Volume 46 (2018) / Issue 10
By now everyone knows about the US Supreme Court’s blockbuster decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair (US: Supreme Court 21 June 2018, No. 17-494, Wayfair v. South Dakota), which overruled decades of precedent to declare that the Constitution did not bar a US state from imposing obligations on remote sellers to collect tax on sales they made into the state, even if they had no physical presence there.
Wayfair was hailed in US tax-policy circles for laying to rest an erroneous decision that had led to significant competition distortions between online and retain stores. It likewise has been cited as confirmation of the correctness of the OECD’s and EU’s movements to modernize the nexus standard for corporate tax, including by introducing changes to the definition of a permanent establishment (PE) that would make it easier for states to tax companies engaged in digital activities with no physical presence. This article describes Wayfair and provides some cautions about what it means for the US states and the rest of the world, especially Europe.
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