E-Commerce Ruling Generates Reaction

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(Image of Angie Raymond courtesy of Indiana University.) (Image of Angie Raymond courtesy of Indiana University.)
BLOOMINGTON -

A ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on taxing e-commerce is generating reaction throughout the state. In a 5-4 decision, the high court has opened the door for online retailers to charge consumers sales tax, even if the business is based in a different state than the buyer. Both Governor Eric Holcomb and the Indiana Chamber of Commerce hail the reversal of a previous ruling as a way to "level the playing field" for Hoosier businesses competing with out-of-state-headquartered companies.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Indiana University Kelley School of Business associate professor of business law and ethics Angie Raymond says the decision throws the online shopping world into "a period of confusion." She says overturning the existing, 26-year-old standard could signal that the Supreme Court is open to reconsideration of other laws created before the Digital Age. "It'll be interesting to see what other cases they take up as they start to recognize that some of these cases that were decided in a paper, brick-and-mortar-based world -- they just don't stand up today," Raymond said. "I think that's an interesting question going forward is: what will this mean in other areas of our life now that the Supreme Court seems open to realizing that we do almost (all of) our daily lives connected 100 percent."

Raymond says states, which argue they have been missing out for years on massive amounts of tax revenue, received the ruling they desired. Holcomb agrees and says leaders are taking a closer look at the implications. "With the incredible evolution of technologies and the growth of internet sales," he says, "this Supreme Court ruling will help level the playing field between our Hoosier-based companies that operate retail stores and out-of-state companies that sell products and services online in our state."

Indiana Chamber Vice President of Taxation and Public Finance Bill Waltz says:

For years, this situation has resulted in substantial loss of revenue to states, thus increasing the tax burden on those who do pay the taxes they owe. The Indiana Chamber has been a long-time advocate for online sales tax collection; it is one of the key goals in our Indiana Vision 2025 plan. We applaud state legislators who took the initiative in the 2017 Indiana General Assembly to prepare for this hoped-for decision. That legislation, which the Indiana Chamber strongly supported, has our state perfectly poised to fully implement an online sales tax law and trigger the tax collection.

Waltz further discussed the issue in April in a Perspectives piece for InsideINdianaBusiness.com. You can read the full Supreme Court decision in the South Dakota vs. Wayfair Inc. case by clicking here.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Indiana University Kelley School of Business associate professor of business law and ethics Angie Raymond says the decision throws the online shopping world into "a period of confusion."
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