USA court backs states over web sales tax

The Supreme Court rules against Wayfair and other online retailers and overturns ban on the collection of online sales taxes. Jenny Kane  AP

The Supreme Court decided the previous tax structure in Quill Corp. v.

The bill, which was signed into law by Gov. John Bel Edwards, positions Louisiana to take advantage of the ruling and start requiring internet retailers to collect sales taxes. Amazon.com Inc shares fell as much as 1.9 percent before paring losses.

The win was welcomed by groups representing brick-and-mortar retailers and decried by e-commerce advocates.

Previously, companies without a physical presence in a state were exempt from sales tax collection requirements.

During an interview with FOX Business in April, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said changing the law could level the playing field between traditional and e-commerce retailers.

Only five states do not have a state-wide sales tax: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon. South Dakota's governor has said his state loses out on an estimated $50m a year in sales tax that doesn't get collected by out-of-state sellers. Although technically consumers are required to pay sales tax on all purchases, it is practically impossible to collect without the retailer applying it at the point of sale.

More retailers are collecting, including 19 of the 20 largest, regardless of whether they have a physical presence in the state, according to briefs filed in the case. North Dakota - was "flawed on its own terms" and was especially problematic due to the rise of internet retail.

As an example, lawyers for the online retailers told the high court that in IL, a Snickers bar costs more in taxes than a Twix bar, since food items containing flour are not treated as candy for tax purposes. The state enacted a law requiring out-of-state sellers to collect and send it sales taxes, but only if they deliver more than $100,000 of goods or services into the state or make 200 or more transactions.

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