Paying Sales Tax on Out of State Purchases

Paying Sales Tax on Out of State Purchases

The United States Supreme Court will hear arguments Tuesday in a case with huge potential impact on businesses - and anyone who shops online - across the country.

Many small retailers depend on online sales.

The precedent set by the 1992 case-Quill Corp. v.

This law was challenged by the state of South Dakota as it seeks to collect sales taxes from out-of-state internet retailers.

A related question, this one halachic: according to the technical dina d'mslchusa (state law in most states), a buyer is obligated to pay sales tax on out of state purchases whether or not the seller charged them.

Times and technology have changed. Amazon collects sales tax on its own products, but not on other businesses' products that are sold through its website.

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But numerous sales these small retailers get are through bigger sites like Amazon and Walmart.

"South Dakota's choice to forego its remedy for back taxes in the event that the Court were to overrule [existing law] will not limit the retroactive application of such a ruling with respect to other state and local jurisdictions", said Wayfair's attorneys. States say they're losing out in billions of dollars in tax revenue.

"Today's online giants do not need or deserve the special tax treatment that the Court gave mail order catalog companies a half century ago", Deborah White, General Counsel for the Retail Industry Leaders Association, said in a statement last month.

Retailers that have brick-and-mortar stores and are already collecting taxes are backing South Dakota. "The "physical presence" rule of those eras was enunciated by the Court long before virtual presence was even imaginable", added White.

Those opposed to a re-write of the law warn that the cost to small businesses could be too much to bear.

President Donald Trump has claimed Amazon doesn't collect sales taxes, even though the company does.

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