Valley cities post strong sales tax allocation numbers

Valley cities post strong sales tax allocation numbers

Valley cities post strong sales tax allocation numbers

The debate about paying sales tax on online purchases is heading to the U.S. Supreme Court.

There's been talk lately that all purchases, even from out of state retailers, should be subject to sales tax, collected by the seller. At the time, the court cited state sales tax laws that were too complicated for retailers to know how much to collect unless they had a physical presence in that specific state. Amazon collects sales tax on its own products, but not on other businesses' products that are sold through its website.

"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.

On Tuesday the Supreme Court is hearing arguments whether to overturn its 1992 decision when it hears a new case focused on online purchases, South Dakota vs. Wayfair. She said the cost of purchasing expensive software to collect sales taxes on any sales that were generated to out-of-state customers would be burdensome and not cost-effective for her small business. "The "economic presence' test set forth in this case is a far better yardstick for State authority over absentee retailers and will ensure that large online retailers are playing by the same rules as their brick and mortar counterparts".

Small retailers are not collecting state taxes from online shoppers unless the store has a physical presence in the state where the buyer lives.

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Bruce Jones, a professor of economics at Georgia Highlands College, said the latest figure he's seen puts online sales at between 9 and 10 percent of all retail sales across the nation.

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced he would send cities, counties, transit systems and special goal taxing districts $651 million in local sales tax allocations for sales in February, 5 percent more than the previous year.

Many small retailers depend on online sales.

Online retailers said reversing the 1992 precedent is a negative move in terms of e-commerce.

Should the Supreme Court side with local governmental leaders who claim they are losing big bucks in uncollected taxes, lots of smaller companies will be forced to start collecting taxes on out-of-state sales.

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Retailers that have brick-and-mortar stores and are already collecting taxes are backing South Dakota.

The Trump administration will join the oral argument in favor of online retailers being required to collect sales taxes everywhere.

He says it is often easier to sell higher-end products - $11,900 Viking refrigerators, say, or a $10,400 General Electric oven range - in other states because the lack of sales tax often offsets freight charges, which can add several hundred dollars to each order. But as Amazon has grown, dotting the country with warehouses, it has had to charge sales tax in more and more places.

The decision in Quill and an earlier case was based on the "dormant" Commerce Clause, which prevents states from enacting protectionist measures that burden interstate commerce.

"It doesn't seem fair to me to have to pay taxes in an area I've never even visited before", said Brocato, who also sells through eBay.

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