ABA’s E-Fairness Timeline: A Long and Winding Road to Success

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The announcement last month of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to rule in favor of South Dakota in the case of South Dakota v. Wayfair, Overstock, and Newegg represented a hard-fought victory to level the playing field for bricks-and-mortar stores competing against online retailers – one that spanned nearly 20 years.

E-fairness logoA new E-Fairness Timeline available on ABA’s Advocacy page shows the many ups and downs on the long fight to sales tax fairness in which independent booksellers played a leading role.

The U.S. Supreme Court decided in June by a vote of 5-4 to uphold a South Dakota law requiring remote retailers that transact $100,000 or more in annual sales or transact 200 or more sales in South Dakota to collect and remit sales tax to the state. This decision serves to overturn the physical presence requirement for state sales tax collection established by Quill v. North Dakota. The 1992 decision was made prior to the prominence of ecommerce and resulted in an unfair advantage for remote retailers like Amazon as well as lost revenue for states.

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling was a tremendous victory for independent booksellers and indie retailers nationwide, and it is a testament to the perseverance and commitment of independent booksellers, who began advocating on behalf of sales tax fairness almost two decades ago,” said Oren Teicher, ABA CEO. “Importantly, too, this is an outstanding collective triumph. Over the years, ABA has worked with many allies, including the regional trade associations, Main Street businesses nationwide, our fellow indie trade associations at the Advocates for Independent Business, Stacy Mitchell and her colleagues at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, the National Retail Federation, and literally hundreds of individual booksellers who made the victory in leveling the playing field possible.”