Tax Commissioner hoping for action on states collecting taxes on Internet sales

Jul 5, 2017

Credit ND Tax Dept.

North Dakota Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger said he hopes Congress or the courts will start allowing states to collect sales taxes from Internet retailers.

Some of the retailers do submit sales taxes to North Dakota. Under state law, if the retailer doesn’t do it, the customer is supposed to pay. But that law is widely ignored, and not enforced.

The question last came up in the “Quill v. North Dakota” case. That case went to the US Supreme Court.

"The decision said online companies don't have to collct and remit to a state (sales taxes) unless they have a physical presence there," Rauschenberger said in an interview. He said he hopes Congress or the courts will change that – and allow states to collect the taxes.

Rauschenberger said it's not a matter of revenue generation.

"It's more a fairness issue between local brick and mortar retal stores and on-line," Rauschenberger said. "We need to make sure there's a level playing field, so our local Main Street shops are on that same playing field."

Rauschenberger said the 2017 Legislature passed a bill to allow that collection if the Quill case is overturned.