The Salem News – September 24, 2018
Our view: Internet sales tax a done deal
Leave it to Congress to befoul a hard-won moment of clarity and fairness for Massachusetts retailers.
It was only a few months ago that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states should have the power to require that e-retailers tax transactions involving customers within their borders. Already, lawmakers in Washington, D.C., are exploring ways to render that decision meaningless. They should stop.
For retailers and small businesses everywhere — not just Massachusetts — it’s a matter of fundamental fairness. Why should online giants like Amazon be allowed to ignore the state sales tax while local brick-and-mortar operations cannot? Things are tough enough for small businesses in Bay State downtown’s and shopping malls without giving faceless conglomerates an extra edge.
Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy seemed to agree when he wrote for the majority in the 5-4 decision involving the online retailer Wayfair. The ruling overturned a 1992 precedent that essentially allowed the e-retailer to ignore the sales tax, which Kennedy said created “a judicially created tax shelter.”
The ruling itself was not especially controversial. The court agreed with the arguments of 41 states, two U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.
That should have been the end of it. Of course, it is not:
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