Published: Wed, June 27, 2018
Industry | By Dora Warner

Supreme Court ruling gives hope to local retailers

Supreme Court ruling gives hope to local retailers

The North Dakota Legislature a year ago 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.

Big-box retailers like Walmart, Target and Apple say the ruling creates a more equal playing ground since their brick-and-mortar stores mandated their contribution to a sales tax for decades.

Terry Horstman, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Revenue, said the state expects to collect about $200 million annually because of the new way of collecting online sales taxes.

NRF and other retail groups said in a second brief filed this year that lack of uniform collection is "inflicting extreme harm and unfairness" on local retailers by "distorting the retail market in favor of absentee ecommerce".

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The court Thursday overturned rulings that said if a business was shipping a product to a state where it didn't have a physical presence such as a warehouse or office, it didn't have to collect the state's sales tax. North Dakota decision was outdated and that sales tax collection is no longer the burden it might once have been due to changes in technology.

The case the court ruled on has to do with a law passed by South Dakota in 2016.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.

In Illinois, it's estimated the similar changes would bring in $150 million to state coffers this budget year and more in future years. "I dont like it because that means I have to pay more".

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Online shopping could soon cost Americans more. IL residents are required to pay state sales tax if the site doesn't add it.

There's no telling yet how the new ruling will affect the retail landscape as this will largely depend on how states choose to exercise their authority regarding online sales.

For small businesses, local advertising may now more effectively draw consumers away from the e-Commerce giants. Lawmakers in the state, which has no income tax, passed a law created to directly challenge the Supreme Court's 1992 decision.

The Quill ruling had required businesses to collect state sales taxes only from residents of states where the business had a physical presence. Under the agreement, retailers can use a sales tax compliance service of their choice without charge for transactions in the participating states, according to Craig Johnson, executive director of the Streamlined Sales Tax Governing Board. This morning's ruling levels the online playing field between the two entities. However, consumers have the option to shop online, pay no sales tax, and get the item cheaper, which is not fair to local stores, Deskins said.

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Higher sales tax rates hurt the economy, and since sales taxes focus mostly on goods, they tend to take a larger bite out of low-income Americans' wallets.

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