I’ve had a couple of busy weeks emailing my state representatives about Colorado HB-1193, the advertising tax that affects bloggers and website owners who work with affiliate programs like Overstock.com or Amazon.
Even if you’re not a Colorado blogger, you should pay attention because other states are planning to enact similar bills: Alabama, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota and Tennessee.
Colorado HB-1193 mandates that out-of-state retailers will be required to collect sales tax if they have a single affiliate in the state. (If you use Amazon.com affiliate links and earn even a penny, you’re an affiliate.) Since affiliate sales are a small part of their business, it’s easier for big companies like Amazon to stop working with affiliates than to deal with collecting sales tax.
If those companies stop working with bloggers and website owners, not only will no sales tax be collected but many people will lose their income. No (or reduced) income means that the state will collect less income tax, too. Bills like these are nothing but a lose-lose proposition.
According to Jeanine Crooks, a Colorado blogger and podcaster, “Two companies have already terminated all their Colorado affiliates, seven more have announced their intentions, and many more are expected today.” This repeats what happened when similar bills passed in New York, Rhode Island, and North Carolina.
For more details on what’s going on in Colorado, see Colorado House Passes Bill that Threatens to Devastate Affiliates. Make sure you read the comments, too.
If you’re a blogger who works with affiliate programs in Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota and Tennessee, sign the Help Fight the Advertising Tax petition on the Performance Marketing Association (PMA) site. Make sure to sign up to receive advocacy updates from so you can be notified on what’s happening in your state.