By taking on a law passed by South Dakota's legislature for the express goal of testing its legality, the court will return to an issue it addressed 25 and 50 years ago, before consumers did almost 10% of their shopping on the internet.
The sales-tax case represents a consolidated effort by states to overturn a 1992 Supreme Court decision upholding a constitutional rule that barred requiring vendors to collect sales tax on mail-order sales unless the business had a "physical presence" in the state. But the case before the Supreme Court does directly affect other online retailers, including Overstock.com, home goods company Wayfair and electronics retailer Newegg, who are part of the case the court accepted. "By 2008, e-commerce sales alone totaled $3.16 trillion per year in the United States".
The Supreme Court will decide whether to expand the power of the states to collect sales tax from online sales, which could precipitate a vast increase in internet sales tax.
These different rules and regulations only serve to highlight the quagmire online sellers face if they have to collect, track, and remit sales tax to 50 states and countless municipalities.
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In a September 2017 ruling, the South Dakota Supreme Court, citing the 1992 precedent, ruled against the state.
The Supreme Court has ruled on multiple occasions that race can not be a major factor in the way lines are drawn, but it has yet to set a standard for how much politics is too much. The battles have led to lawsuits in Alabama, Colorado, Indiana, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Tennessee and Wyoming, among others. Traditional retailers joined the fray, arguing it is unfair to require them, but not their online competitors, to charge sales tax with each purchase.
And earlier this week, a federal court panel as politically tainted, sending that case headed toward the high court as well.
Heitkamp said she looks forward to attending the arguments, which will likely take place in April.
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"That said, there is still an opportunity for a legislative solution". As one of seven states without an income tax, South Dakota is heavily dependent on its 4.5% sales tax.
After years of refusing states' pleas for help, the Court granted review of an appeal by the state of South Dakota, in a case that the state's legislature explicitly created in order to set up a test of the long-standing restriction.
Similar legislation was introduced past year with bipartisan support, but the effort has stalled in Congress because House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteRosenstein to testify before House Judiciary Committee next week Conservative pressure on Sessions grows Clock ticking down on NSA surveillance powers MORE (R-Va.) has wanted to take a different approach on the issue.
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Friday to take up the state of Washington's challenge to a Ninth Circuit decision ordering the state to replace hundreds of culverts to protect tribal salmon fishing rights.
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The White House may also be stepping into the sales tax fray.