Online Shoppers Will Soon Have to Pay Sales Taxes — Here’s Why

Online shoppers across the country could be seeing higher prices at their favorite internet retailers in the next few months, thanks to the Supreme Court.

In a 5-4 decision, Supreme Court justices said online retailers would be required to pay state and local sales taxes.

Before now, retailers that sold their goods on the internet and shipped them nationwide didn’t have to charge you a sales tax unless they had a storefront in the state where the purchase was made. Now, big retailers that make more than $100,000 in annual sales, or make at least 200 transactions in a state, will be required to pay a sales tax.

That means while the price of the new TV or bike or laptop you were eyeing online might not change, you could end up paying the same price you would in stores once the sales tax is added.

In most cases, the sales taxes only add up to a few extra dollars for you, but for state and local governments, that can mean millions in extra tax revenue — and nationally, it’s billions of dollars.

When Can You Expect to Start Paying More?

The change won’t come overnight, but it won’t take much longer than that. According to The New York Times, some states think they will be ready to start collecting the sales taxes within the next 30 to 90 days.

The states where it will happen quickly are those that already have laws governing how the taxes will be collected on the books. Other states will first have to pass laws, and some may face additional court battles before companies start to charge you sales taxes.

In the end, the amount of time it takes before you start to see the online price hikes will depend on where you live. But whether it comes sooner or later, it’s coming eventually. So get ready.

Desiree Stennett (@desi_stennett) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. She writes about how government and court actions impact your wallet.