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Nexsen Pruet's Rick Reames on recent U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding state sales taxes and online retailers

Former Director of S.C. Department of Revenue offers insight on South Dakota v. Wayfair and the implications for South Carolina

June 22, 2018

In a highly anticipated decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that states can impose sales taxes on online purchases even if the business does not have a physical presence in the state. 

The Court's June 21, 2018 ruling on South Dakota v. Wayfair Inc., et al., 585 U.S. ___ (2018) reverses 26 years of precedent set by Quill Corp v. North Dakota, 504 U.S. 298, which barred states from taxing nonresident sellers. 

Rick Reames, Member and former South Carolina Department of Revenue Director, spoke with two South Carolina-based publications to offer insight on just two of the multiple ways the Wayfair decision could impact South Carolina.

South Carolina collects sales taxes from most online retailers; now it can get the rest. 

Excerpt from The Post and Courier:

South Carolina could pocket a new stream of revenue after the U.S. Supreme Court cleared a path for states to collect sales tax from online retailers, but e-commerce isn’t expected to produce a windfall for the state’s coffers.

The reason: South Carolina collects sales tax from most online retailers already.

"Rick Reames III, the former director of the S.C. Department of Revenue, said South Carolina was collecting taxes from 22 of the 25 biggest online retailers when he left his post last year."

Later in the article, regarding South Carolina lawmakers' desire to move forward with a bill that would require large e-commerce sellers to collect South Carolina sales tax:

"The state tax agency (DOR) might beat lawmakers to the punch. Reames, now an attorney in Columbia, said the Supreme Court’s decision 'opens the possibility of immediate action by state taxing agencies.'"

Read the full article from The Post and Courier here.

Latest US Supreme Court decision could hit SC wallets. Here's how.

Excerpt from The State:

South Carolinians soon could pay more to shop online after the U.S. Supreme Court reversed course Thursday, saying states can charge sales tax for online purchases.

The ruling is sure to elate the state's small retailers. However, it was not clear Thursday how quickly that change would occur and what its impact will be.

"'It remains to be seen what the exact fiscal impact of this (court) decision will be,' said Rick Reames, a former head of the state's Revenue Department. 'However, it's premature to expect large windfalls from this decision. South Carolina already collects (sales tax) on 22 of the top 25 e-retailers.'"

Later in the article:

"'To some extent, the marketplace already addressed this problem,' Reames added. 'The largest physical retailers are now also the largest online retailers.'"

Real the full article from The State here.

More about Rick
Former South Carolina Department of Revenue Director Rick Reames helps clients navigate complex tax, business and regulatory laws, and works with state leaders to achieve sound public policy. Reames was appointed Director of SCDOR by former Governor (now UN Ambassador) Nikki Haley in 2014, was unanimously confirmed by the SC Senate and served until January 3, 2017 before returning to Nexsen Pruet's Columbia office. Rick provides sophisticated state and local tax (SALT) advice and works on comprehensive tax planning, controversies and economic development incentives. You can view his full Nexsen Pruet profile here.

Rick plays a major role in Nexsen Pruet's State and Local Taxation (SALT) team. Led by Rick and two-time former S.C. Department of Revenue Director Burnie Maybank, the SALT team serves clients across the Carolinas and beyond, from Fortune 500 companies to small and mid-sized firms. The strength of the firm's SALT practice is in four areas: (1) State and Local Tax Controversy work; (2) economic development incentives; (3) legislative strategy; and (4) tax planning. You can learn more about Nexsen Pruet's Tax Law efforts here.

Nexsen Pruet is one of the largest law firms in the Carolinas, with more than 190 attorneys and offices in Columbia, Charleston, Greenville, Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach, S.C., as well as Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh, N.C. Founded in 1945, Nexsen Pruet provides a broad range of legal services to the business community and represents companies and other entities in local, state, national and international venues.