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The Supreme Court Agrees to Open a Can of Worms

Discussion in 'Political/Religious Topics' started by Cyrano, Apr 16, 2018 at 11:46 AM.

  1. Cyrano

    Cyrano Resident Curmudgeon Forum Contributor

    New York
    And it is a big one, one that will affect every online seller. Here is the background.

    In 1992, the Supreme Court ruled in Quill v. North Dakota that a state cannot force a mail-order seller to collect sales tax on its sales unless the merchant has a physical presence in the state, such as a store or a warehouse. This is why you see online ads with lines like "Buyers from NY, NJ, and Ohio must pay sales tax." It also gives online retailers like Amazon, eBay, Wayfair, and IKEA a tremendous advantage over brick and mortar stores, even if those stores also have an online presence.

    Now, South Dakota is challenging the Quill ruling because it has passed a law that says that any company which does more than $100,000 a year in business in South Dakota must collect sales tax, even if they do not have a physical presence in the state. The Dakotans are arguing that in today's interconnected world, it is a company's economic presence, not its physical presence as in stores or warehouses, that matters.

    The Trump Administration is supporting South Dakota. EBay and a number of smaller companies have filed amicus briefs opposing the South Dakota law, arguing that there are thousands of different tax rules in America. There's state tax. There is town tax. Sometimes there is federal tax as well. Some taxes are specific to certain items, such as the sales tax on firearms in New York that goes into a special fund for supporting hunting and fishing programs and state parks. No one knows all the rules, and no software exists that can calculate the tax correctly for every locale in the nation.

    If the Supreme Court overturns Quill, the online sales world is going to be turned upside down as well. This case could have a monumental impact on how people buy things today.
  2. Big Dog

    Big Dog Retired IT Dinosaur Wrangler Forum Contributor

    As always, it is sheer GREED driving this.
    EtherialOne, Rave, jwrauch and 7 others like this.

  3. We want more more more of your money. Seems like a common thread for our bloated government.
    EtherialOne, jwrauch, Rave and 5 others like this.
  4. Dutch

    Dutch G&G Evangelist

    Colorado, and a handful of other states, already require large online stores to collect sales tax, or report purchases, regardless of them having a physical presence in the state. Additionally, people living in Colorado are required by law to self audit their online purchases and pay sales tax on all of them.

    For example, Amazon collects the sales tax on purchases from Colorado automatically, while NewEgg sends the seller a tax document and reports it to the state.
  5. Rambo

    Rambo G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    Last I heard most all states require sales taxes from online sellers to be collected. It won’t affect online sales at all as online businesses still beat retailers prices by not having brick and mortar buildings in every state.
    PAPA G likes this.
  6. PaleHawkDown

    PaleHawkDown G&G Evangelist


    Nope. If your business is in such a state you might have to, but if your business is in a state where the collection of out of state sales tax is not required you don't have to.

    Michigan and Maryland are the only two that have really tried to push this issue, so we just stopped selling to Maryland. In Michigan the AG determined it is up to the buyer to pay the taxes in his state, not for the seller. I'm sure everyone who buys something online in Michigan runs out and files a tax report on it.

    We only collect taxes on online sales made within our state. That in itself is a pain because some municipalities want you to buy a business license or some such nonsense after you send them money the first time. State law only requires that we send them a check and specifically states that we only have to buy a license in the city in which we are incorporated OR in which we are located.
    EtherialOne, PAPA G and ChaZam like this.
  7. dhermesc

    dhermesc G&G Evangelist

    I work from a construction company in Kansas and we have to file sales tax returns for every county and city we have done business in (use tax returns). Last year I filed over 45 sales tax returns. If I can do it by myself I think Amazon can handle it.
    animalspooker and Rambo like this.
  8. Ten Man

    Ten Man G&G Evangelist

    Aren't we, as a nation, just a bit "over due" for a good old fashioned Tax Revolt?
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018 at 1:48 PM
  9. ChaZam

    ChaZam G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    In regards to Amazon for instance, I don't understand exactly what triggers a sales tax with them now. I live in Texas and Amazon has facilities in Texas; yet some of my Amazon purchases accrue sales taxes and some of my other Amazon purchases do not accrue sales taxes. Personally I'm a little bit on the fence about how I would feel if all internet sales accrued sales taxes. An example of how it drives my decisions now is that in many cases after checking a price at Primary Arms in Houston I end up buying it from PSA or Surplus Ammo & Arms because the 8.25% Texas sales tax makes it advantageous for me to do so. The higher price the item is the more likely I am to avoid buying it from a Texas source since that very well might add several dollars to the price versus just a few cents on a small item.

    So what do I think will happen though? I bet in due time they will put a interstate sales tax of some sort on all online sales...
    Ten Man likes this.
  10. Rambo

    Rambo G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    I agree. Throw your next Amazon package in to the Boston harbor.
  11. gsbuickman

    gsbuickman G&G Evangelist

    I think this is designed to screw up online sales so bad that it pushes a lot of people away from online cells and back into their local brick and mortar stores . There have been a number of items which I really wanted to purchase online that were well priced , but after adding them to my cart and seeing the outrageous sales tax on the items I said to hell with it and deleted them from my cart. Then I found the same or real similar items from a different state that may have been a little more expensive but were still cheaper than what the other ones were after the outrageous sales tax
  12. Cyrano

    Cyrano Resident Curmudgeon Forum Contributor

    New York
    This is why I seldom to never buy C&R pistols online. Let's take this week's J&G Sales C&R pistol, the Polish P-64 in 9x18 Mak, as an example. J&G has it for $230. Pretty good price for a nice little pocket pistol. Or is it?

