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Form letters insufficient contacts for jurisdiction

Where Massachusetts sent plaintiff, a Virginia company, form letters and notices advising that it might have a duty to collect and remit sales tax on its internet business activities in Massachusetts, these are insufficient contacts to establish jurisdiction for plaintiff’s declaratory judgment action.

Code § 8.01-184-1 confers circuit courts with original jurisdiction over declaratory actions filed by Virginia businesses in response to another state’s claim that the business is obligated to collect and remit sales tax to that state. The state is subject to personal jurisdiction to the extent permitted by the U.S. Constitution.

The Massachusetts tax commissioner’s alleged Virginia contacts with plaintiff were form letters and notices. “These three contacts with [plaintiff] are insufficient to confer jurisdiction over the Commissioner’s objection to the Court’s exercise of jurisdiction. Therefore, Defendant’s motion to dismiss is granted.”

Crutchfield v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Oct. 9, 2019; Sixteenth Judicial Court (Worrell). Stephanie Lipinski-Galland, Harold Johnson, Julie Green, Kirk Hanson, Pierce Cray, Edward Lowry, David Thomas, Jordan McKay, George Isaacson, Matthew Schaefer for the parties. VLW 019-8-090, 3 pp.

VLW 019-8-090