Online shopping sales tax woes and the one-woman business

On June 21, 2018, the United State Supreme Court decided on SOUTH DAKOTA v. WAYFAIR, INC., ET AL in favor of the state of South Dakota. In essence, this ruling forces all businesses to collect and remit sales tax on their sales to every state that collects sales taxes on purchases, whether they have a physical presence in that state or not.

No big deal, you might think. It really won’t phase Wayfair, or Amazon, or Etsy, or any number of big e-commerce sites who have employees and entire departments dedicated to their website development.

Welcome to Martinsville, I’m Heather, and I’m the only person who works here.

Here in NY, there are 84 different sales tax rates that I have to keep track of and remit to the state every quarter. Luckily, the majority of my sales are to customers in either Niagara or Erie counties, so that makes it pretty easy for me. And online sales are only a tiny portion of what I sell, which has always been by design since I opened the store in 2013. I would much rather work face-to-face with my neighbors here in Western New York.

Unfortunately, for those of you who do not live in NY but like to buy what I create, I will only be shipping to states that do not charge sales tax at all – Delaware, Montana, Oregon, and New Hampshire. As the dust settles, and states realize how much of a burden they are placing on micro-businesses like mine, hopefully states will create exemptions so that we can continue to sell our products across all 50 states. Until that time, however, I am sorry but this is what I am forced to do.

xoxo, Heather

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