SCOTUS to Consider Letting States Tax Out-of-State Online Retailers

If you can’t beat em, tax em, at least that’s what some hard core coercive association supporters hope will happen as the Supreme Court considers whether the People’s Republic of Massachussettstan can collect theft dollars from out-of-state online retailers.

Online sales tax debate up to Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court is taking up a decades-old issue over whether Massachusetts and other states can collect sales taxes from out-of-state online retailers.

Some business owners here say a court decision could decide whether they stay open.

“This is really a do-or-die moment for the state’s struggling brick-and-mortar retailers,” said Jon Hurst, president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts.

Under a 1992 Supreme Court ruling, internet retailers that don’t have a physical presence in a state don’t have to collect sales taxes on purchases made by people who live there.

But as online commerce has expanded, states including Massachusetts have searched for ways around that ruling. They’ve argued that the files known as “cookies,” downloaded to computers or smartphones when someone visits a website, effectively create that physical presence.

The justices have agreed to hear arguments from South Dakota and 35 other states pressing for a ruling that would allow them to tax purchases involving out-of-state merchants.

If they succeed, consumers could be forced to pay more for online purchases, and states like Massachusetts could collect what they say amounts to billions of dollars in lost revenue.

Read More at Salem News
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Paul Gordon is the publisher and editor of iState.TV. He has published and edited newspapers, poetry magazines and online weekly magazines. He is the director of Social Cognito, an SEO/Web Marketing Company. You can reach Paul at pg@istate.tv