After the Supreme Court sent shares of Amazon and other e-commerce companies spiraling lower earlier today (before the dip was promptly bought). And of course, with the court’s ruling potentially dealing a multi-billion dollar blow to one of President Trump’s greatest rivals, the president took a few moments to gloat about the ruling in a tweet sent this afternoon.
Without naming Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos or the company directly, Trump celebrated the “Big Supreme Court win on internet sales tax – about time! Big victory for fairness and for our country. Great victory for consumers and retailers.”
Big Supreme Court win on internet sales tax – about time! Big victory for fairness and for our country. Great victory for consumers and retailers.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 21, 2018
To be sure, it’s unclear exactly how much the ruling could cost Amazon. And Congress still needs to act to put in place a law that would mandate sales-tax collection on e-commerce sales, according to CNBC.
Some speculate that the deal could even help Amazon by making life more difficult for its smaller e-commerce rivals, who don’t already have the compliance infrastructure set up to collect sales taxes. As for Amazon, the company already collects sales taxes for most of its “first-party” sales (i.e. sales of products made directly by Amazon). But sales by “third-party” merchants account for roughly half of the traffic on the Amazon’s platform. And if states start demanding more sales-tax collection, these merchants could find themselves in a difficult spot. Luckily for them, Amazon – which never passes up an opportunity to wring every last cent of profit from its “partners” – already operates a service whereby it charges merchants nearly 3% to handle sales-tax collection for them.
Thursday’s decision overturned a 1992 ruling that allowed online retailers to avoid sales tax collection responsibilities in states where they don’t have a physical presence.
We now await a response from Bezos. Who knows? Maybe, instead of campaigning on social media to launch Trump into space, he’ll reserve a spot on one of his Blue Origin rockets for Justice Anthony Kennedy.
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