Monday, 23 July, 2018

Online sales tax ruling praised

Supreme Court of the United States Supreme Court of the United States Credit SCOTUS
Troy Mann | 29 June, 2018, 01:36

In 2016, South Dakota enacted legislation requiring retailers to collect and remit South Dakota sales and use tax if the retailer either (1) delivers more than $100,000 of goods or services into the state, or (2) engages in 200 or more separate transactions for the delivery of goods or services into the state.

Home Accents Today gathered thoughts from industry officials and asked retailers to share their thoughts on the decision.

The highly anticipated decision reverses the Supreme Court's pre-internet Quill decision of 1992, which held that states can not force sales tax collection obligation on vendors who do not have personnel or property in the state (the "physical presence" standard).

For starters, only 16 of the 45 states that collect sales tax have laws on the books defining standards for ecommerce sales tax collection, like the 2017 South Dakota law that prompted the case.

Christine Bekes, executive director of the Powell Economic Partnership, said the high court's decision is a win for state and local businesses and also will "level the playing field" for local businesses when it comes to competing with online retailers.

If you sit on the Supreme Court bench long enough, you might be given the opportunity to overturn a ruling you later come to regret.

South Dakota was anxious about lost sales tax revenue.

Second, the Court's decision now compels one party (the seller) to enforce a law the state claims another party (the buyer) is violating. Amazon made the move more than a year ago to collect sales tax from all states that have a sales tax (Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and OR do not). Furthermore, "r$3 ejecting the physical presence rule is necessary to ensure that artificial competitive advantages are not created by this Court's precedents" since "m$3 odern e-commerce does not align analytically with a test that relies on the sort of physical presence defined in Quill".

By comparison, major online retail sites like Etsy are merely platforms for many micro-business owners, often comprised of sole traders selling handcrafted items. Although the US Treasury is on record as being opposed to these efforts, the possibility exists that the Wayfair decision could be used by foreign tax agencies or institutions, to justify the levying of taxes on US providers of digital goods and services operating remotely from outside of the European Union and other foreign jurisdictions. Many will face additional costs associated with obtaining software or services created to help them collect the taxes and remit to the appropriate state authorities. The framers of the Constitution intended Congress to regulate interstate commerce by thoughtful legislation.

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He said this ruling from the Supreme Court should not affect their customers much, if any.

Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., said he supported the ruling's creation of a level playing field between online sellers and physical retailers. By leaving this up to Congress and the states and failing to address the possible retroactive collection of sales taxes, the Court has set up a potential tax nightmare for small businesses that could force some out of business.

In any event, Thursday's decision is a victory for bricks and mortar retailers who have built stores in Hawaii and have employed local residents.

The U.S. decision comes after continued battles between bricks and mortar retailers and online retail giants, which have turned the consumer retail market upside down in recent years. Special interest politics is behind the Supreme Court's decision. Online retailers have not been so bound, garnering the criticism of state governments in the process.

People are subject to the laws of their states.

"We think the decision is fine".

Some internet retailers are shrugging and making plans to adhere to the new rules.

"This is probably going to have to go through Congress before it gets solved", Boudreau said. According to WalletHub, Washington ranks 33rd among states in terms of tax burden, making it hard to argue that residents are oppressively taxed.

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