, like Colorado for example, have stated that nexus can be established when a remote seller has employees in the state, “even if the activities of the employee are completely unrelated to the sales transactions at issue.”
    • Independent contractors:
      • Several states consider a business to have nexus if it has any representative, agent, salesperson, or independent contractor providing services.
  • State-by-state physical presence nexus laws

4. Click-through Nexus and Advertising

  • Under click-through nexus laws, an out-of-state business establishes nexus through agreements to reward persons in the state for directly or indirectly referring potential purchasers through links on a website (hence the name)
  • More than 20 states have click-through nexus laws
    • Most have a sales threshold, meaning the referrals must generate a certain amount of sales to trigger nexus
    • In most states, referrals must generate more than $10,000 in the preceding 12 months or four quarters
  • State-by-state Guide to Click-through Nexus Laws
  • More than 20 states have laws that expand nexus trigger events to include advertising, including online advertising, in a state.
State-by-State Guide to Sales Tax on SaaS
  • SaaS is taxed differently in each state, and is currently taxed in only 21 states.
  • Cloudbeds only has nexus in 10 states that assess sales tax on SaaS products.

Check below the states and their respective guides and sources:

State Guide Source
Arizona Guide Link Source
Hawaii Guide Link
Massachussets Guide Link
New York Guide Link
Ohio Guide Link
South Carolina Guide Link
Texas Guide Link
Utah Guide Link
Washington Guide Link
West Virginia Guide Link

Works Cited: Sales Tax Content

The information obtained to create the content within the Sales Tax Board came from the following sources:

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