With over 10,000 different tax jurisdictions across the nation, the burden for small businesses would be crushing. This will create enormous costs for companies that have to navigate complex tax laws. Small sellers may need to pay accountants and lawyers to help them comply with these thousands of laws and may open themselves up to potential audits and other state regulations.
In June, the High Court issued a ruling in the case of Wayfair v. South Dakota, allowing states to require online retailers to collect sales tax--even in areas where they don't have a physical presence. It has been a month since the decision, and already many small businesses are considering their options for how to address, among other things, higher tax-compliance costs in a potentially reduced-sales environment.
And while large businesses, such as Amazon or Wayfair, may be able to easily absorb this cost, others would surely struggle to do so. "It's completely conceivable that the compliance costs alone could put people out of business," suggests Jesse Hathaway, a tax analyst with the conservative-leaning think tank Heartland Institute, based in Arlington Heights, Illinois.
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