The Supreme Court has a habit of throwing some curveballs when the yearly session wraps up in June. These kinds of rulings have touched on huge issues marriage equality and gerrymandering. This week, the highest court in the land handed down a decision that could affect small business owners and shoppers alike.
If you run an online marketplace at a site like Etsy, you've likely already heard about South Dakota v. Wayfair. The 5-4 decision came out this week in favor of letting states charge sales tax on retailers that don't physically do business in that state. The case didn't stem from something about microbusiness owners, however: It's meant to deal with huge companies moving large amounts of money, namely home goods retailers Wayfair, Overstock, and Newegg.
Whether this would mean an additional sales tax in a buyer's home state or a replacement sales tax isn't clear yet. That's because the Supreme Court isn't issuing an order to follow an existing law. In fact, argue critics, this is an issue that Congress should legislate.
Websites like eBay and Etsy are pressing buyers and sellers both to sign a petition calling for simplified tax laws regarding microbusinesses and online retail. Per Etsy, "[W]e're calling on our representatives to support new internet sales tax legislation that addresses the needs of microbusinesses ... and to reject proposals that hinder entrepreneurship." As of Friday evening, more than 9,800 people had signed. Whatever your thoughts on this week's ruling, this is definitely a matter to contact your representatives about if you feel strongly about it.