Tax case could kill small-scale digital entrepreneurs. The way we communicate online is in major peril. Is the way we shop online now threatened, too?
The Supreme Court this week will hear a case concerning state sales tax and independent sellers who peddle goods on Amazon.com, eBay, Esty, and countless other online marketplaces. Right now, state authorities can’t make online merchants serve as state tax collectors unless the merchant has a physical presence in that state. But if the Court sides with South Dakota here, billions of dollars worth of merchandise could suddenly be subject to state sales tax.
“In the case, South Dakota is seeking to overturn a longtime precedent under which states can’t require retailers to collect sales taxes unless the companies have a physical presence in the state,” notes the Wall Street Journal.
The current tax rules—from the era of mail-order catalogs—helped fuel the rise of internet commerce and spurred