Should local businesses be ‘fearful’ after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling?


In a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to reverse a 26-year-old decision saying that all states can now require internet retailers to collect sales and use tax in states where they lack a physical presence.

While The Alabama Retail Association believes this to be a good thing saying in a press release on Thursday “This is a victory for Alabama’s main street retailers” some businesses do not agree.

“It is going to squash the entrepreneurship, I just cannot stress that enough,” Christy Keyon, who owns Bird and Bean Coffee House and Naomi and Olive Gift shop said. “Now everybody is going to be collecting sales tax whether you order from Amazon or anywhere online.”

Keyton says it’s not as easy and straightforward as it seems. 

“If you are a local business that also has an online presence and you have a sale in California or Georgia, you are going to have to invest in a software program or do a lot of bookkeeping because you are going to have to pay sales tax in every state that you ship too.”

The CEO of Jeffers said that the software required for this new law is not cheap.

“The average cost is about $250,000 to implement, which is more than what we profited in 2017,” Ruth Jeffers-Phillips said. 

Both women say they hope that the state representative will take action to have this law amended.

“I would really love for our government to get behind the idea of small business and when you do something like this it does not encourage small business,” Keyton said.

“It’s up to Congress to say ‘Hey, let’s give folks a grace period and simplify these rules’,” Jeffers-Philllips said. 

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