Eshoo, Goodlatte, Sensenbrenner Statement on SCOTUS Decision on Online Sales Tax Issue

June 22nd, 2018

Representative Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.), a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), and Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, today issued the following statement on the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc.  The Court ruled 5-4 to overturn the long-standing physical presence rule of Quill Corp. v. North Dakota.  With today’s decision the Court, for the first time, allows states to extend their authority beyond their borders to require out-of-state sellers to collect taxes on online sales.

“The Court’s reversal of Quill’s physical presence principle is a nightmare for American businesses and small online sellers, who will now have to comply with the different tax rates and rules of, and be subject to audits by, over 10,000 taxing jurisdictions across the U.S. in which they have no say at the ballot box or representation in state and local government.

“This decision will have broad ramifications well beyond the sales tax arena.  The physical presence rule the Court overturned today preserved the political accountability that is essential to deter complex compliance burdens for small businesses. Today’s decision will stifle online commerce, close businesses, and ultimately harm consumers.

“The dominant issues under debate in this case involved policy, not law. The briefs filed with the Court were filled with discussions of economics, the efficacy of software, trends in the retail industry, and myriad other non-legal questions. Congress is the appropriate institution to resolve these policy questions, not the Supreme Court.”


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