Retailers hope for certainty as Supreme Court hears tax case

Legal Compliance

Retailers are hoping for a resolution this year from the Supreme Court, which hears arguments Tuesday in a decades-old dispute: Whether companies must collect sales tax on items sold in a state where they don't have a store or other building.

If the court backs government officials who say they're losing billions of dollars in uncollected taxes, thousands of small companies could be forced to start charging their out-of-state customers for them. Some businesses fear that could alienate customers used to tax-free shopping. On the other side: Retailers who do collect sales tax and believe those who don't have an unfair advantage.

The justices will hear online retailers Wayfair, Overstock.com and Newegg challenging a South Dakota law enacted last May requiring out-of-state retailers that have sales of more than $100,000 or over 200 transactions a year in the state to collect sales tax. Their decision could have national implications on e-commerce, although Congress can pass legislation afterward that broadens or narrows the law.

It's not only about the money, says Stephanie Harvey, owner of exit343design in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. There are more than 10,000 sales tax jurisdictions in the United States: 35 states, the District of Columbia, counties and municipalities.

"Adding this sales tax isn't just about the tax itself — it's about the cost of time to navigate and file (taxes) or the additional expense of hiring someone to do so on behalf of the business," says Harvey, whose design and printing company has an online store and sells merchandise to other retailers.

The justices are likely to rule by June on whether to overturn a 1992 decision, Quill v. North Dakota, that said companies cannot be forced to collect sales tax from customers in a state where they don't have a physical presence like a store or distribution center. Collecting tax from online sales hasn't been a question for big online retailers like Walmart or Macy's since they have physical stores in most or all states. They also have accounting systems and financial staffs to handle the work.

Small retailers have software options to help collect taxes and do the administrative work, but it's an added cost. Whether it's worth it may depend on how much revenue a seller gets from other states. The most comprehensive software can work with the programs retailers use to process sales transactions. The software sellers determine the correct sales tax rate and submit payments and reports to tax authorities.

Related listings

  • Justice Gorsuch confirms conservatives' hopes, liberals' fears

    Justice Gorsuch confirms conservatives' hopes, liberals' fears

    Legal Compliance 04/04/2018

    Neil Gorsuch became the Supreme Court’s newest member a year ago this Tuesday. President Donald Trump’s pick for the high court, its 113th justice, has now heard more than 60 cases on issues including gerrymandering, fees paid to unions a...

  • Michigan's top court hearing cases over guns, schools

    Michigan's top court hearing cases over guns, schools

    Legal Compliance 04/02/2018

    A gun openly carried by a spectator at a school concert in 2015 has turned into a major legal case as the Michigan Supreme Court considers whether the state's public schools can trump the Legislature and adopt their own restrictions on firearms.The c...

  • POLICE REPORTS AND ACCIDENTS ON PRIVATE PROPERTY

    POLICE REPORTS AND ACCIDENTS ON PRIVATE PROPERTY

    Legal Compliance 03/28/2018

    If you have been involved in an automobile accident on private property, you may know it can be difficult to get the police to respond. Often, people say “The police refused to respond because the accident happened on private property&rdqu...

Illinois Work Injury Lawyers – Krol, Bongiorno & Given, LTD.

Accidents in the workplace are often caused by unsafe work conditions arising from ignoring safety rules, overlooking maintenance or other negligence of those in management. While we are one of the largest firms in Illinois dedicated solely to the representation of injured workers, we pride ourselves on the personal, one-on-one approach we deliver to each client.

Work accidents can cause serious injuries and sometimes permanent damage. Some extremely serious work injuries can permanently hinder a person’s ability to get around and continue their daily duties. Factors that affect one’s quality of life such as place of work, relationships with friends and family, and social standing can all be taken away quickly by a work injury. Although, you may not be able to recover all of your losses, you may be entitled to compensation as a result of your work injury. Krol, Bongiorno & Given, LTD. provides informed advocacy in all kinds of workers’ compensation claims, including:

• Injuries to the back and neck, including severe spinal cord injuries
• Serious head injuries
• Heart problems resulting from workplace activities
• Injuries to the knees, elbows, shoulders and other joints
• Injuries caused by repetitive movements

For Illinois Workers’ Compensation claims, you will ALWAYS cheat yourself if you do not hire an experienced attorney. When you hire Krol, Bongiorno & Given, Ltd, you will have someone to guide you through the process, and when it is time to settle, we will add value to your case IN EXCESS of our fee. In the last few years, employers and insurance carriers have sought to advance the argument that when you settle a case without an attorney, your already low settlement should be further reduced by 20% so that you do not get a “windfall.” Representing yourself in Illinois is a lose-lose proposition.