A two-year-old Illinois law that required all businesses to collect state sales tax on purchases made by Illinois residents – whether or not the merchant had a physical presence in the state – was invalidated by the Illinois Supreme Court October 18.
New legislation authorizing the states to collect sales tax from companies peddling their wares online breezed through the Senate on May 6 by a wide 69-27 margin. But the Marketplace Fairness Act is expected to face much tougher opposition in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
The federal government moved one step closer toward imposing state sales tax on online retail sellers when the Senate voted on April 22, 2013, to bring the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 to the floor for limited debate.
A court ruling last week that upholds a decision to force online retailers to collect New York State sales tax may force a Supreme Court battle or action by Congress to allow states to claim tax revenues they've lost to online purchases.
The Marketplace Fairness Act gives states the authority to enforce sales tax collection requirements on most retailers for online sales purchased by residents of the state, even if the retailers have no physical presence in that state.
The figures for holiday sales aren't in yet, but online retailers already have reason to celebrate: a proposal to tack onto a defense authorization bill an amendment that would impose sales tax on out-of-state sellers was booted at the last minute.