RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — North Carolina is set to start collecting sales taxes on online purchases beginning on Nov. 1.
It turns out that a change in the minds of the U.S. Supreme Court has opened that tax door. For years, online shoppers have been able to buy items tax free from big internet companies.
That was because a 1992 ruling by the Supreme Court said sellers had to have a “substantial presence” in a state in order to pay sales taxes to that state.
Traditional brick-and-mortar stores argued that put them at a disadvantage.
The Supreme Court overturned that ruling in June, upholding a South Dakota law that required sellers to collect a sales tax if they did more than $100,000 in annual sales in that state, or conducted more than 200 transactions.
That opened the door for other states to do the same thing.
Now, just in time for holiday shopping to peak, North Carolina will begin requiring online sellers to collect sales taxes.
The N.C. Department of Revenue said “it will enforce an existing law regarding remote sales and require remote sellers to collect and remit the applicable sales and use taxes.”
As a result, online shoppers in North Carolina could end up paying two sales taxes: the state tax, plus any county sales taxes. The local taxes vary. Here is a resource for individual counties.
For example, the current state sales tax rate is 4.75 percent. Wake County has its own 2.5 percent sales tax, bringing the total tax to 7.25 percent for those buying online goods from a Wake County address.