As the Supreme Court prepares to hear oral arguments in South Dakota v. Wayfair today, Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) General Counsel and Retail Litigation Center (RLC) President Deborah White penned an op-ed in The Hill outlining why the case is so important to retailers.
"At issue is whether all retailers should have to comply with the same basic tax collection rules that every brick-and-mortar store follows every day," White writes.
"In 1967, when the Court first considered this issue, consumers received paper catalogs in their mailboxes in front of their houses every day. Consumers flipped thru the catalogs and ordered products by hand-writing on paper forms and mailing the forms back with a paper check."
"Over the past quarter century, network computing and e-commerce have dramatically changed the world in ways that were unforeseeable and unimaginable to the court a quarter century ago."
"Online-only retailers continue to methodically order their businesses to take advantage of the legal loophole in a way that shortchanges citizens by failing to collect the taxes that are owed and then trading off the illusory price advantage in a manner that undercuts local businesses — forcing many to the brink of extinction — thereby further eroding the local jobs and tax base."
"If the Supreme Court refuses to close its legal loophole, but instead allows online-only retailers to continue to use it to distort the marketplace, local businesses will continue to close their doors, and state and local elected officials will be faced with a choice between cuts to critical services or tax increases on everyone in order to subsidize out-of-state sellers. South Dakota vs. Wayfair gives the Court an opportunity to restore fairness and free market competition. The time has come for the U.S. Supreme Court to do just that."
Read the full op-ed here.
RILA is the trade association of the world's largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs, and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities, and distribution centers domestically and abroad.