Overstock Files U.S. Supreme Court Brief in South Dakota v. Wayfair State Tax Case

SALT LAKE CITY, March 28, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Overstock.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:OSTK), together with fellow online retailers Wayfair Inc. and Newegg Inc., today filed a legal brief [link to U.S. Supreme Court docket page] with the United States Supreme Court in the case of South Dakota v. Wayfair Inc., et al. (Case No. 17-494). South Dakota is asking the Supreme Court to overturn the long-standing precedent of Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, 504 U.S. 298 (1992), a case which prevents a state from compelling an out-of-state company to collect sales tax, unless the company has a physical presence in the taxing state. 

Overstock and others know that overturning Quill would usher in a new era of ever-growing state powers—not only in cross-border tax, but also in cross-border regulation—all at the expense of consumers and interstate commerce generally. South Dakota is just one state, but South Dakota’s arguments seek to compel Internet vendors and other remote sellers to be exposed to the impulse and preferences of each of the nation’s 12,000 state and local taxing jurisdictions. 

Rather than overturn sound Supreme Court precedent, Overstock has long-advocated solutions honoring the Interstate Commerce Clause through Congressional enactment of appropriate sales tax legislation, balancing the interests of states, consumers, and interstate businesses, by providing for simpler and more uniform sales tax administration. Several viable initiatives are now working through Congress, including the Online Sales Simplification Act considered by Mr. Goodlatte (R-VA), the No Regulation Without Representation Act introduced by Mr. Sensenbrenner (R-WI), and the Remote Transactions Parity Act introduced by Ms. Noem (R-SD). 

In their brief, Overstock and other respondents demonstrate that South Dakota, in its effort to do away with Quill, is at odds with the real-world experience of both large and small online retailers, making the Internet a more complicated and expensive environment for businesses and consumers alike. 

“The South Dakota law is yet another short-sighted attempt to expand improperly local powers without due regard to national consequences,” said Jonathan Johnson, member of the Overstock board of directors.  “Pierre, South Dakota is as good a place as any in this country; however, it is not the place to formulate fair tax collection systems that take into account the national interests of interstate commerce.  At least, the Founders did not think so.  For good reason, under the Constitution, interstate commerce is one of the expressly enumerated powers of Congress; that’s why we urge the Supreme Court to affirm the Quill standard and rightly urge Congressional action on pending legislation.”

In their brief, the Overstock and the other respondents demonstrate that the current state sales tax system has become a crazy-quilt, involving thousands of different state and local sales tax jurisdictions, all with varying rates, rules, and administrative requirements. Every independent analysis, starting with the congressionally-authorized Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce in 2000 and concluding with a detailed study by the General Accountability Office (GAO) issued in December 2017, has underscored the severe difficulty, confusion and expense in compliance with the tangle of these inconsistent state and local sales tax laws.  Overstock and others argue: “the State [South Dakota] has not overcome a basic truth: state sales and use tax systems remain inordinately complex and burdensome during the Internet era, just as they were before it began.” 

Significantly, the 2017 GAO report also proves that state claims of “lost” tax revenue on Internet sales are grossly inflated – by as much as 300 percent – and that uncollected state sales tax is dramatically declining, due to the in-state physical presence of many large omni-channel retailers who sell both in stores and online.

Overstock believes overruling the Quill precedent will cause substantial economic disruption for companies seeking to reach a national market through the Internet, from startups and family-owned businesses to larger remote sellers. Consequently, Overstock urges the Supreme Court to reject the erroneous claims of the State and permit Congress to enact balanced federal legislation to address the remote sales tax issue

About Overstock.com

Overstock.com, Inc. Common Shares (NASDAQ:OSTK) / Series A Preferred (Medici Ventures’ tZERO platform: OSTKP) / Series B Preferred (OTCQX:OSTBP) is an online retailer based in Salt Lake City, Utah that sells a broad range of products at low prices, including furniture, décor, rugs, bedding, and home improvement. In addition to home goods, Overstock.com offers a variety of products including jewelry, electronics, apparel, and more, as well as a marketplace providing customers access to hundreds of thousands of products from third-party sellers. Additional stores include Pet Adoptions and Worldstock.com dedicated to selling artisan-crafted products from around the world. Forbes ranked Overstock in its list of the Top 100 Most Trustworthy Companies in 2014. Overstock regularly posts information about the company and other related matters under Investor Relations on its website, http://www.overstock.com.

O, Overstock.com, O.com, Club O, Main Street Revolution, and Worldstock are registered trademarks of Overstock.com, Inc. O.biz and Space Shift are also trademarks of Overstock.com, Inc. Other service marks, trademarks and trade names which may be referred to herein are the property of their respective owners.

This press release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Such forward-looking statements include all statements other than statements of historical fact. Additional information regarding factors that could materially affect results and the accuracy of the forward-looking statements contained herein may be found in the Company's Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2017, which was filed with the SEC on March 15, 2018, and any subsequent filings with the SEC.

SOURCE: Overstock.com, Inc.

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