Supreme Court Decides Wayfair Online Sales Tax Case
Supreme Court Decides Wayfair Online Sales Tax Case
The U.S. Supreme Court in Washington
21 June, 2018, 19:55
In a ruling that may impact cord cutting the United States Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision said that states can collect sales taxes online.
The decision overturns a 1992 ruling that prevented the practice.
The case, which we first told you about in April, was over a South Dakota law which requires retailers, regardless of where they are, to collect and pay sales tax. North Dakota that prohibited states from requiring retailers to collect sales taxes if the seller didn't have a physical presence in the state, such as a distribution or call center.
A coalition of small business owners, many offering their online goods from home offices, say their profits would evaporate if forced to comply with complex tax rules in all 50 states.
States stand to gain billions of dollars with the ruling and marks a new era with an Internet economy that has boomed over the past decade and become a dominant force. Large retailers including Apple, Macy's, Target and Walmart, which have brick-and-mortar stores nationwide, already generally collect sales tax from their customers who buy online.
But sellers that only have a physical presence in a single state or a few states could avoid charging customers sales tax when they're shipping to addresses outside those states. Chief Justice John Roberts joined Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan in the dissent. Although technically consumers are required to pay sales tax on all purchases, it is practically impossible to collect without the retailer applying it at the point of sale.
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.
South Dakota was backed by President Donald Trump's administration in the case.
Some states will still have to pass new legislation to demand tax from out-of-state orders, and that isn't always guaranteed.
South Dakota specifically brought this lawsuit against Wayfair, Overstock.com, and Newegg. Amazon stock is down over 1.2%.
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