The Supreme Court changed the landscape of online shopping Thursday, freeing state governments to compel retailers beyond their borders to collect sales-tax revenue from consumers and giving a boost to brick-and-mortar stores. With the boom in Internet commerce increasing exponentially, the court’s 5-to-4 decision could have an impact on millions of Americans almost immediately. For years, avoiding sales tax was a prime perk of online shopping.
States were the big winners at the Supreme Court. They previously were able to require only companies with a physical presence in their states to collect taxes, costing them an estimated $8 billion to $33 billion in uncollected taxes per year.