The debate over state marketplace laws may resume again, after the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) announced it has set up a committee to study whether to draft a uniform state law on online sales tax collection, focusing on marketplaces. The study committee is chaired by Utah Sen. Lyle Hillyard. The lead staffer (“reporter”) will be Professor Adam Thimmesch of the University of Nebraska College of Law. The members of the committee are listed here and information to sign up to be notified of developments is available here.

While ULC was successful at adopting the Uniform Commercial Code in the 1950s, its approach has proven less successful in recent state tax matters. ULC halted an effort to revise the Uniform Division of Income for Tax Purposes Act (UDITPA) in 2010 after state legislators expressed strong opposition. Its work on the Revised Uniform Unclaimed Property Act (RUUPA) has not been widely adopted and failed to account for many industry issues.

The current effort to draft a uniform state law governing marketplace sales is already drawing criticism from many of the groups that spent the last year working with the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) which developed and approved a model statute in January. Not only is the ULC effort seen as redundant but potentially conflicting – a result that would undermine the goal of uniformity already being attempted by the NCSL.

The first phone meeting of the ULC study committee will occur in June. We plan on following this new initiative closely, and anyone interested in this topic should contact the authors.