Monday, 16 July, 2018

Supreme Court Rules States Can Tax All Internet Sales

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Beatrice Douglas | 22 June, 2018, 18:29

Amazon, by far the nation's largest online seller, is not a party to the case, since it now has a physical presence in many states, with warehouses, and pays the taxes.

The case decided was South Dakota v. Wayfair; South Dakota was suing Wayfair, an e-commerce retailer that does not collect state taxes.

Shares of Amazon and other online retailers fell Thursday morning after the Supreme Court ruled that individual states can require tax collection on digital sales.

In a ruling that could benefit Nebraska and Iowa tax coffers, the U.S. Supreme Court says states can force online shoppers to pay sales tax. Legislators began considering going after Amazon when the company agreed to start paying the tax in other states, but not here. Even though the effective date of the decision is today, Rauschenberger is unsure when online retailers will be on the hook.

It also should be noted that those taxes are typically built into the advertised price, so consumers would see the difference before the checkout screen, whereas sales tax is added on.

Quill was a catalog (not e-commerce) retailer that had no presence in North Dakota.

"We're reviewing the decision", was all agency rep James Gazzale said in an emailed statement.

More than 40 states had asked the high court to overrule two decades-old Supreme Court decisions that limited the ability of states to put sales tax on many internet transactions. Prior to the ruling, if you lived in NY and bought a TV from a retailer like Newegg - which has no physical stores in NY state - you wouldn't have to pay sales tax on your purchase.


MA began requiring companies that conducted at least $500,000 in online sales in MA or had 100 or more transactions to collect and pay sales tax. Note that consumers who live in one of the five states without a sales tax...

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, supported by most of the Court's conservatives and, somewhat surprisingly, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

In his dissent, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that Congress, not the court, should change the rules if necessary.

The Illinois provision mirrors the South Dakota law at the center of the Supreme Court case, and is scheduled to go into effect on October 1. Today, the retail giant collects taxes in every state that has a sales tax. That position was to target huge retailers, without hitting smaller shops who sell their wares through eBay and Amazon. On Twitter, President Donald Trump called the decision a "Big victory for fairness and for our country".

But NetChoice, a trade association for e-commerce firms, warned small businesses would have trouble complying with the different tax requirements in each state.

IN lawmakers anticipated the ruling in 2017 when they passed a law that imposed sales tax on companies that did at least $100,000 worth of business or more than 200 separate transactions in the state in a year.

The case is South Dakota v. Wayfair, 17-494.

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