Supreme Court won't hear Amazon case

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to wade into a dispute between Amazon and New York over sales tax collection.

Amazon and another large online retailer, Overstock, had challenged a New York law that forced the companies to collect sales taxes on purchases made from the state.

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Due to a 1992 Supreme Court decision, only companies with a physical location in a state are required to collect sales taxes from purchases made there.

Amazon currently collects sales taxes in 16 states, many of which fit that description — a number that is expected to grow as Amazon expands.

The online giant does not have a physical presence in New York. But a New York court ruled that Amazon’s work with affiliates in the state made the sales tax requirement legal.

Amazon has come out in favor of a federal law that would give states more leeway to collect sales taxes on out-of-state online purchases.

The Marketplace Fairness Act, which other Internet outfits like eBay oppose, is a priority for brick-and-mortar retailers. It passed the Senate this year, but remains stalled in the House.

In a statement, Amazon said Monday that the Supreme Court had already weighed in on the sales tax issue two decades ago.

“The Marketplace Fairness Act now pending before Congress would protect states’ rights to make their own revenue policy choices while allowing them to collect more than a fraction of the revenue that’s already owed,” Amazon said. 

Key supporters of the online sales tax bill – including top lawmakers and groups like the Retail Industry Leaders Association – also used the Supreme Court's decision to press for action. 

“This decision further illustrates why a national solution is needed to level the playing for local brick-and-mortar retailers and help them compete more effectively against out-of-state internet sellers,” Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said in a statement. "It’s time for the House of Representatives to stand up for Main Street businesses." 

This post was updated at 3:23 p.m.