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The Retail Association of Maine recently came out in support of a South Dakota lawsuit filed against Boston-based online home goods retailer Wayfair and similar companies that asks the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit a 1992 court case allowing retailers to be exempt from collecting sales taxes on behalf of states in which they have "no physical presence." The association estimates that Maine loses more than $40 million in sales tax each year to online retailers that are exempt from collecting it under the 1992 ruling. It also says the exemption gives online retailers an unfair competitive advantage over Main Street brick-and-mortar retailers. But small-business owners who sell goods online say registering and keeping track of taxes for every state in which they make sales is too burdensome and would be impossible to manage. They also say consumers, ultimately, are responsible for reporting online tax-free purchases and paying an individual use tax that's equivalent to the sales tax rate.
Should online retailers continue to be exempt from collecting sales taxes on behalf of states in which they have "no physical presence"?
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