The Supreme Court of the United States earlier today, declined to hear argument on two cases involving online retailers.1 In the cases of Overstock.com, Inc. v. NY Dept. of Taxation, et al. and Amazon.com LLC, et al. v. NY Dept. of Taxation, et al., the Court denied writs of certiorari without comment, effectively staying out of the dispute for now but leaving the status quo undisturbed. The New York Court of Appeals, the highest court in the state, had previously rejected arguments from the plaintiffs that New York is violating the US Constitution by requiring companies to collect sales tax from customers without having a physical presence in the state.
In 1992, the Supreme Court determined that physical presence is a requirement for establishing nexus between a company and a state for purposes of sales tax.2 The recent advent of state-level “Ecommerce laws” and the Federal Marketplace Fairness Act (currently held up in committee) has reignited the debate over physical presence as a requirement for nexus, as some states rush to collect hundreds of millions of dollars in sales tax revenue lost due to online sales.
1 Order List: 571 U.S. (December 2, 2013).
2 Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, 504 U.S. 298 (1992).
TECHNICAL INFORMATION CONTACT:
Jeremiah T. Lynch, Principal – Ryan