Supreme Court ruling lets states collect sales tax from online purchases

US Supreme Court Online shoppers can be forced to pay sales tax

The statute's simplicity makes it easier for Oklahoma's Tax Commission to make the case that online companies have to pay sales tax, but it still takes a concerted effort according to spokesperson Paula Ross.

IN lawmakers anticipated the ruling in 2017 when they passed a law that imposed sales tax on companies that did at least $100,000 worth of business or more than 200 separate transactions in the state in a year.

The court this morning upheld a 2016 South Dakota law that requires online merchants with more than $100,000 in annual sales to state residents or 200 transactions with state residents to collect sales tax. But the tax is not applied to third-party sales through the Amazon network. Attorney General Marty Jackley said it was a win for South Dakota and for "Main Street businesses across America that will now have a level playing field and tax fairness".

Online shopping sales have grown steadily for the past decade, but when it comes to sales tax, things get tricky.

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The exact impact of the ruling on Florida's sales tax collections is unknown but it could be significant. With the bigger players now forced to add sales tax, the total cost of online products becomes less of an issue for smaller businesses with physical presences in the state. The estimate tied to that bill said the state would gain between 30 and 40 million dollars a year. With the courts ruling, internet companies can now be required to collect states sales tax in states where they don't have a physical presence.

The court's conservative wing argued that the previous ruling was sufficient to protect the rights of states, but the Trump administration urged the court to side with South Dakota and expand tax collection powers. Instead, consumers were responsible for send states the necessary taxes - something that most people never do.

It's clear that the court's decision will mean extra cash for states. "However, it's premature to expect large windfalls from this decision. 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".

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