Trump wants to 'go after' Amazon over taxes, but Congress and the Supreme Court could settle the issue for him – CNBC


The issue is likely to be settled in court before Congress has a chance to do something about it.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court agreed to listen to arguments over internet sales taxes. The case sprang from a South Dakota law that would tax internet sales, as well as the state’s lawsuit against online retailers such as Wayfair and Overstock.com.

The Supreme Court ruled in 1992 that states couldn’t collect sales taxes gathered by mail-order catalog companies unless the firms had a physical presence in a state. South Dakota and several other states argue that things have changed in the era of Amazon.

The Supreme Court is expected to hear the arguments in April and could make a ruling by the end of June.

Earlier this month, the Trump administration, through Solicitor General Noel Francisco, formally backed up South Dakota in the case.

Citing online retailers’ “pervasive and continuous virtual presence” in states, Francisco argued, “the states have ample authority to require those retailers to collect state taxes owed by their customers.”

Trump’s gripes with Amazon and its founder and CEO Jeff Bezos go beyond sales tax. He has “wondered aloud” about whether his administration could target Amazon with an antitrust law, a source told Axios.

The president has also repeatedly railed against the Bezos-owned Washington Post for news coverage he deems unfair. He has called the newspaper the “Amazon Washington Post,” even though they are separate companies.



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