Big Bucks At Stake In SCOTUS Sales Tax Case

U.S. Supreme Court weighs South Dakota e-commerce sale tax fight

In fact, chances are pretty good that you already pay sales tax on at least some of your online purchases if you live in a state that has sales tax.

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

In the said case, South Dakota state attorneys asked the High Court to review if retailers can be required to collect state taxes in states where they lack physical presence.

But numerous sales these small retailers get are through bigger sites like Amazon and Walmart. The court will also rule whether states have the authority to tax all online purchases. For example, Amazon says half of the sales on the site are by small and medium size retailers.

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.

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Additionally, independent businesses on websites like Etsy and Ebay would be included in a rewritten sales tax law, as well as third party merchants that operate in Amazon's global marketplace, which totaled almost two-thirds of the company's gross merchandise volume at $313.4 billion.

Based on a prevailing Supreme Court law, retailers can be forced to collect taxes only in states where the company has physical presence. "These online companies have taken advantage of a bygone decision in order to evade the tax collection duties that their brick and mortar competitors perform every day".

Initially meant to regulate catalog-based sellers, the ruling has been challenged again and again by states seeking to claim their fair shake of online sales.

"Those smaller retailers are now starting to see an ability to compete with the big guys like Amazon and Walmart", said Sam Cinquegrani, CEO of ObjectWave, a digital strategy and services firm.

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