OBERLIN, Ohio, June 21, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a substantial victory for higher education and college stores, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled Thursday that states have the authority to require online retailers to collect sales taxes. This policy shift eliminates an unfair advantage that online-only retailers have had over brick-and-mortar retailers since the 1992 SCOTUS Quill decision.
"For nearly 20 years, NACS has maintained its position that sound public policy requires a tax system that does not unfairly favor one type of sale over another," said Richard Hershman, Vice President of Government Relations for NACS. "This decision overturns a critical disadvantage that brick-and-mortar retailers, such as college and K-12 stores, have faced for decades."
The South Dakota v. Wayfair ruling directly benefits education overall. As a consequence of the Quill decision, revenue loss from the lack of sales tax collection hampered investments in education at both state and local levels.
Prior to Thursday's decision, more than 40 states had voiced their desire for the removal of the sales tax exemptions allowed following Quill. For more than a decade, NACS has actively shared and supported that same position, contributing to an Amicus brief in 2017 that petitioned for fair tax policy for both online-only and brick-and-mortar retailers.
As NACS explained in the brief, more than 1,200 college stores have implemented price comparison tools on their own online sites, providing transparency to students on textbook purchases and making it easy for them to buy from the lowest-priced source, be it at a given bookstore or elsewhere. Yet bookstores still faced a drain from "showrooming," because an estimated one in four students used the sales staff to research and gather all of the books that they need, with no intention of purchasing them at the store. Because stores price match and offer an online engine permitting students to purchase from the lowest-priced source, the sales-tax differential was plainly driving this conduct. Effectively, the Quill advantage for out-of-state sellers meant campus stores were forced to pay the overhead for tax-advantaged out-of-state sellers, despite offering identical prices. South Dakota v. Wayfair eradicates that severe disadvantage, levels the playing field, and eliminates further harm from being done.
About The National Association of College Stores The National Association of College Stores (NACS), headquartered in Oberlin, Ohio, is the professional trade association of the campus store industry. NACS provides education and other resources that help its member stores support student success, the campus experience, and the academic missions of higher education institutions. The association represents all campus stores, which include nearly 4,000 campuses in the U.S. and Canada, and approximately 1,000 industry-related companies that supply course materials and other merchandise and services to campus stores.