Wyoming Senate May Approve Internet Sales Tax Wednesday
An internet sales tax bill could be approved by the Wyoming Senate as soon as Wednesday.
The measure has already passed the Wyoming House and two readings in the state Senate.
If House Bill 19 becomes law, the proposal would be expected to raise about $28 million for state and local governments at a time when Wyoming is facing major revenue challenges. But collecting the tax would probably require a court decision.
The U.S. Supreme court in a landmark 1992 case, Quill vs. North Dakota, ruled states cannot force the collection of sales taxes from companies that are not physically located within their borders.
However, South Dakota recently passed a law mandating the collection of sales taxes. That law is expected to test whether the Quill decision still stands.
Supporters of internet sales taxes point out the decision is 25 years old and was issued in the early days of the internet. Statements by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in 2015 have been interpreted by some supporters of internet sales taxes as saying the Quill decision is outdated.
They also argue the process of collecting internet sales taxes has been made much easier by advances in technology over the past quarter of a century.
The House vote in favor of the bill was 45-14 with one absent. Wyoming law already technically requires people buying merchandise over the internet to pay state sales taxes, but in practice, that law has not been enforced and is widely ignored.