Paying Sales Tax on Out of State Purchases

16 April, 2018, 21:30 | Author: Regina Silva
  • Gov. Phil Murphy

Wayfair Inc. essentially pits the 45 states that impose a sales tax against the handful that don't.

It does seem fair, because as it now stands, certain retailers have an unfair advantage over others.

Large retailers with brick-and-mortar stores have to collect sales taxes nationwide, but smaller online sellers can often avoid doing so.

Is such a law, somewhat unknown, nearly (or perhaps completely) unenforced, and overwhelmingly ignored, included in "dina d'malchusa dina"? South Dakota and other state and local governments say they've been cheated out of billions of dollars because of this rule.

Wayfair, which will go before the Supreme Court justices on Tuesday, calls into question a 1992 court ruling that outlines how states and other localities can tax goods sold outside of their borders.

Retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Target, Apple and other major companies do now collect sales tax via their ecommerce channels, so that's not what this case is after.

The court is due to hear a case against retailers that have not been collecting sales tax from customers. Trump has assailed Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who owns the Washington Post, a newspaper that the Republican president also has disparaged.

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

"Things have changed a lot since 1992".

Whatever ruling that the Supreme Court will issue would likely affect the national e-commerce and online shopping industry.

Online retailers said reversing the 1992 precedent is a negative move in terms of e-commerce.

"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.

"[It] provides the many small businesses that use the internet with a very clear and simple and stable legal environment in which to grow their business", according to Brian Bieron, eBay's senior director of government relations.

The state sued a group of online retailers after the law was enacted to force them to collect the state sale taxes, with the aim of overturning the precedent.

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