updated 03:58 pm EST, Mon December 2, 2013
Decision effectively upholds existing law
The US Supreme Court has declined to hear a legal challenge against New York's sales-tax law for online purchases, according to a Reuters report. Retailers Amazon and Overstock had asked the court to determine if the tax regulations violate the Constitution, however the decision effectively upholds the New York Court of Appeals' March ruling that sided with the state.
Attorneys representing Amazon and Overstock have argued that the Constutution's Commerce Clause shields retailers from being required to collect sales tax from residents of states in which the companies have not established a physical presence.
Amazon has fought separate battles in various states that have implemented similar tax-collection laws for online purchases. In a dispute with Texas, the company early last year agreed to begin collecting sales tax and pay $269 million for unpaid taxes between 2005 and 2009.
A Senate bill known as the Marketplace Fairness Act aims to simplify sales-tax collection for online sales, potentially resolving the discrepancy in tax rates between various states, cities and counties. Despite Amazon's efforts to block state-level tax collection, the company has voiced support for a nationwide framework that applies to online retailers of any size.
Amazon currently collects sales tax for items shipped to destinations in 16 states.