Washington College of Law
     
Home Archive Volume 65 Volume 65, Issue 5 Beyond Quill And Congress: The Necessity Of Sales Tax Enforcement And The Invention Of A New Approach
Beyond Quill And Congress: The Necessity Of Sales Tax Enforcement And The Invention Of A New Approach

By Lila Disque & Helen Hecht | 65 Am. U. L. Rev. 1163 (2016)

The U.S. consumption tax—the sales and use tax—has been plagued by a seemingly intractable problem: it is built on an enforcement system that depends on seller-collection. But under U.S. Supreme Court precedent, states cannot require “remote” sellers (those without some kind of physical presence in the state) to collect and remit the tax. Consequently, states instead attempt to collect the tax from resident purchasers through self-reporting—a method that has proven to be much less effective. Congress has the power to grant states enforcement authority over remote sellers, but has long denied that assistance to the states. But what if the states had an alternative approach to enforcing the tax on remote purchases? And what if this approach could be implemented without the need for action by Congress or the Supreme Court? The “seeds” of that approach have already been planted.

Click here to view this Article