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ACMA Sues to Challenge Ohio ‘Electronic Nexus’ Law

For Immediate Release

Columbus, Ohio, December 29, 2017 – Today, the American Catalog Mailers Association, Inc. filed a lawsuit against the Ohio Department of Taxation, seeking to declare unconstitutional a new state law that improperly expands the Department’s jurisdiction beyond the state’s borders in clear violation of existing U.S. Supreme Court precedent. The ACMA intends to demonstrate that Ohio’s software “cookie” nexus standard for sales/use tax is in direct contravention of the extraterritorial limits on state tax authority under Quill v. North Dakota.

The state is claiming that the mere presence of electrons placed on an Ohio computer pierces the longstanding “physical presence” test under Quill and subjects remote sellers to sales tax collection and other compliance obligations.

“This is an egregious assault on out of state companies seeking to sell to Ohio residents and effectively presents a barrier to interstate commerce that cannot be left unchallenged,” said ACMA President Hamilton Davison. “We have no doubt the Ohio judiciary, in light of the well-established national precedent created by the highest court in the land, will overturn this illegal new law.”

ACMA has filed this action just before the law’s January 1, 2018 effective date.

What This Means for Ohio Consumers
Were this law left unchallenged, Ohio consumers would be offered fewer products and not have the benefits of remote shopping available elsewhere in the country from online sellers who avoid doing business in Ohio as a result of its egregious and excessive assertion of regulatory and tax authority. Rural Ohioans, shut-ins and elderly citizens would be especially affected. All Ohio residents would have fewer choices and less shopping options. Ohio companies would also be impacted when other states place similar burdens on their out of Ohio sales.

Why the ACMA Is Suing Ohio
Part of the ACMA’s mission is to protect its members from overreaching state laws that burden interstate commerce. Individual companies, if they are audited and assessed, will be left to bear alone the cost of appealing the assessment and disputing the law. The ACMA is stepping forward on their behalf to challenge this untenable action by the State.

What the Alternatives Are for Catalogers
If Ohio can get away with ignoring Supreme Court limitations on the scope of its taxing authority, then we can expect many other states and local tax jurisdictions throughout the country to follow suit. Capitulation (i.e., commencing tax collection), of course, is always an available alternative. However, for many small and mid-size companies, the burden and unfairness of having to collect and remit taxes for thousands of jurisdictions, and be exposed to endless audits, is worth fighting over.

An appeal of a tax assessment by an individual company would require that company to wade first through a lengthy administrative appeal process before obtaining judicial review. We believe that prompt consideration by the courts is a far preferable course of action.

How This Will Impact ACMA’s Federal Tax Battle
Such state-aimed lawsuits are not in isolation from the overarching, national, Quill-preserving or updating strategy. The ACMA’s ultimate goal is obtain reasonable federal legislation, which will enable catalogers and other remote sellers to collect sales tax on a more simplified basis, without unduly burdening them compared to other retailers. If successful, such federal legislation would set the terms for sales tax collection by remote sellers for decades to come.

The ACMA is committed to achieving a long term nationwide solution that is fair to all parties concerned, which includes consumers, states, and merchants. In the meantime, state revenue departments should not be permitted to force catalog and e-commerce companies into compliance with the current crazy quilt of complex, confusing, and wildly differing sales tax regimes by adopting over-reaching new tax laws. Instead, state and local governments should join the ACMA and other industry organizations at the bargaining table to produce a more reasonable and simplified system of sales tax collection.

“This,” Davison said, “is a long-term process in which we are engaged. Unchecked, illegal actions, such as the one Ohio is pursuing, will damage significantly companies that have no political standing in Ohio and will add tens and hundreds of thousands in extra costs on small- and medium-sized businesses ill-equipped to bear this burden. Industry support for this strategy is critical.”


About American Catalog Mailers Association
ACMA is a Washington-based not-for-profit organization specifically created to advocate for the unique collective interests of catalog mailers in regulatory, public and administrative matters where the shared impact transcends individual company interests. The only catalog owned and controlled trade group focused solely on the business interests of catalogers and their supply chain, ACMA participates in rulemaking and other proceedings of significance where a single collective voice increases influence and effectiveness. Membership is open to any party with direct interests in the catalog industry. More information can be found at



© 2017 American Catalog Mailers Association, Inc.

