How will online sales tax ruling affect consumers?

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State officials - including in SC, with its 6 percent sales tax - have argued they were losing out on millions - if not, in some cases, billions - of dollars in revenue a year under the Supreme Court's previous 1992 decision.

"The decision is good for MA and good for states across the country both because it could help to level the playing field between in-state retailers and online retailers and because it will provide revenue for important services in the state, like education and local aid", Berger said.

In recent years, some states have begun requiring retailers to charge sales tax. A bipartisan group of senators filed a brief in the case supporting South Dakota's effort to overturn the online sales tax ban, essentially acknowledging that the legislative body was too dysfunctional to fix the problem. But that money is likely to come out of the pockets of consumers.

"Prior to today, Quill required that, to force out-of-state retailers to collect tax on sales to residents of the state, the out-of-state retailer had to have a physical presence in the state", said Jon Barooshian, a partner at law firm Bowditch. In what has been called the "tax case of the millennium" by the National Conference of State Legislatures, South Dakota sued Wayfair, an online furniture retailer, because the shop omitted state sales tax from its orders. Some states that lack a broad sales tax, including New Hampshire, Montana and Washington, had submitted arguments to the court taking the opposite position.

Wayfair (W), Etsy (ETSY) and eBay (EBAY) all dipped in early trading Thursday immediately following the ruling.

However, on October 1, 2017, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, under Baker and working with Attorney General Maura Healey, issued a new regulation reinterpreting existing law.

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But sellers that only have a physical presence in a single state or a few states could avoid charging customers sales tax when they're shipping to addresses outside those states. States also argued against the previous statute, saying that it reduced their potential revenue from sales taxes as more consumers turn to digital shopping options.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, supported by most of the Court's conservatives and, somewhat surprisingly, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The Supreme Court decision is seen by many as a start to a solution for both issues. The company maintains that it has been collecting tax in all 45 states which require it. First, the Act applies a safe harbor to those who transact only limited business in South Dakota.

Roberts, in dissent, said e-commerce has exploded in the United States in part because there have been uniform rules.

South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R) estimated that his state alone would get an additional $50 million a year in new taxes from online purchases because of this ruling.

But note that the Court only says that the South Dakota law is OK for South Dakota, without defining what "OK" means for all the other states. "That should be a message to the states", Heitkamp told Reuters. Target Corp closed up 1 percent and Walmart Inc was up 0.7 percent. Congress could also intervene to set a nationwide standard. But you already do, to a certain extent.

Jeffrey LeSage, Americas vice chairman for tax at accounting firm KPMG, said the ruling "could turn out to be nearly as significant for American businesses as the recent rewrite of the USA federal tax code". "CCIA has serious concerns about the future implications for e-commerce if governments are empowered to tax those who reside beyond their borders". Legislative action has been stalled while the Supreme Court was deciding this case. This went against a 1967 Supreme Court ruling, but to be fair, that ruling was based on mail-order retailers, and the basis of the court's ruling was essentially "Look, it's not like people are buying everything through the mail!"

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