Monday, 20 August, 2018

Supreme court rules states can collect sales tax from online retailers

Supreme Court rules states can force online shoppers to pay sales tax SHOPPINGSupreme Court rules states can force online shoppers to pay sales taxSHARE:sharetweetshareemail none
Troy Mann | 21 June, 2018, 19:09

Supreme Court hears challenge to union fees and reviews latest travel order.

In giving a victory to the states, the high court said that rule is outdated.

State and local governments had grown increasingly agitated as sales from brick and mortar retailers gave way to online retail, which now comprises approximately 9.5% of the dollar value of total purchases.

In response to the ruling, the stocks of several internet retailers, including Amazon, eBay and Wayfair, all dropped. North Dakota, in 1992, when e-commerce made up a much less substantial portion of retail sales.

The decision is a big win for major corporations such as Apple and Walmart, who generally pay sales tax due to their "physical presence" in most states throughout the country. Brick-and-mortar retailers have argued that online retailers have an unfair advantage.

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Small online businesses will be the hardest hit, said Chris Cox, a lawyer for e-commerce industry group NetChoice.

The case the court ruled in has to do with a law passed by South Dakota in 2016.

Amazon and eBay's third-party vendors, for example, are often cited as an example of small retailers that could suffer from changes to the tax structure. Forty-five of the 50 states impose sales taxes. South Dakota's governor has said his state loses out on an estimated $50m a year in sales tax that doesn't get collected by out-of-state sellers.

States like South Dakota that depend heavily on sales taxes for their revenue are likely to benefit most, with a predicted maximum revenue increase of around 3 percent, according to a Barclays research note.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that the physical presence rule "each year. becomes further removed from economic reality and results in significant revenue losses to the states". The law required out-of-state sellers who do more than $100,000 of business in the state or more than 200 transactions annually with state residents to collect sales tax and turn it over to the state.

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