You may have to start paying sales tax on online purchases, if the US Supreme Court overturns a 25-year old ruling.
In 1992, a case known as Quill versus North Dakota wasn’t in the states favor. North Dakota and other states were trying to force out of state companies to collect sales tax for goods sold in their states.
“Everybody should be equal,” said Jackie Field, Oliver’s Attic Owner.
Now, the Quill case is under reconsideration by the US Supreme Court.
“I believe that the association of states stand a much better opportunity this time around,” said John MacMartin, Chamber Of Commerce President.
The reconsideration could mean that when you buy a product online, no matter where the company is based, you could be paying sales tax.
“Brick and mortar stores have to tax, online stores have to tax also. It only makes the playing field fair,” said Kay Eaton, Gideon’s Trumpet Owner.
“If I’m buying something from California, it’s going to be as if California company had a presence in North Dakota, they’re going to pay the North Dakota sales tax,” said MacMartin.
“When Internet has an unfair advantage more people are going online shopping and then the whole community loses out,” said Val Stadick, Mainstreet Books Owner.
Senator Heidi Heitkamp was the state tax commissioner when the original case was filed. She says that overturning the Quill ruling would mean up to 35-million dollars in sales tax revenue for North Dakota.
“If we have to pay sales tax everybody should have to pay sales tax,” sadi Stadick.
MacMartin believes that part of the problem the first time was irregularity between all the states because each state had different sales tax laws.
“There’s been some uniformity built across the states and I think that will hopefully make a difference this time around,” said MacMartin.
If the state does get to collect those taxes, it will go to maintaining many of the services we have.
“The state and localities would be better off,” said MacMartin.
There’s a chance this time around that states could be collecting more money from businesses that aren’t even seen in our communities.
Heitkamp says retailers without a physical presence have a price advantage over brick and mortar businesses of up to 8.5% in North Dakota because they don’t collect those sales tax.