Shopping online? Now you will have to pay taxes

23 June, 2018, 02:45 | Author: Regina Silva

North Dakota, many companies didn't have to collect sales taxes.

The nation's high court in a 5-4 decision reversed precedent established in two prior cases, the most recent of which was in 1992 before the internet boom.

Until Thursday, states had been allowed to levy sales taxes only on internet companies with a physical presence, such as a warehouse, within the state. "Consumers are going to be following the same rules no matter where they be". "Here in California, we already pay sales taxes on Amazon transactions".

Its law was effective even before the court ruling, Behlke said, by expanding sales tax collections to third-party marketplaces - a category that in most places has so far gone untaxed.

In a post on its website Thursday, the company said it "urges Congress to step in and provide clear tax rules, with a strong small business exemption, to help small businesses take advantage of the Internet to grow and create local jobs". "The expansion of e-commerce has also increased the revenue shortfall faced by States seeking to collect their sales and use taxes".

Amazon then added Pennsylvania to that list after a similar law there went into effect April 1.

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The ruling is likely to lead other states to try to collect sales tax on purchases from out-of-state online businesses more aggressively.

E-commerce giant Amazon voluntarily agreed in 2017 to start paying New Mexico gross receipts tax, though it is unclear exactly how much the state has collected because tax filings are confidential.

The ruling is a win for large retailers, who argued the physical presence rule was unfair. Kennedy wrote that the rule "limited States' ability to seek long-term prosperity and has prevented market participants from competing on an even playing field". Any adjustment to those rules with the potential to disrupt the development of such a critical segment of the economy should be undertaken by Congress.

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing the dissenting opinion, agreed with Kennedy in that Quill was wrongly decided, but he wrote that Congress should make any necessary changes, rather than the court. While the Supreme Court spoke approvingly of the law it sent it back to South Dakota's highest court to be revisited in light of the court's decision. "Clearing this hurdle puts Oklahoma in a position to collect much-needed new revenue to fund core government services".

The court decision could also be important in Florida because of the state's heavy reliance on sales-tax revenue. Thirty-one of the 45 states that collect sales taxes have some sort of laws allowing them to expand their tax collection beyond the physical presence standard vacated in the court ruling, according to an analysis from the Tax Foundation. The ruling reversed a 1992 court decision that held online retailers could only be required to collect and remit sales taxes if they had stores or some other "nexus" in states. The state conceded in court, however, that it could only win by persuading the Supreme Court to do away with its physical presence rule.

Stock prices for major online retailers fell after the decision was announced. South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley said South Dakota businesses will now have tax fairness and a level playing field.

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