Filing Seeks Fairness in the Collection of Sales Tax by All Retailers

Wednesday, March 7, 2018 by Amy Downing

Retail, E-Fairness, Sales Tax, Politics

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The Retail Association of Maine issued the following statement regarding the filing of an amicus curiae brief with the United States Supreme Court in the case of Wayfair v. South Dakota by the Council of State Retail Associations of which Retail Association of Maine is a member. Specifically, the brief requests the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit their 1992 decision in Quill Corp. v. North Dakota absolving retailers with no physical presence from collecting state sales tax.


"It has been more than 25 years since the Quill decision and much has changed in our economy since 1992. The internet is no longer in its infancy and consumers are choosing online platforms as additional retail channels. Regardless of where a sale occurs, a sale is a sale and sales tax should be collected and remitted by both online-only and brick and mortar retailers," stated Curtis Picard, President and CEO of the Retail Association of Maine.


"Main Street brick and mortar retailers are the backbone of Maine's economy, They employ 83,000 Mainers, pay property and employment taxes and they are the first to support the local sports team or community group. It is estimated that Maine loses more than $40 million in sales tax each year to remote sales where sales tax is owed but not collected. These are revenues that could be used to lower everyone’s taxes, build roads, improve schools and invest in Maine."


"The Retail Association of Maine is pleased the United States Supreme Court is revisiting the Quill decision by agreeing to hear the Wayfair case. We urge the United States Supreme Court to overturn Quill and recognize the global economy in which we live. Overturning Quill will reinstate some equity into our economy rather than continuing to reward companies with an unfair advantage as they compete with Maine businesses while contributing nothing to Maine’s economy."


Retail Association of Maine Board Chair Tom Largay, Co-Owner of Old Port Card Works and Old Port Candy Company in Portland, ME stated, “As a small, independent main street retailer, I can tell you that my commitment is to my community, where I live and operate. I believe that the Supreme Court has an opportunity to level the playing field for me, and other retailers like me, who have been at a disadvantage compared to internet retailers who aren’t required to collect sales tax.” Mr. Largay expressed hope for the Supreme Court to reconsider its outdated decision.


The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on April 17, 2018. The brief can be found here.

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