USA Today ran an opinion piece today talking about taxes on business travelers. This has potential implications for the webcasting industry in two key ways. The first is simply an extension of one of the key arguments for web conferencing since the start of the technology... Traveling for business is expensive and odious and should be avoided when possible. You don't need me to go over the laundry list of negatives to business travel. But let's add additional costs now for local and state taxes applied to doing business outside of your headquartered location.
The second issue this raises is much more worrisome for the webcasting industry. It showcases an inexorably growing grab for unjustifiable tax revenues by states looking to cash in on internet commerce. Let's say you put on a fee-based web conference and have registrants from around the country. It's entirely possible that state governments will start requiring you to keep records of where each registrant is from and pay sales taxes to that state because your revenue came from there. Of course you get zero benefit from those tax dollars, you enjoy no public services, and you have no representative voting rights in how those monies are used. The additional record keeping, paperwork, and profit diminishment could easily be the difference between financial success and failure associated with this business channel.
It is incumbent on all of us to watch for interstate tax creep and to fight it wherever we see it being broached by state legislatures.