The Latest: Shares in online retailers fall after tax ruling

The Latest: Shares in online retailers fall after tax ruling
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that states can force online shoppers to pay sales tax (all times local):

3:30 p.m.

Shares in online retailers dropped, and large chains with more stores traded higher following the Supreme Court sales tax ruling.

Under the old rules, some companies did not collect sales tax on online purchases that were made in a state where the business did not have a physical presence, like a warehouse or office.

The state of South Dakota sued online retailer Overstock and home goods company Wayfair in its bid to get the rules changed.

Wayfair lost 1.4 percent to $114.58 and Overstock.com fell 7 percent to $36.15. Etsy slipped 1.6 percent to $43.49 while Amazon lost 1 percent to $1,732.07. Target gained 1.2 percent to $76.32 and Nordstrom added 1.9 percent to $52.83.

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2:45 p.m.

Online retailer Overstock says it is prepared to comply with the Supreme Court ruling, which allows states to require online retailers to collect sales tax from shoppers.

But the company says the decision will have “no appreciable impact” on its business.

The Salt Lake City-based company, as well as home goods seller Wayfair, was named in the South Dakota case that made its way to the Supreme Court. Overstock, which sells furniture, clothing and other goods, says the ruling could hurt “small business innovation on the internet.”

Shares of Overstock.com Inc., which have more than doubled in the last year, fell 7 percent to $36.15 on Thursday.

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2:20 p.m.

The manager of a Native American art store in South Dakota says he thinks the Supreme Court’s online sales tax decision will increase people’s desire to spend their money locally.

Dan Tribby, general manager of Prairie Edge in Rapid City, celebrated Thursday as a “historic day” after the high court overturned two decades-old Supreme Court decisions that have made it tougher for states to collect sales taxes for purchases online.

Tribby, the past president of the South Dakota Retailers Association, says the store has online sales and will be affected by the ruling.

Renee Scriver, owner of the Book Zealot in Watertown, South Dakota, has mixed emotions. The book store relies on internet sales to stay in business, and Scriver says she’s concerned about the logistics of complying with different tax jurisdictions across the country.

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12:20 p.m.

Home goods seller Wayfair says it doesn’t expect the Supreme Court ruling that states can force shoppers to pay sales tax on online purchases to have a “noticeable impact” on its business.

The company, which had been named in the South Dakota case that made its way to the Supreme Court, says it already collects sales tax on about 80 percent of its U.S. orders.

Boston-based Wayfair says it has been collecting sales tax as it has opened warehouses across the country to ship its sofas, rugs and other products.

Wayfair’s stock, which is up more than 50 percent in the last year, slipped 1 percent to $114.64 Thursday.

Besides its namesake site, Wayfair Inc. also owns the Joss & Main, AllModern and Birch Lane sites.

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12:05 p.m.

Thousands of small companies may have to start charging sales tax to their out-of-state customers after a Supreme Court ruling that states can force online shoppers to pay it.

It can also be a logistical headache, with an estimated 10,000 different tax jurisdictions. Small online retailers have several software options available to calculate and collect sales tax and submit it to state and local tax authorities, but it can be an added cost.

Dave “Lando” Landis says he’ll do what needs to be done. The owner of Rocker Rags, a New Mexico-based online seller of clothing with photos and logos of rock musicians. He says he’ll take care of it but it’s not a panic situation.

Some small retailers have worried that having to charge sales tax could drive away customers, or give an advantage to businesses in the five states that don’t have a state sales tax.

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Noon

Some shoppers may pay more after a Supreme Court ruling saying that states can force online consumers to pay sales tax.

That’s if the state they live in passes a law requiring the tax to be collected, says Joseph Bishop-Henchman, the executive vice president of the Tax Foundation. But he says some may pass laws quickly to collect sales tax from online retailers, others can take years and some states may choose to not collect the tax at all.

David Campbell, CEO of TaxCloud, one of the companies that manufactures tax compliance software, said unless Congress creates a uniform threshold at which small retailers would be exempt, each state will be free to set its own ceiling.

The ruling Thursday is a victory for states who argued they were losing out on billions of dollars each year under two decades-old Supreme Court decisions that affected online sales tax collection.

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11:35 a.m.

South Dakota’s Republican governor says businesses will compete on a level playing field because of a Supreme Court decision that allows states to make online shoppers pay sales tax.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard said Thursday that South Dakota has “long fought the battle to defend Main Street businesses.” The state successfully sued to overturn two decades-old Supreme Court decisions that have hamstrung online sales tax collection.

South Dakota filed a lawsuit against several online retailers in 2016 based on a state law requiring out-of-state sellers who surpass revenue or transaction thresholds to collect sales tax.

Department of Revenue Secretary Andy Gerlach says the state will offer guidance to out-of-state online retailers after reviewing the opinion.

The ruling is a victory for states who argued they were losing out on billions of dollars each year, including an estimated $50 million in South Dakota.

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11 a.m.

South Dakota’s attorney general says a Supreme Court ruling that states can force online shoppers to pay sales tax is a win for South Dakota and Main Street businesses across the country.

Attorney General Marty Jackley says businesses will now have tax fairness and a level playing field.

The ruling is a victory for states who argued they were losing out on billions of dollars each year under two decades-old Supreme Court decisions that affected online sales tax collection.

South Dakota filed a lawsuit against several remote retailers in 2016 based on a law passed that year that requires out-of-state sellers who exceed revenue or transaction thresholds to comply with state sales tax laws.

South Dakota has no income tax and depends heavily on sales taxes.

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10:45 a.m.

The National Retail Federation trade group has hailed the Supreme Court’s sales tax decision as a “major victory.”

CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement Thursday that the ruling clears the way for “a fair and level playing field where all retailers compete under the same sales tax rules” no matter whether they operate online, in stores or both.

Still, the group says federal legislation is necessary to spell out details on how sales tax collection will take place, rather than leaving it to each of the states to interpret the court’s decision.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association, another trade group, said the ruling allows retailers to compete “without government’s thumb on the scale” and called it “a win for all those who believe in free markets.”

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10:24 a.m.

The Supreme Court says states can force online shoppers to pay sales tax.

The 5-4 ruling Thursday is a win for states, who said they were losing out on billions of dollars annually under two decades-old Supreme Court decisions that impacted online sales tax collection.

The high court ruled Thursday to overturn those decisions. They had resulted in some companies not collecting sales tax on every online purchase. The cases the court overturned said that if a business was shipping a product to a state where it didn’t have a physical presence such as a warehouse or office, it didn’t have to collect the state’s sales tax. Customers were generally supposed to pay the tax to the state themselves if they don’t get charged it, but the vast majority didn’t.

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This story has been corrected to fix the time zone on the first two entries.

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