Brick-and-mortar retailers in the United States have been under enormous pressure due to having too many stores, high levels of debt on their balance sheets, and the rise of digital retailing. But, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) may be about to hand them a rare win, thanks to a case known as South Dakota v. Wayfair, 17-494.
The case being argued this week has to do with the treatment of sales tax, and relates to another court case — Quill Corp. v. North Dakota — that was argued before the Supreme Court in 1992. In Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, the Supreme Court ruled that a business must have a physical presence in a state for that state to require it to collect sales taxes, setting a crucial precedent for future retailers.
But, with more shopping moving online, many physical stores are struggling to remain viable, and e-tailers’ ability to generate sales in an outside state without collecting sales tax is taking a toll on local municipalities. Given the seismic impact of e-commerce on the retail industry and the economy, and heeding calls from traditional retailers and dozens of states, SCOTUS is now hearing arguments to determine whether the 26-year old Quill ruling is still relevant and may decide to overturn it . . .