As the on-demand economy continues to boom, the delivery of everything! now! continues to be the mantra. In particular, delivery of meals and prepared food is the latest business model to see tremendous growth. Delivery of alcohol is coming not far behind. As restaurants and fast food chains shift from providing their own delivery (or perhaps no delivery at all) to delivering via one of the new service models, they must consider the impact that this decision will have on their sales tax collection obligation. This is especially true in light of the recent increase in predatory lawsuits targeting the overcollection and undercollection of sales tax on delivery charges.
McDermott Will & Emery state and local tax lawyers Steve Kranz, Diann Smith, Cate Battin and Mark Yopp recently published a whitepaper in State Tax Notes on this emerging topic that describes the typical service models that exist and offers a framework for restaurants and other prepared food providers to begin thinking about the often complex sales tax consequences. Steve Kranz also presented the key issues identified in this whitepaper at the National Conference of State Legislatures Executive Committee Task Force on State and Local Taxation meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah on January 8, 2016. Given policymaker interest in the topic, it is not unlikely that legislators will seek to rationalize the burdens that current sales tax rules place on the blossoming on-demand business models.