    By NY state law, it must be shipped to a Class 1 FFL even though I have a Class 3 Curio & Relic FFL. Figure $50 to ship it. The local Class 1 FFL charges $40 to use his FFL as the reception point. Then, again by state law, he charges sales tax on the pistol as if he sold it to me himself. That works out to about $19.

    So now that bargain $230 pistol costs $339. All of a sudden, it's not a bargain any more.

    My C&R works great for purchasing longarms online. Pistols ... not so much. Of course, if you live in a state that allows pistols to be shipped direct to a C&R FFL, it's still a bargain. But New York State ain't one of those.
    gsbuickman likes this.
  13. gsbuickman

    gsbuickman G&G Evangelist

    ****, that sucks. I order ammo, Optics and other things online but I've never ordered firearms online. Just off the top of my head I thought it was C&R's that you could order online and have them shipped right to your house because they're like 100 years old or something like that ?.
  14. writerinmo

    writerinmo G&G Evangelist

    I ship to every state and probably hundreds of different counties and thousands of different cities. Unless someone comes out with a free accounting software that is constantly updated with the different sales taxes for every city in the USA, I wouldn't be capable of actually manufacturing anything since I'd spend all my time on the computer. Work in the shop for a two weeks then spend a week figuring out where and what I owed to whom...
  15. gandog56

    gandog56 G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    Yeah, I got a little pizzed of at Amazon because they started charging me sales tax for Alabama. I suddenly found myself buying more stuff on ebay.
    Dutch likes this.
  16. TACAV

    TACAV G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor


    Maybe (I don't know for sure, I'm just thinking out loud here) it can vary, because most products that Amazon sells are not their products and they also facilitate 3rd party sales. 3rd party could include used products or direct from the original manufacturer of the thing you are buying.

    Meaning in some cases Amazon is just acting as the one stop facilitator middleman for thousands of other companies that are based all over the country or elsewhere. I have used Amazon for a lot of things and sometimes when you place the order the product is coming straight from the Amazon depot/warehouse that is stocking some other company's product, and other times it's directing the order straight back to the original company and the product comes from the company's warehouse vs an Amazon depot. And depending on where those companies are located equates to whether you end up paying a tax or not.

    You can usually tell when it's going to be one or the other because it tells you on the product page whether it's being sold direct via Amazon or if the product is going through the original company. When this happens you also get invoices/ confirmation emails from the specific company of the item you bought vs the usual amazon ones.
    ChaZam likes this.
  17. Hmmm.. Why even though I know that they are absolutely not the same does the word "VAT" keep popping into my head as I read this thread?
  18. Cyrano

    Cyrano Resident Curmudgeon Forum Contributor

    New York
    That's the theory: Allow collectors to order firearms 50 years older or more to order out of their home state and have them delivered to the address of record on their Class 3 Curio & Relic licenses, because to obtain that license the individuals have been subjected to the same sort of background check as military officers before commissioning. They have been adjudged not to be dangerous or intending to buy enough guns to outfit a terrorist cell or the like by the FBI.

    However, particularly in the Peoples Democratic Republic states, the state gummint stirs into it. They don't have a problem with collectors having longarms shipped to their homes. They balk at having pistols shipped directly to collectors, though; state laws have been passed forbidding it here in New York, for instance. I can buy a C&R firearm over the counter out of state using my C&R license and take it home with me, but I can't have a C&R pistol shipped directly to my New York address by one of the big outfits like Southern Ohio Gun, Classic Firearms, or J&G Sales. Such is the wacky world of curio and relic collecting.
  19. runfiverun

    runfiverun G&G Evangelist

    on our [IDAHO] state income tax forms we are required to report any on-line purchases and pay in state sales tax.
    South Dakota needs to be implementing the same law and minding it's own business.

    by involving the Fed's they are just going to screw themselves and get their interest up.
    then a federal tax that overrides the state tax [by claiming/implementing some interstate commerce law] will be implemented.
    not only will they lose out, everybody will.
    Ten Man likes this.
  20. FN FAL

    FN FAL NOT a new member Forum Contributor

    This go around its collecting taxes,, next it will be needing to have a business license to do any sales in states, counties, cities, etc.
    There are roughly 35,000 cities and incorporated town area's in the US and 3000 counties. If I am a business in one of those cities or counties I need to have a license to operate, if the supremes rule that just by being able to mail order from an "entity" that gives them the same presence as a brick and mortar store all those municipal licensing bodies will be there holding out their hand again to collect business licensing fees.
    If that happens they have effectively killed off the internet and mail order businesses. The tax to kill business plan of todays politicians is insanity.
    I talked to a long time business owner just yesterday, he is calling it quits in a couple months when all their present work is finished. When they got done with the tax man this year and figured the hours they worked by what they got to keep when the government got their "fair" share him and his wife decided they had had enough and decided to close their business.
    Cyrano and Dutch like this.