Mandan lawmaker welcomes Supreme Court case on Internet sales taxes

Jan 16, 2018

Sen. Dwight Cook (R-Mandan).
Credit ND Legislature

A Mandan legislator said he’s glad the US Supreme Court will decide whether states can collect sales taxes from Internet retailers.

In a case called “Quill versus North Dakota,” the Court ruled against states collecting taxes from those Internet businesses. In its decision, the Court called collecting that sales tax for each individaul state "burdensome." Now, a South Dakota case will allow the Court to take another look.

Sen. Dwight Cook (R-Mandan) chairs the Senate Finance and Tax Committee. He authored a bill so if the Supreme Court overturned “Quill,” North Dakota would be ready to start collecting the taxes.

"I believe that if 'Quill v. North Dakota' would have been before the Court today, instead of in 1992, the Supreme Court would have ruled the opposite," Cook said. "They would not have ruled that forcing out of state sellers to collect sales tax is a burden, because the technology exists today, where it is no longer a burden."

Cook said he had hoped Congress would take up the issue – and pass a bill that has been in its hoppers for some time now.

"But I'm tired of waiting for Congress," Cook said.

Mainstreet retailers say they have to collect the tax on their sales – and that gives the Internet firms an unfair advantage.