North Dakota joins online sales tax fight

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North Dakota, along with 34 other states, joined South Dakota in a law suit that could force you to pay sales tax for purchases you make online.

The nationwide fight to make online retailers pay sales tax has its origins in this state going back about 25 years ago.

North Dakota is losing out on a lot of tax dollars due to online sales.

"We estimate now maybe around $40 million a year that we're losing because online retailers are not required to collect and remit online sales tax," said North Dakota Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger.

If they don't have a brick and mortar location in the state, retailers don't pay sales tax. That can be traced back to a 1992 Supreme Court case Quill v. North Dakota. Some say that decision needs to be revisited.

"In 1992 when that decision was rendered, there were not internet sales and now we've seen that the internet transactions have taken off," said North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.

Stenehjem says the state has joined South Dakota in trying to get the Supreme Court to revisit the issue. He says it’s a matter of fairness.

"A lot of the local brick and mortar stores in the states, certainly here in North Dakota are feeling it's really not fair to them they collect and then remit to the state," said Stenehjem.

Last week Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D, N.D., the tax commissioner who originally tried to collect from Quill, reiterated why she wanted the Supreme Court to take the case.

The legislature passed a law last session which requires online retailers to pay sales tax if they do over $100,000 in revenue or more than 200 transactions a year, if the quill decision is overturned.