April 8, 2012

True North Reports — Vermont's Cloud Tax Controversy


Rob Roper, in an interview with Mike Wasser, [a state tax attorney with State Tax Services, LLC, and who served in the Vermont Tax department at the time the legislation in question regarding the cloud tax was implemented] provides an excellent overview of the issue that flared up in Vermont recently.

I think the issue should be addressed head on by the Legislature. The technical bulletin issued by the Vermont Tax Department in 2010 should be rescinded. and no further back taxes should be levied. Any already paid should be refunded.

The issue is enormously important because so much functionality will be living in the cloud that jurisdictional issues become very complex. The whole issue should be given serious thought about whether a tax should be levied and who should be responsible for collecting it.
"...I want to clarify that when this bulletin first came out, I don’t believe it was done with any malicious intent by the tax department. It’s a complicated issue as we’ve discussed… and they just got it wrong…. It’s really in how you address a mistake like that that makes a difference. What concerns me is in larger part, to my knowledge, nobody that’s looking at how to resolve this issue has even bothered to consult the former tax commissioners who actually administered this policy. Why aren’t they asking commissioner Pelham and commissioner Westman what the department’s official policy was on cloud services?...”"

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