这项裁决可能对亚马逊、Etsy 和 eBay 等公司产生深远的影响。
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随着 昨日最高法院裁决, 电子商务公司对未来的关注和不确定性是可以理解的。5-4 的判决推翻了案件的1992先例 套筒 v. 北达科他州 当时只处理邮购业务, 但它成为电子商务行业的一个强有力的法律基石。它让没有强健的有形基础设施的公司在网络繁荣期间和之后通过免除销售税的购买而蓬勃发展, 只要卖方没有在客户居住的州内进行实际操作。现在, 根据法院的裁决, 即使零售商在该国没有实际存在, 各国也可以开始对互联网购买征收销售税。
一些零售商, 从亚马逊到 Etsy 到 Overstock.com, 可能会受到影响。这并不一定是因为那些公司一直在踢销售税, 但有些人让成千上万的第三方卖家这样做, 这主要归功于 套筒 v. 北达科他州.事实上亚马逊去年 已开始收集所有45个州的销售税 这需要法律, 可能有大量的工作要做, 以帮助其亚马逊市场卖家保持遵守。然而, 我们不知道这一负担是否会主要落在亚马逊身上, 或者是否将由卖家负责。
50% 以上的网站销售是通过第三方卖家, 其中一些使用亚马逊的实现, 但其他经营独立的小型到中型企业。像中国电子巨头安克这样的几家公司, 有数以千计的员工和国际足迹, 这表明这项裁决可能会改变亚马逊流行产品的价格, 以及像安克这样的公司如何在美国运营。(一位安克的发言人表示, 该公司对该裁决将如何影响其业务的置评为时过早。Etsy、eBay 和其他人都在类似的船上。 根据美国政府问责办, 在每年的销售税收入中, 有高达130亿美元的风险。
亚马逊没有回应置评请求, 也没有发表关于裁决的声明。但 Etsy 首席执行官乔希？ 在一份声明中说, "虽然今天的决定不是我们倡导的, 但最高法院确实承认了大型互联网零售商和我们平台上的创意企业家之间的重要区别."Etsy 关注的是, 它认为 "数以千计的州和地方销售税法律的重大复杂性", 并通过否决的羽毛笔决定, 最高法院已经把球在国会法院。"我们相信, 现在有一个呼吁国会采取行动, 以建立一个简单的, 公平的联邦解决方案, 为微型企业," 说。
eBay 呼应了这些情绪。"正如最高法院的裁决和整个口头辩论中所表示的, 小型企业的业务与大型零售商不同, 而针对它们的国家税收行动则提出了其他法律问题, 但这项决定未予处理,"eBay 在一份声明中写道。现在是国会介入并提供明确的税收规则, 有一个强有力的小企业免税, 帮助小企业利用互联网增长和创造本地就业机会的时候了。
对于在案例中特别提到的在线业务--新蛋网、积压和 Wayfair--该裁决遭到了更多的阻力, 并呼吁国会采取行动。Wayfair, 在给出的声明中, 的边缘表示, 它已经收集了约80% 的销售税, 并且 "长期支持一个立法解决方案, 它将为砖瓦和在线零售商建立一个公平的竞争领域"。
然而, 尽管这项决定 "不是创造这一公平竞争领域的理想场所", Wayfair 希望在这一问题上能更加明确。积压--如 Wayfair 和亚马逊市场, 让第三方公司在其网站上销售--同样如此。"除非国会做出回应, 否则法院的裁决可能会消除关键的创业机会, 甚至在他们摆脱发明者的领导之前," 积压董事会成员乔纳森？约翰逊 在一份声明中说.新蛋网没有回应置评请求。
At the heart of the matter is how the ruling will be clarified in further litigation and what exemptions there may be for small businesses now that the Supreme Court has bounced the decision back to the lower courts. Because the Supreme Court simply overruled the Quill decision and did not make constitutional the South Dakota law that initially raised the issue, the case may be litigated for years to come to figure out how to account for the over 10,000 state jurisdictions that govern sales tax across the country. That is, unless congressional legislation supersedes the state court decisions.
Notably, the South Dakota law that kicked off the debate put in a $100,000 annual sales threshold, or in the absence of that, a 200 in-state transaction limit. According to Berin Szóka, the president of nonprofit technology think tank TechFreedom, that’s a threshold “so low it would sweep in all but the very tiniest of online retailers.” Now, “litigation will begin immediately, state-by-state, over how small is too small,” he argued. “There is only one alternative to waiting years for the courts to resolve these questions: federal legislation,” he added, pointing out that “Congress is far more capable of resolving highly fact-dependent policy questions than the courts.”
A large part of the issue is not just that there are so many jurisdictions involved around the country that may make operating a small business that engages in interstate commerce exceedingly complicated. It’s also that, within those jurisdictions, certain products may be taxed differently depending on minute differences, like whether the product contains a certain ingredient. As Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in his dissenting opinion, items like deodorant with antiperspirant are taxed in Texas at a rate of 6.25 percent, while deodorant without antiperspirant is not taxed at all. And yarn sold to residents of New Jersey is exempt from sales tax so long as it is designated as yarn for sweaters and not another type of fabric-based product.
Even groups that were in favor of the ruling, like the nonpartisan research institute the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, are imploring Congress to act. “This ruling ensures that major online businesses cannot operate as virtual sales tax havens, allowing consumers to avoid paying their fair share of sales taxes and unfairly competing with other online and brick-and-mortar retailers,” wrote Daniel Castro, the vice president for the group. “The ruling is the right step forward for the digital economy. E-commerce has grown up.”
However, Castro added that “states have a history of enacting laws and regulations that discriminate against online businesses to boost local businesses.” He argues that Congress should “resist any attempts by states to place undue burdens on e-commerce,” so as to protect both small businesses and the consumers who would largely suffer from higher prices placed on products in the event of high-tax sales and burdensome compliance costs.
It’s too early to tell how exactly this will shake out across the country and for businesses as large and complex as Amazon, Etsy, eBay, and the many other product-specific sites modeled like those marketplaces. But it’s clear that, in paving the way for states to modernize their approaches to internet sales tax, grave consequences exist for both consumers and businesses in the absence of sensible legislation.
The Supreme Court, in its majority opinion, assumes software tools, similar to an existing one Amazon offers its Marketplace sellers, will step in to help simplify tax collection and the other cumbersome tasks that may arise as ripple effects of the ruling. But those tools don’t yet exist. In the meantime, everyone is left scratching their heads and looking to an increasingly gridlocked Congress for answers.