Supreme Court Rules All Online Purchases Can Be Subject to Sales Tax

21 June, 2018, 20:38 | Author: Elena Summers
  • States stand to pocket billions as Supreme Court rules internet businesses must collect sales taxes

"This ruling clears the way for a fair and level playing field where all retailers compete under the same sales tax rules whether they sell merchandise online, in-store or both", National Retail Federation CEO Matt Shay said in a statement.

With this ruling look for more states and local governments to push for taxes on online physical and digital sales. The court said that law effectively incentivized businesses to "avoid physical presence" in states and led to "a judicially created tax shelter" Ultimately, the justices said the current laws are outdated.

Large online retailers, like Amazon, tend to collect sales tax in most states, but not all.

The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that states can collect sales tax from all retailers, even if those retailers do not have a "physical presence" in their state - ultimately paving the way for states to collect sales tax from online retailers. At issue is the case Quill Corp. v.

South Dakota's law applies only to those businesses with more than $100,000 in sales in a state.

The decision, in which South Dakota prevailed over the online furniture retailer Wayfair, immediately sent ripples through the internet shopping industry sending shares tumbling in Amazon, eBay, Etsy and others. The share of overall retail purchases online has been steadily rising nearly a percentage point every year since 2010 - maybe this shift will actually help the "buy local" movement balance out the online boom.

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For the many third-party sellers on Amazon's platform, it's more of a gray area.

It's a huge win for vendors with physical storefronts which have long argued that their online counterparts enjoyed an unfair advantage since they didn't have to charge customers local sales tax.

But the high court said it was time to overturn those cases.

"I feel bad for the New Hampshire-based retailers because they don't have the infrastructure in place to collect sales taxes", said Nancy Kyle, president and CEO of the New Hampshire Retail Association, a 900-member organization that didn't take a position on the tax. North Dakota, which prevented states from collecting these taxes.

The court was particularly strong in its language using home furnishings retailer Wayfair, a defendant in the case.


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