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What is the Interstate Commerce Simplification Act of 2024?

What is the Interstate Commerce Simplification Act of 2024?

Understanding H.R. 8021: Redefining P.L. 86-272 and the Solicitation of Orders 

On April 16, 2024, a significant bill, H.R. 8021, known as the “Interstate Commerce Simplification Act of 2024” was introduced in the United States House of Representatives. This bill, spearheaded by Congressman Fitzgerald aims to amend Public Law 86-272 (P.L. 86-272), a federal statute enacted in 1959 that protects certain interstate businesses from state income tax if their only activity within the state is soliciting orders for sales of tangible personal property.  

The amendment proposed in H.R. 8021 seeks to clarify and redefine what constitutes the "solicitation of orders," addressing modern business practices and technological advancements that were not contemplated when the law was originally passed. 

Background on P.L. 86-272 

Public Law 86-272 was enacted to provide a clear rule for businesses engaged in interstate commerce, particularly to shield them from the complexities of multiple state income tax filings. The law states that a state cannot impose a net income tax on an out-of-state business if its only activity within the state is soliciting orders for sales of tangible personal property, provided that the orders are approved and filled from outside the state. 

However, the statute's language has led to numerous legal interpretations and court battles over what activities qualify as "solicitation of orders." The rise of digital commerce and new business models has further complicated this issue. 

Key Provisions of H.R. 8021 

H.R. 8021 seeks to modernize P.L. 86-272 by providing a clearer definition of what activities constitute the solicitation of orders. Key provisions of the bill include: 

Expanded Definition of Solicitation 

The bill aims to include various digital and electronic activities within the scope of "solicitation of orders." This would encompass online advertising, marketing, and other internet-based activities that are aimed at generating sales of tangible personal property. 

Addressing E-Commerce and Remote Sales 

The bill acknowledges the realities of modern e-commerce by ensuring that businesses engaged in remote sales through online platforms are considered under the solicitation protections if they meet the specified criteria. By providing a clear definition, the bill aims to protect businesses from being unfairly taxed by states where they only solicit orders but do not engage in substantial business activities. 

Reducing Legal Disputes 

Ambiguities in the current law have led to numerous legal disputes between businesses and states over tax liabilities. H.R. 8021 aims to reduce these disputes by offering clear guidelines that both parties can follow.Implications for Businesses 

The passage of H.R. 8021 would have far-reaching implications for businesses engaged in interstate commerce. By providing a more precise and contemporary definition of solicitation, the bill would offer greater certainty and protection for businesses operating across state lines. This could potentially reduce the administrative burden and legal disputes related to state income tax obligations. 

For businesses that heavily rely on digital marketing and e-commerce, the bill's provisions could offer significant benefits. By clearly outlining what constitutes protected solicitation activities, companies can better structure their operations to remain compliant with state tax laws while minimizing their tax exposure. 

Potential Challenges and Opposition 

Despite its potential benefits, H.R. 8021 may face opposition from states that rely on income tax revenues from out-of-state businesses. Critics may argue that the bill could erode the tax base of states, particularly those with significant online retail activity, by exempting a broader range of business activities from state taxation. 

Additionally, there could be challenges in the implementation and enforcement of the amended law, as states and businesses adapt to the new definitions and guidelines provided by the bill. Ensuring uniform interpretation and application across different jurisdictions may require additional regulatory guidance and oversight. 


H.R. 8021 represents a crucial step in modernizing P.L. 86-272 to reflect the realities of today's business environment. By redefining the solicitation of orders to include digital and online activities, the bill aims to provide greater clarity and protection for businesses engaged in interstate commerce. While it may face challenges and opposition, the bill's potential to streamline tax compliance and reduce legal disputes makes it a significant development in federal tax legislation.  

As the bill moves through the legislative process, its impact on businesses and state tax systems will be closely watched by stakeholders across the country. 

Evolved is a tax compliance and advisory firm with offices in New York City, Philadelphia and Stamford, serving clients nationally throughout the US.  We provide tax provision, private equity and venture capital services alongside advisory for high net-worth tax and family office tax. 

Zaid Butt
Author: Zaid Butt
Zaid is a certified public accountant with significant tax compliance and consulting experience in diverse industries, including private equity, software, construction, manufacturing, retail, and financial services.