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Normand v. Walmart.com USA, LLC

263 So. 3d 974 (2019)

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Normand v. Walmart.com USA, LLC

Louisiana Court of Appeal

263 So. 3d 974 (2019)

Facts

Wal-Mart.com USA, LLC (Walmart) (defendant) ran an online marketplace where it and third-party retailers sold their products. To sell their goods on the marketplace, the third-party retailers had to agree to be the seller of record for all their sales made on the marketplace. The agreement provided that the third-party retailers were responsible for all tax obligations arising out of their marketplace sales, including collecting and remitting sales taxes to local authorities. Louisiana state law imposed a sales tax on tangible personal property sold in the state and allowed local governments to collect additional sales taxes. The relevant statute explained that sales taxes were to be collected by dealers from the purchasers of the tangible personal property. The statute defined a dealer as a person engaged in regular or systematic solicitation of customer orders in the taxing jurisdiction. From 2009 through 2015, Walmart collected and remitted state and local sales taxes to authorities in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. Pursuant to Walmart’s agreement with the third-party retailers, Walmart did not collect or report sales taxes for sales made by the third-party retailers on the marketplace. The Jefferson Parish tax collector (the collector) (plaintiff), Newell Normand, filed a lawsuit in state court seeking unpaid sales taxes from Walmart, arguing that Walmart failed to collect and remit sales tax from its customers for purchases made from third-party retailers on the marketplace. The trial court ruled in favor of the collector, holding Walmart was a dealer and, under Louisiana’s tax laws, was responsible for collecting and remitting sales taxes from sales made by the third-party retailers on the marketplace. Walmart appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Johnson, J.)

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