In a case that may be headed for the Supreme Court, a New York appeals court has ruled that out-of-state websites such as Amazon must charge state sales tax.
The case, combining two brought by Amazon and Overstock.com Inc, was decided by the New York State Court of Appeals by a vote of 4-1. “It’s unfortunate and the (U.S.) Supreme Court ought to look at this,” Overstock acting Chief Executive Jonathan Johnson told Reuters by phone. “We have states saying different things,” he said, citing a ruling by the Illinois Supreme Court that a similar tax was not permissible. The U.S. Supreme Court typically accepts cases where lower courts issue conflicting opinions. “The ruling by the New York Court of Appeals conflicts with both the U.S. Supreme Court’s precedents and with contrary decisions by other state courts that have looked at the same issue,” an Amazon spokesman said by email.
Amazon already charges sales tax in states where they have physical presence. Eight other states have passed laws similar to New York’s.