States Win and E-Retailers Lose as U.S. Supreme Court Alters Sales Tax Collection Standard

States can now require internet retailers to collect sales taxes even if the retailer has no physical presence in the state. In South Dakota v. Wayfair, the Supreme Court overturned its 1992 decision in Quill Corporation v. North Dakota, which limited a state’s ability to impose its sales tax on an out-of-state retailer. In Quill the Court ruled that only a retailer that had a physical presence in a state by means of employees, stores, warehouses, or the like was required to collect such state’s sales tax. The Quill decision is one of the main reasons why many e-commerce retailers did not have to collect sales tax for sales to out-of-state residents. In recent years, states have tried all sorts of means to circumvent the Quill standard. For example, Colorado requires out-of-state retailers to report information about sales to Colorado residents, and Massachusetts tried (but eventually backed off) to claim that cookies on a customer’s computer created a…

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