Supreme Court decision on sales tax could see local impact

22 June, 2018, 18:28 | Author: Sergio Cook
  • US-POLITICS-SUPREME COURT

Two popular companies named in the Supreme Court decision - home-goods retailer Overstock.com and electronics merchant Newegg.com - now collect no NY sales tax because they have no physical offices here.

IL consumers will likely see sales tax charged on more online purchases after the Supreme Court loosened restrictions on states' ability to require retailers to charge the tax.

The exact impact of the ruling on Florida's sales tax collections is unknown but it could be significant. They have brick-and-mortar stores nationwide and already generally collect sales tax from their customers who buy online.

Allowing some online retailers off the hook in collecting sales taxes put small local businesses at a disadvantage, Kadoun said. It has to do with the way states collect taxes from internet sales. Recently that has been expanding with States pushing to get sales taxes on sales even when the company does not have a physical presence in that area. Amazon already taxes items from its own warehouses. This will add a new layer of complexity for small businesses that were previously selling without sales tax, but the specific rules will vary by state.

Hurst called the court's decision "a huge win for actual brick and mortar stores on our Main Streets and also for the commonwealth and other states for obtaining fair taxation".

At local businesses like Garnet and Gold, ownership says this decision creates a more level playing field. The losers, said retail analyst Neil Saunders, are online-only retailers, especially smaller ones. Residents are now obligated to pay a use tax on out-of-state online purchases. Chief Justice John Roberts joined Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan in the dissent.

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Consumers can expect to see sales tax charged on more online purchases - likely over the next year and potentially before the Christmas shopping season - as states and retailers react to the court's decision, said one attorney involved in the case. "CCIA has serious concerns about the future implications for e-commerce if governments are empowered to tax those who reside beyond their borders".

Washington, Pennsylvania and Minnesota enacted laws a year ago requiring Amazon and other online platforms to collect taxes on marketplace sales. The case is South Dakota v. Wayfair.

Stocks for several major online retailers dropped in response to the news, including Amazon, Wayfair, and eBay. "Whatever salience the adage "third time's a charm" has in daily life, it is a poor guide to Supreme Court decision-making".

The Illinois provision mirrors the South Dakota law at the center of the Supreme Court case, and is scheduled to go into effect on October 1.

The Trump administration had urged the justices to side with South Dakota. "Big victory for fairness and for our country".

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