Markets

Supreme Court Let States Tax Online Shopping

Supreme Court Let States Tax Online Shopping

The top court in the USA has ruled that states can force online companies to collect sales tax from their customers. That ruling held that a state can not require an out-of-state seller with no physical presence in the state to collect and remit sales taxes on goods the seller ships to consumers there. Online sellers that haven't been charging sales tax on goods shipped to every state range from jewelry website Blue Nile to pet products site Chewy.com to clothing retailer L.L. Bean.

But others have resisted, making Thursday's decision significant.

Camera gear is about to get more expensive for most online shoppers in the United States. If a business had a physical presence in a state, then they could be forced to collect sales tax at the time of purchase.

Big chains have been collecting sales tax nationwide because they typically have physical stores in whatever state a purchase is being shipped to.

"It basically says if you're making sales into the state you're required to collect tax", Crosby said. Various studies estimate that the potential amount of uncollected state sales taxes may range from $13 to $33 billion, SEMA says.

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The 5-4 ruling is widely seen as a victory for brick-and-mortar stores, who previously said that online retailers' ability to skirt sales tax collection gave them an advantage.

Stocks of online retailers were down significantly immediately following the ruling. The measure would have required online retailers to send customers a notice of their total taxable purchases unless the businesses collected the sales tax themselves.

State director Mike Hickey of the National Federation of Independent Businesses said his members are split on the sales tax issue. "For years, this situation has resulted in substantial loss of revenue to states, thus increasing the tax burden on those who do pay the taxes they owe".

It's clear that the court's decision will mean extra cash for states.

As reported by CNET, the National Retail Federation, a trade group that includes numerous largest brick-and-mortar USA retailers, joined President Trump in hailing the decision as "a major victory".


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