Retailers Applaud MA DOR Finding that “Real Time” Sales Tax Collection Not a Cost Effective Solution

As you know, over the course of this year, RAM has lead the effort to actively oppose a proposal to mandate “real time” sales tax collection and remittance by third-party processors (credit card companies) in the Commonwealth.  The proposal would have required third-party processors to collect and remit sales tax directly to the Commonwealth, in “real-time,” on credit and debit card transactions at businesses with 50 or more employees.  The MA Department of Revenue (DOR) was directed to go through a regulatory process this fall to determine how to best effectuate accelerated sales tax remittance, or “real time” collection. 

The DOR had to solicit public comment and take into consideration a number of factors including established industry practices, technological feasibility and the financial impacts on consumers and businesses.  The DOR then had to certify whether or not it was cost-effective to implement accelerated remittance before June 1, 2018, and had to make that decision by November 1.  RAM solicited member feedback and responded to the DOR’s request, arguing that there was no cost effective way to implement accelerated sales tax collection in the Commonwealth, and we urged the Department to reject the proposal. 

On November 1, the DOR issued a report to the Legislature finding that Accelerated Sales Tax Remission (ASTR), or “real time” sales tax collection, “cannot be implemented cost-effectively by June 2018 within acceptable risk parameters.  Therefore, in accordance with Section 95, the Department of Revenue will take no further action on the implementation of accelerated sales tax remittance.”  RAM applauded the Department’s finding.