Court makes major ruling on NY web sales

The Supreme Court has refused to consider throwing out New York State’s taxes on Internet purchases on websites like Amazon.com, a move that could change the way Internet commerce works.

The high court on Monday refused to hear appeals from Amazon.com LLC and Overstock.com Inc., in their fights against a state law that forces them to remit sales tax the same way in-state businesses do.

Web retailers generally have not had to charge sales taxes in states where they lack a store or some other physical presence. But New York and other states say that a retailer has a physical presence when it uses affiliates — people and businesses that refer customers to the retailer’s website and collect a commission on sales.

Amazon and Overstock both use affiliate programs.

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