Internet Sales Tax Laws

NY Internet Sales Tax Challenged by Amazon, Overstock

The Web retailers say state officials pulled an unconstitutional fast one


Amazon and Overstock are duking it out with New York state in a court battle over the issue of collecting sales tax.

In a case being heard by the State of New York Court of Appeals, attorneys for both retailers claimed yesterday that a 2008 New York law requiring them to collect sales tax on online purchases is unconstitutional, as reported by Reuters.

A 1992 Supreme Court decision found that retailers can't be forced to collect sales tax on out-of-state purchases unless they have a physical presence in those states. But the New York law skirted that decision. The state concluded that New York-based entities that "directly or indirectly refer customers" to a retailer's Web site represent a sales presence in the state, requiring that taxes be collected.