A different kind of tax day at the Supreme Court

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If you shop online or own a business (digital or physical), you may get a sense of what the U.S. Supreme Court is thinking today in terms of collecting states sales taxes on online purchases.

The high court will hear oral arguments in a few hours on South Dakota vs. Wayfair, a case focused on requiring online retailers to collect sales tax in states where their products are sold, even if the retailer has no physical presence in the state.

The court ruled in 1992’s North Dakota vs. Quill, that online retailers did not have to collect state sales taxes for online purchases.

South Dakota wants that ruling overturned.

North Dakota Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger is among officials in at least 40 other states hoping the U.S. Supreme Court does just that.

“Overturning Quill vs. North Dakota would go a long way in leveling the playing field for local businesses.” Rauschenberger said in a statement issued this morning. “Local retailers lose business to online retailers who don’t have to collect sales tax.”

Rauschenberger estimates North Dakota is losing up to $50 million per year in state sales tax revenue due to the Quill ruling.

“A lot has changed since 1992,” Rauschenberger said. “Online retailers didn’t exist back then, and remote sellers were considered companies that sold via catalog. Now remote retailers that can sell online make up a larger market share than catalog companies did then.”

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