Published: Fri, June 22, 2018
Business | By Pearl Harrison

Supreme Court’s sales-tax ruling could mean $200 million for IL

Supreme Court’s sales-tax ruling could mean $200 million for IL

North Dakota could collect $20 to $50 million from online retailers after Thursday's Supreme Court ruling.

A surprise Supreme Court ruling could make your next online shopping spree more expensive, after deciding that states can impose sales tax on internet purchases made from out-of-state retailers. That won't necessarily be the case at Amazon, the world's largest online retailer, which already collects sales tax in every state that has such a tax. Consumers were supposed to voluntarily pay sales taxes on remote purchases, although it rarely happened.

Many internet retailers had leaned on the Quill decision to avoid paying sales tax in states where they didn't have a physical presence.

Critics of the decision said it would unduly burden and harm small businesses, which the majority acknowledged was possible. They have brick-and-mortar stores nationwide and already generally collect sales tax from their customers who buy online. "This decision finally levels that playing field, and I think that's all any business owner wants". "The retail industry is changing, and the Supreme Court has acted correctly in recognizing that it's time for outdated sales tax policies to change as well". Now, rivals will be charging sales tax where they hadn't before. Meanwhile, Amazon's expansive operations meant it was already charging sales tax nearly everywhere. Typically states would focus their efforts on online vendors and not the customers, but with today's ruling, it becomes moot.

Allowing some online retailers off the hook in collecting sales taxes put small local businesses at a disadvantage, Kadoun said. "We look forward to working with state leaders as they take the necessary actions to ensure that this tax, which has been required under Florida law for decades, is collected moving forward". Now, rivals will be charging sales tax where they hadn't before. That older case prevented states from collecting a sales tax from retailers without a physical presence in their state.

South Carolina's main retail association said the state could collect an added $250 million a year in tax revenue - money from S.C. shoppers that could be used to hire school resource officers, retain teachers or fill vacancies at understaffed state agencies. Wayfair Inc., an online retailer of home goods and furniture that challenged the South Dakota law, had more than $4.7 billion in net revenue in 2017, according to the opinion.

Floyd County Commission Chair Rhonda Wallace also called the Supreme Court's decision "great news", focusing on the ripple effect on economic development.

- New Hampshire online retailers could be on the hook to collect sales tax from dozens of states and thousands of localities after the U.S. Supreme Court Thursday upheld South Dakota's online sales tax law.

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