ANA Says Maryland’s Digital Advertising Tax Unconstitutional, Warns of Business Risks

DECEMBER 7, 2021 – The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) today expressed its continued opposition to regulations implementing the Digital Advertising Gross Revenues Tax.  These regulations, which will go into effect on December 13, 2021 and which were adopted just last Friday, were promulgated by the Maryland Comptroller almost entirely as originally proposed. 

The Association of National Advertisers (ANA), representing numerous companies from nearly every business sector, has opposed the digital advertising revenues tax since it was first proposed by Maryland lawmakers in 2020, and recently criticized the proposed regulations implementing the tax. 

In comments to the Maryland Comptroller, ANA joined with other business groups to oppose the tax on the grounds that it violates the Internet Tax Freedom Act (IFTA), the Commerce and Due Process clauses, and the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. ANA’s comments went on to criticize the proposed regulations for being vague and insufficient, making compliance with the tax law unduly puzzling for businesses.  

“This tax is unconstitutional, costly, and burdensome to the Maryland business community. It will hurt investment and job growth in the state, and ultimately cause consumers to pay far more for products and services,” said Chris Oswald, ANA’s Senior Vice President, Government Relations. “In addition, it’s unclear how companies can comply with this rule. Businesses deserve better than the vague definitions and the challenges that these regulations will create.” 

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan in February vetoed the legislation imposing the tax, but the General Assembly voted to overturn that decision. 

The Digital Advertising Tax is being challenged, with lawsuits pending in both federal and state courts. 

ABOUT THE ANA: The ANA’s (Association of National Advertisers) mission is to drive growth for marketing professionals, brands and businesses, the industry, and humanity. The ANA serves the marketing needs of 20,000 brands by leveraging the 12-point ANA Growth Agenda, which has been endorsed by the Global CMO Growth Council. The ANA’s membership consists of U.S. and international companies, including client-side marketers, nonprofits, fundraisers, and marketing solutions providers (data science and technology companies, ad agencies, publishers, media companies, suppliers, and vendors). The ANA creates Marketing Growth Champions by serving, educating, and advocating for more than 50,000 industry members that collectively invest more than $400 billion in marketing and advertising annually.

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