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Gov. Ricketts says online retailers will be required to collect sales tax beginning January 1st

July 30, 2018

LINCOLN - Gov. Pete Ricketts says his administration is notifying Internet-based retailers the state will begin collecting sales tax from them beginning January first.

Nebraskans will soon be paying the state sales tax on most online purchases.

Ricketts says the Department of Revenue is reaching out to online companies.

The United States Supreme Court recently ruled states can require online retailers to collect their sales tax, even if they don’t have a “physical” presence in the state.

The Nebraska Department of Revenue sent out a news release this afternoon outlining how it would implement the new court ruling. The department will require Internet-based retailers to obtain a sales tax permit by January first of next year, then begin collecting and remitting the sales tax made on purchases from Nebraska retailers. The state will not attempt to collect the sales tax from online purchases made prior to January first.

The department says it will follow the guidelines used by the South Dakota law which the Supreme Court upheld; exempting companies with sales of $100,000 or less or which total fewer than 200 transactions each year in Nebraska.

Ricketts says the Department of Revenue is working to implement the new rules.

“Under the legislation in the past there was a Supreme Court precedent that said if you were a remote seller, you didn’t have to remit the sales tax,” Ricketts tells Nebraska Radio Network. “That precedent from the U.S. Supreme Court has changed. So, under Nebraska law, if they’re doing business here, they have to.”

Though the Department of Revenue has notified retailers of its change in policy, not everything has been settled, according to Ricketts.

“We’ll still have some court cases that have to resolve themselves, particularly in South Dakota, this August,” Ricketts says. “And so, there may be some things that we want to do to tighten up the legislation.”

Ricketts says he will not call a special session on the issue. The governor says any changes needed in state law can be handled next year. He sees no need for a special session.

“We don’t need a special session,” Ricketts says. “We’ve set the expectations. Retailers will be sending us the remittances January first and anything that we need to take care of can wait until next session.”

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