The first New York meeting of McDermott’s Tax in the City® initiative in 2018 coincided with the June 21 issuance of the US Supreme Court’s (SCOTUS) highly anticipated Wayfair decision. Just before our meeting, SCOTUS issued its opinion determining that remote sellers that do not have a physical presence in a state can be required to collect sales tax on sales to customers in that state. McDermott SALT partner Diann Smith relayed the decision and its impact on online retailers to a captivated audience. Click here to read McDermott’s insight about the decision.
Yesterday, the South Dakota Supreme Court released its much-anticipated opinion in the Wayfair litigation, affirming a March 2017 trial court decision granting the remote retailer’s motion for summary judgment on the basis that the economic nexus law enacted in 2016 (SB 106) is unconstitutional and directly violates the US Supreme Court’s dormant Commerce Clause precedent in Quill Corp. v. North Dakota.
The South Dakota litigation remains at the front of the pack of a host of state court cases challenging similar state economic nexus laws across the United States. The expedited review (and decision) by the South Dakota Supreme Court here is significant, and puts the litigation well within the range of cases that would be decided by the end of the October 2017 Term (i.e., by July 2018), assuming cert is granted—which is by no means a guarantee. The state has 90 days to file a cert petition with the US Supreme Court, which can be extended upon request. Stay tuned, as this litigation is far from over and the sitting US Supreme Court will be tasked with deciding whether they will honor Justice Kennedy’s request to bring a case before the Court in DMA v. Brohl.
The full South Dakota Supreme Court opinion is available here.
This post is a follow-up to a previous post from April 21, 2016.
On March 22, 2016, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard signed into law Senate Bill 106, which requires any person making more than $100,000 of South Dakota sales or more than 200 separate South Dakota sales transactions to collect and remit sales tax. The requirement applies to sales made on or after May 1, 2016.
The law clearly challenges the physical presence requirement under Quill, and that’s precisely what the legislature intended. The law seeks to force a challenge to the physical presence rule as soon as possible and speed that challenge through the courts.
As we discussed in our earlier post, the big question in response to the legislation was whether taxpayers should register to collect tax. For those who did not register, an injunction is now in place barring enforcement of the provisions until the litigation is resolved.
Last night and this morning two different declaratory judgment suits were filed in the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court of South Dakota regarding S.B. 106’s constitutionality, and more may follow. As has already been reported in a few outlets, one of these cases is American Catalog Mailers Association and NetChoice v. Gerlach (the ACMA Suit). In ACMA, the plaintiffs are trade associations representing catalog marketers and e-commerce retailers. The complaint can be found here.
What has yet to be widely reported is the other suit. This suit (the State Suit) was filed by South Dakota. Letters sent by South Dakota indicated that identified retailers needed to register by April 25. Because the new law does not become effective until May 1, many observers thought that South Dakota might wait to file until after that date. However, the suits have already been filed.