Supreme Court Rules In Internet Sales Tax Case

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Online retailers can now be required to collect sales tax in states they're not physically located.

The North Dakota Legislature previous year passed a law requiring the collection of sales tax from online retailers, effective whenever the U.S. Supreme Court acted to overturn the Quill decision or made a similar ruling, according to Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, who joined with South Dakota in pushing to overturn the Supreme Court's 1992 decision.

"The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that online-only sellers should have to play by the same rules that in-state retailers do".

Already, South Carolina expects to collect about $346 million in sales taxes from online sales in 2017-18, according to an October analysis by the state's Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office.

Revenue Secretary Kimberly Robinson said she will move ahead with efforts to start collecting the online sales tax, though she didn't have a timeline for enforcement and she acknowledged retailers could sue and "drag this out".

For example, Amazon, didn't charge online shoppers in Illinois the 6.25 percent Illinois sales tax until three years ago, when the company opened it's first warehouse in Illinois.

The Supreme Court's ruling lays a foundation that federal and state lawmakers can follow.

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The Supreme Court ruling stemmed from litigation brought by the state of South Dakota against several large online retailers, including the popular home goods seller Wayfair, seeking to enforce state tax code.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN. Many argued Congress should set up standardized rules to simplify tax collection requirements.

Nebraska Tax Commissioner Tony Fulton said Thursday morning that officials were still reading the court opinion and could not comment on how it might affect the state. Sales taxes from internet purchases from companies without in-state stores were already owed. Until now, online retailers with no physical presence in a state were not. It required out of state retailers with more than $100,000 in SD sales to collect sales tax.

This week's decision provides a way to clean up the patchwork: States may now require sellers to collect and remit sales tax, regardless of physical presence, so long as the states take certain steps to minimize the burden of compliance on out-of-state sellers. The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council advocacy group said in a statement, "Small businesses and internet entrepreneurs are not well served at all by this decision".

He said the ruling was "good news, but it's not a windfall".

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. "As much as I like the internet, real harm has been done", says Mike Brey, owner of two Hobby Works stores in Maryland.

Jewelers of America (JA), which has long advocated for so-called sales tax fairness, applauded the ruling.