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Lynn Noble

President & Executive Director

New Member Development & Acquisition; Postal Affairs

Lynn Noble is ACMA’s Vice President, Industry Relations, having joined the ACMA in May 2015, following an extensive direct marketing career in private industry as well as the US Postal Service. He is responsible for leading the membership development efforts for the ACMA through new member acquisitions and providing enhanced member value.

Throughout his career, Lynn has held key marketing & sales positions with several leading direct marketers, as well as several high-level management positions with the US Postal Service.

In 2009, at the request of the ACMA, the US Postal Service initiated a new position of Catalog Manager to lead the Service’s efforts to stabilize and grow the catalog industry. Lynn returned to the USPS to lead those efforts and was instrumental to developing a stronger industry partnership between the Postal Service and the catalog industry. Serving as the product manager for catalogs, Lynn helped to raise the awareness of catalog-specific business challenges within the executive ranks of the USPS. During his tenure, the ACMA and catalog companies enjoyed a collaborative and progressive environment that produced more stabilized rates and inclusion in key USPS promotional opportunities.

Just prior to joining the ACMA Lynn was the USPS’s Manager, Strategic Account Operations, leading a team of senior sales professionals who focused exclusively in the Catalog, Mail Order, and E-commerce arena. In addition to his Postal positions, Lynn previously held key positions with leading direct marketing companies, including Cox Target Media, Market Logic, Catalina Marketing,, and Advantage Direct.

Paul Miller

Vice President & Deputy Director

Association Matters, Marketing / Communications, Membership Relations

Named Vice President & Deputy Director in January 2010, Miller came to the ACMA following a lengthy career of more than two decades following the catalog/multichannel/e-commerce/retail businesses. Reporting to ACMA president & executive director Hamilton Davison, Miller oversees marketing and communications, membership development, and organizes and oversees ACMA’s National Catalog Forum, while working with Davison on most of ACMA’s postal-related efforts.

Miller started his career as a reporter with Catalog Showroom Business, following a form of retailing that was led by the likes of the Service Merchandise and Best Products retail chains.

After several years of editor/reporter roles with business magazines that followed the toy and gift industries, Miller was named associate editor of Catalog Age magazine (now Multichannel Merchant) in 1986. He rose up the ranks at Catalog Age over the next 18 years to be the magazine’s senior news editor.

Beginning in the late ’80s, Miller became Catalog Age’s postal beat reporter, where he’d follow key postal events and pull out the key catalog mail-related issues for readers. During that time, he attended many Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) meetings and National Postal forums.

After leaving Catalog Age in 2004, Miller consulted with several catalogers and multichannel suppliers for a time, he was named news/website editor at Commercial Property News. Less than a year later, he was asked to take the reigns at Catalog Success (now All About ROI) where he served as editor-in- chief from 2006 till the end of 2009.


Mike Plunkett

President & Executive Director

Washington, legislative, lobbying matters

ACMA appointed Michael K. Plunkett as its President and Executive Director in January 2024, succeeding founder Hamilton Davison. Mr. Davison moved on to own and run a company. Mr. Plunkett brings years of executive leadership experience having been the President and CEO of the Association for Postal Commerce (PostCom) since 2017.  In the newly-formed dual role, he will continue his current role with PostCom and the two organizations will operate separately.

During his tenure, PostCom has continued to lead the mailing and shipping industry on policy and regulatory matters and to work with Government agency partners to advance issues of importance to members. Mr. Plunkett is also President of the Delivery Technology Advocacy Council, a nonprofit launched in 2020 to concentrate on delivery and logistics technologies.

Prior to PostCom, Mr. Plunkett accumulated more than 25 years Postal experience with the United States Postal Service in numerous executive roles in operations, marketing, product development and pricing.  As a leader within the Postal Service’s management team, Mr. Plunkett developed a well-earned reputation for innovation by leading efforts to develop pricing agreements for domestic services and in the development of the forever stamp and the priority mail flat rate box.

Mr. Plunkett has testified on pricing and policy issues before the Postal Regulatory Commission and Congressional subcommittees.  He has authored and presented papers on postal policies, economics, and operations for National and International conferences.

Mr. Plunkett holds Masters Degrees in Business from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was a Sloan Fellow. He earned a Bachelor Degrees in Economics and Finance from the Pennsylvania State University.