23 Jul 2010
2 min read

Do Third Parties Give You Sales Tax Nexus?

What's the best way to get reliable answers to your state tax questions? Turn to experts who specialize in solving state tax problems.
Table of contents

In the complex world of sales tax nexus, finding answers to your questions can be challenging. As businesses strive to stay compliant, understanding the role of third parties in triggering nexus—a connection with a state that mandates tax collection—becomes crucial. In this article, we delve into the actions of third parties and whether they might cause you to register for sales tax in a state.

The State's Aggressive Stance

To navigate the intricate web of state and local tax regulations, businesses often turn to reliable resources. However, when it comes to assessing nexus, relying on surveys conducted with state government officials becomes paramount. It's important to note that these responses are often geared towards the state's aggressive approach to asserting nexus, so a cautious approach is advised.

For sellers operating in states where third parties perform actions or services on their behalf, erring on the side of caution is recommended. If there's a chance that nexus arguments might not prevail in the future, registering and collecting taxes from customers becomes a prudent choice.

The Vigilance Needed in a Multistate Operation

Operating in multiple states demands heightened vigilance, especially in challenging economic times. States are becoming more aggressive in identifying companies making sales within their borders, aiming to enforce sales tax collections. The key to this enforcement lies in establishing nexus.

Nexus 101: Understanding the Connection

Nexus, defined as a means of connection or tie, is established when a business forms a connection with a state. Physical presence, such as a store or office, is a clear indicator of nexus. If your business has a physical presence in a state, you are obligated to collect taxes for taxable sales in that state. Economic nexus,In recent years, economic nexus has emerged as a game-changer in sales tax compliance. Economic nexus is triggered based on a business's economic activity within a jurisdiction, even without a physical presence.

Third Parties: A Controversial Nexus Trigger

The role of third parties in establishing nexus is a contentious area. While most companies are aware that having employees or offices in a state establishes nexus, the idea that unrelated third parties can trigger nexus raises questions. Using subcontractors for installations, repairs, or construction is generally accepted as establishing nexus, but other activities by third parties remain debatable.

Surveying State Responses

Addressing questions about third-party actions leading to nexus, we surveyed five key states: California, Texas, Florida, Ohio, New York, and Illinois. Notably, three out of five states asserted that using third-party installers or maintenance would establish nexus, while New York abstained from responding. On the matter of attending seminars less than four times, none of the states considered it a nexus-creating activity.

The Importance of Research and Expert Advice

Navigating state tax questions requires a careful approach. While charts and matrices can provide valuable insights, they are not substitutes for professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances. Consulting experts, obtaining private rulings, and maintaining contacts with state personnel can provide accurate and reliable answers.


As businesses grapple with sales tax questions, understanding the role of third parties in triggering nexus is crucial. While state responses offer guidance, it's essential to conduct thorough research and seek expert advice for precise and tailored solutions. Remember, the nexus bug is complex, but with strategic planning and expert assistance, businesses can stay ahead of the curve in the dynamic landscape of state and local taxes.
Share this post
Copy link
Contact us
Stop worrying about sales tax
Let The Sales Tax People take care of it for you.
Blog Article Form
Latest posts
The Sales Tax Blog
Updates, tips, guides, industry best practices, and news.
View all posts
Join our newsletter
Be in the know: promotions, industry news & insights.
Newsletter Sign Up - "Subscribe"

We care about your data — privacy policy.