Multi-State – Trending: Merchants Struggle With The (Un)Certainty Of eCommerce Sales Taxes

The only certainties in life, the saying goes, are death and taxes.

We’ll underscore the certainty of the latter — taxes — for eCommerce firms and sales taxes, especially.

Although taxes may be certain — just how much tax is due, and where, and perhaps even when, are all variables that are far from certain.

It’s no small matter as eCommerce sales are expected to be worth as much as $659 billion in the United States, alone, next year, and as 230 million consumers shop online across dedicated marketplaces and platforms that serve third-party sellers.

Merchants, of course, want maximum torque on the top line, and yet computing and collecting taxes can be a fragmented experience, rife with consequences if they unwittingly run afoul of domestic or international laws.

The U.S., in particular, has seen a shifting tax landscape in the past several months, in the wake of the June 2018 Supreme Court decision in the case known as South Dakota vs. Wayfair.

To summarize that decision, states can tax sales by companies that do not have a physical presence within the state. And yet, tax policy remains a bit of a patch quilt.

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by pymnts
august 30, 2019