On Wednesday, Montana Attorney General Tim Fox filed a brief before the U.S. Supreme Court to oppose the internet sales tax being levied by the State of South Dakota.

“The State of South Dakota recently passed a set of statutes imposing taxes on internet retailers from out of South Dakota requiring them to not only collect but also to pay sales taxes in South Dakota,” Fox said. “A number of internet retailers filed suit against the State of South Dakota, the South Dakota State Supreme Court ruled against the state saying that under Supreme Court precedent in a case called ‘Quill’, that South Dakota’s statues were a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause.”

Fox recalled how several years ago he had led a coalition of states with no sales taxes sending letters to the Congress encouraging them to vote against a piece of legislation that would have set up a nationwide internet sales tax.

“As you know, Montanans have been adamant over the years that they do not want sales taxes, and having to collect sales taxes from other states and municipalities, many of which can’t live within their means, is something that could be a tremendous financial burden, not to mention a tremendous regulatory burden to Montana small businesses who do sales over the internet. It would be an absolute nightmare for Montana businesses.

In the brief, Attorney General Fox demonstrated how Montana businesses could be affected by South Dakota’s law, even with a small amount of sales.

As an example, a person in South Dakota may, after searching for “huckleberry products” online, order a huckleberry lollipop for $1 from The Huckleberry Patch, a small business located in Hungry Horse, Montana. If this process is repeated 200 times the threshold would be met for $200 in sales. The Huckleberry Patch would then be required to collect and distribute the sales tax revenue generated by their South Dakota sales.’


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