Last week the Supreme Court announced its holding in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., a case on internet sales tax fairness – and their ruling is a win for NAR’s position that states should be able to require online sellers to collect/remit sales tax on purchases. The Court held that the South Dakota law may stand, and that the “physical presence” requirement which previously controlled is out of date in an e-commerce era. This overturns a 1992 holding that a physical presence is required (and also directed Congress to resolve the issue, which despite coming close a couple times it has not done).
NAR has been advocating for this position for many years in Congress, and joined two amicus briefs with a coalition of other real estate groups in support of the South Dakota law being challenged.
NAR’s position on this issue is that online retailers have an advantage over brick-and-mortar stores which must charge sales tax on purchases, causing consumers to shop online instead of in-store to save money (technically they are supposed to remit state sales tax on their taxes each year, but most do not). This harms those traditional retailers – who are the clients/customers of many of our commercial members. In addition, the states are losing billions of dollars in uncollected sales tax, which they sorely need.