More online sales tax collection this holiday shopping season, but few expect it to dampen cyber sales
Welcome to the first holiday shopping season after the U.S. Supreme Court's Wayfair decision. That ruling last June OK'ed states' efforts to collect sales tax from companies even if they don't have a physical presence, aka nexus, in the locales.
Some states were champing at the bit and quickly enacted or tweaked laws mandating at least some sellers, generally those of larger size, start collecting from their customers and sending the tax cash to the appropriate offices.
Others are being more circumspect. Such restraint, note Tax Foundation analysts, is largely because they don't want to take any actions that would noticeably disturb e-commerce.
And the company that was at the forefront of the remote sales tax collection court battle with South Dakota officials apparently is taking it all in stride.
In fact, Wayfair.com doesn't expect its new tax collection tasks to dissuade shoppers.
Wayfair ready, taxes and all: The Boston-based seller of home decor and furnishing announced in a Nov. 1 press release that it was preparing for record Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.
That prediction comes after Wayfair's recent survey that found that the majority of Black Friday shoppers plan to shop exclusively online this year.
"Last year, Cyber Monday was one of the best overall revenue days in Wayfair history. This year, our goal is to go into Black Friday and Cyber Monday with significantly more products in our two-day shipping program," said Wayfair CEO Niraj Shah.
To accomplish that speedier delivery, the company announced completion of an additional 200,000 square feet of warehouse space in its Hebron, Kentucky, and Ogden, Utah, facilities. The company says the new operations should allow for a 500 percent increase in the number of products available through its two-day shipping program.
Other retail data agrees: Wayfair said its survey findings are consistent with data from the National Retail Federation (NRF) which projects cyber shopping will reach a new high this year.
More than half (51.8 percent) of consumers plan to shop online for gifts and other items this holiday season, according to the NRF, up from 46.7 percent last year. The NRF survey noted that the average person will complete about 38.8 percent of holiday shopping on retailers' and other companies' websites.
In addition, Shop.org, the retail trade association's digital division, also is forecasting online holiday sales will grow 12 percent to as much as $96 billion.
Not really a surprise: While more folks might grumble about added sales tax on online purchases thanks to the High Court's ruling, the tax trend was already heading that way.
Even before the Wayfair edict, more than 30 states already had some rules concerning online sales tax collection. They were compelled to act since their residents ignored the states' companion use taxes. So really, individuals tax negligence, either innocently or willfully, was our own online tax undoing.
And Amazon, one of the world's largest online retailers, has been collecting sales taxes in every state since April 1, 2017. It obviously hasn't hurt Jeff Bezos' bottom line.
Millions of shoppers have already resigned themselves to paying tax on their cyber purchases just like they do when they deign to get dressed and head to a brick and mortar store.
Let's face it. More of us every single day are committing to computer-based shopping.
It's just so darn easy. And many too often, when we do engage in real-life shopping, we find that what we want is not available from our local retailers.
Ease worth the tax price: So it seems that remote sales, for the most part, will survive sales tax collection.
As the graphic below from Statista shows, online shopping already is neck-and-neck with in-store buying. I know I'm doing my part in this regard.
No camping out in store parking lots or setting a way-too-early alarm for me this Black Friday. I've been making my holiday purchases, and actually my year-round shopping, online for years.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2018 will just continue my personal trend. As soon as I post this item, my computer attention will again turn to a few remaining personal items still on my to-buy Christmas list.
And all will be made while I'm still in pajamas sipping on another cup of coffee.
That convenience is a price, tax or otherwise, I'm quite willing to pay.
You also might find these items of interest:
- Maps show crazy U.S. quilt of state sales tax nexus laws
- What's your state's top combined state/local sales tax rate?
- Congress holds interstate sales tax hearing, but no post-Wayfair consensus