A Taxing Decision

The Supreme Court says online retailers must collect sales tax.

Internet retailers across the country are bracing for the impact from yesterday’s 5 to 4 Supreme Court ruling recognizing the rights of states to collect taxes from e-retailers. It’s a big big win for the states and potentially a big loss for consumers. The decision overturns a 1992 Supreme Court precedent that blocked states from collecting sales taxes on companies that didn’t have a physical location within their borders. Writing for the majority, Justice Kennedy noted less than 2% of Americans had internet access when that 1992 case was decided. In his dissent, Chief Justice Roberts cited the growth of the e-commerce industry under the framework that existed up until yesterday’s decision. The court is scheduled to wrap up its term on Monday, with a number of big cases awaiting decisions, including the legality of the most recent travel ban. Opinions begin this morning.