Monday, July 9, 2018

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Internet Sales Tax Collection

Washington--The Supreme Court’s ruling that states have the authority to require retailers to collect and remit sales taxes on remote internet sales is a victory for Main Street retailers and local stores, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. The ruling in South Dakota v. Wayfair overturns a 1992 precedent that only allowed a state to mandate the collection of sales taxes from online merchants that maintained a facility inside the state’s borders. AFBF and South Dakota Farm Bureau together filed an amicus brief in support of South Dakota.

“When a family-owned grocery, drugstore, or gift shop is forced to shutter its doors after generations of serving a town’s citizens, it does not merely represent the loss of one business. It also often means another empty store-front in an already struggling downtown, the loss of jobs (including off-farm jobs of family farmers and their spouses), and less foot traffic for the neighboring shops. It also inevitably means less revenue for critical public services, such as emergency responders, law enforcement, and educators,” AFBF and SDFB said in their amicus brief.

Like the court decision, two Farm Bureau-supported measures would have allowed states to collect sales tax on remote sales, but they also would have provided a framework for the collection of the tax. For example, the proposed legislation included an exemption for small sellers, as well as a requirement that software for collecting the tax be provided to ease the administrative burden. It is possible that Congress will move to establish exemptions and guidelines through legislation.

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