Supreme Court rules in internet sales tax case

Pool  Getty Images
Pool Getty Images

21 June, 2018

The Supreme Court decided the previous tax structure in Quill Corp. v.

And, in 2015, Justice Kennedy suggested he was prepared to overrule the Supreme Court's 1967 and 1992 decisions in light of modern realities.

They had resulted in some companies not collecting sales tax on every online purchase. Amazon stock is down over 1.2%. North Dakota, in 1992, when e-commerce made up a much less substantial portion of retail sales. Brick-and-mortar retailers have argued that online retailers have an unfair advantage. 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. They said a decision in a case involving mail-order catalogues is obsolete in an era of e-commerce.

South Dakota was backed by President Donald Trump's administration in the case.

South Dakota has estimated that it could take in up to $50 million a year in additional revenue with these taxes being collected.

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Most states would need to pass legislation before seeking to collect the additional taxes, although some have already enacted laws or regulations similar to South Dakota's.

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.

"When the day-to-day functions of marketing and distribution in the modern economy are considered, it is all the more evident that the physical presence rule is artificial in its entirety", Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote.

The idea of online taxes for a long time was limited to companies who had a physical presence in that state. The state enacted a law requiring out-of-state sellers to collect and send it sales taxes, but only if they deliver more than $100,000 of goods or services into the state or make 200 or more transactions.

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