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ISSAQUAH LAW GROUP

Issaquah Law Group: Experienced Counsel; Client Focus

PHILOSOPHY: Formed in 2014, Issaquah Law Group is a law firm with one focus: providing businesses and insurers with high quality legal representation with the responsiveness of a smaller firm. ILG was founded on the principle that strong client relationships are the key to successful legal representation and strong relationships are built upon clear and consistent communication. 

LITIGATION: We work closely with our clients to fully and accurately understand their goals, work collaboratively to formulate specific legal strategies, and execute the agreed plan of action utilizing methods most likely to result in the efficient and effective resolution of the matter. ILG attorneys have a broad base of litigation experience to draw on in all Federal and State courts from on-the-ground investigations to Supreme Court appeals in the areas of personal injury and wrongful death, product liability, commercial general liability, labor & employment, construction litigation, and catastrophic losses due to fire and explosion.

BUSINESS LAW: Rarely is the path from point A to point B a straight line, so our role in a business law practice is to find alternatives, devise workable strategies, and keep your business ideas, goals and objectives moving toward realization. ILG’s business attorneys help clients achieve their goals with respect to business formation, intellectual property, labor and employment, CAN-SPAM, copyright and trademark

COMMUNITY: In addition, the Lawyers at Issaquah Law Group remain active in the legal and civic community. A core commitment of our Issaquah Attorneys is community service. Our attorneys' civic involvement includes the King County Civil Rights Commission; the City of Issaquah Planning Policy Commission; the Northwest Screenwriters Guild, service as a pro tem judge. We live and work in the Pacific Northwest, and we aim to make it a better place.

In addition, through The Amateur Law Professor Blog and LinkedIn postings, we share pertinent opinions and decisions of the Washington State Supreme Court, as well as the pertinent opinions and decisions of the Washington State Courts of Appeal so that our clients can be as update to date on cutting legal issues as we are.

WA Legal Roundup: Division II

Lamtec Corp. v. Dep’t. of Revenue

Lamtec, a New Jersey company engaged in the manufacturing and selling of vapor barriers and insulation facings, does business (over the phone) with several WA clients.   The orders are placed via telephone and the goods are shipped F.O.B with the customers bearing the risk of loss.  Lamtec employees (of which are located in New Jersey and one in Ohio) have “visited” their WA clients several times in the tax years of 1997 and 2003 (the years at issue in this case) and, while no sales were placed, admitted that the purpose was to maintain the customer relations.

The Department contacted Lamtec and determined that their sales activities were subject to the State’s taxing authority and assessed a B&O tax (business and occupation) of $71,566.12.  Lamtec appealed to the Department Appeals Board who confirmed the tax assessment.  After exhausting its remedies, Lamtec paid the taxes and filed suit in Thurston County who granted summary judgment in the Department’s favor. Lametec appealed to the Court of Appeals making the statutory argument that under the specific WAC, WA B&O tax should not apply to Lamtec’s wholesale sales to its Washington clients and a constitutional argument that the B&O tax violates the commerce clause. 

Contrary to Lamtec’s belief, the Court ruled that under the WAC, the Department could impose a B&O tax on Lamtec because it found that Lamtec’s customers did receive their goods in Washington (because even though the products were shipped F.O.B New Jersey, the common carriers did not have authority to inspect, accept or reject the goods) and that Lamtec has a nexus with Washington. 

The Court evaluated the nexus/commerce clause argument against the four part test developed by the United State Supreme Court. the first prong (that there is a nexus between WA and Lamtec is the only prong being disputed).  Despite that Lamtec does not hold a physical presence in the state the Court found that there was in deed a nexus because Lamtec made several in person visits to WA for the purpose of maintaining its market in Washington.  Moreover, during these visits the employees answered questions, listened to concerns, provided information on the products, and participated in telephone calls that the clients placed to New Jersey. 

Finally, the Court held that the Department is not barred from imposing B&O taxes because Lamtec’s activities in Washington are not significantly associated with its sales to the state.  The Court ruled that Lamtec has not met its burden to prove their disassociation argument especially in light of the fact that Lamtec sends its employees to maintain its Washington market and its activities are not “separate and independent from its Washington customers.”

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