Economy

Supreme Court to Hear Online State Sales Tax Case this Week

Supreme Court to Hear Online State Sales Tax Case this Week

The precedent set by the 1992 case-Quill Corp. v.

In 2017, an audit of the Federal Government Accountability Office indicated that states missed the opportunity to collect some $13.7 billion due to the Supreme Court law on state tax for online purchases. North Dakota-established that states could only collect sales tax from a retailer with an established physical presence within their boundaries.

Times and technology have changed.

But small businesses that sell online say the complexity and expense of collecting taxes nationwide could drive them out of business. But online-only merchants-especially the large number of independently-owned businesses on sites like Etsy and Ebay-worry that this is more of a cash grab by state and local governments.

But numerous sales these small retailers get are through bigger sites like Amazon and Walmart.

South Dakota sued top online retailers Wayfair, Overstock, and Newegg, for failing to comply to the said state tax law.

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A reversal could mean that all online retailers must collect sales tax everywhere.

"The current tax system favors online retailers over brick-and-mortar businesses, and undermines fair and open competition in the marketplace", the National Retail Federation argues in a brief it filed in the case. "The "physical presence" rule of those eras was enunciated by the Court long before virtual presence was even imaginable", added White.

The counter argument is that it is very hard for retailers to maintain sales tax accounts in all states they ship to.

The Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision in June.

Many smaller retailers don't; unless they have a physical presence in the state where the buyer lives.

However, in 2016, South Dakota passed a law requiring retailers with at least 200 transactions or $100,000 in sales per year in the state to collect state taxes.


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