Coming Soon: More Online Taxes?
Earlier this year, New York State passed a law (dubbed the "Amazon tax") that requires online retailers to collect state taxes from consumers. Amazon.com and Overstock.com objected and sued the state, but now a New York judge has thrown out Amazon and Overstock.com's objections.
This ruling, which essentially approves the "Amazon tax," could overturn a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court decision that says retailers do not need to tax residents of a state where the company has no physical presence.
Adding to the death of this 1992 decision is the Streamlined Sales Tax Project (SSTP), a collaborative effort between 15 states to help--you guessed it--streamline sales tax. SSTP helps its members by sending tax collecting responsibilities to outside parties so online retailers aren't required to crunch numbers themselves. The organization also offers its members amnesty for certain unpaid or uncollected taxes. Basically, the SSTP eases the transition from not paying money to paying money.
What does this all mean? It means the U.S. government wants to do away with measures that exempt online retailers from paying what it feels is owed money. Now that Amazon and Overstock's objections have been thrown out, the battle against New York's new taxation efforts becomes difficult--if not impossible. Buying goods online is likely to become more expensive.