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Little Rock filed a "friend of the court" brief in an Internet sales-tax case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The brief, called an amicus curiae, spells out the hardship Little Rock has faced from a 1992 ruling preventing cities and states from collecting sales tax on residents' purchases from out-of-state companies.

Cities say they have been particularly affected by Internet sales by companies without a physical presence in the purchaser's state.

"Ironically, if the city had been able to collect the estimated sales tax revenues barred by the [1992 Supreme Court] decision, it could have paid for various public safety initiatives without the need for credit and interest payments," the brief, prepared by Little Rock City Attorney Tom Carpenter, said.

Carpenter didn't make any legal arguments in the brief, but instead used it to show the court the impact of the 1992 ruling on Little Rock.

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. et al., which is about the government's ability to collect sales tax on purchases made over the Internet.

In 2017, Amazon began voluntarily charging sales tax on some of its sales to Arkansas residents. The city got about $1 million from Amazon sales tax collection in 2017.

Since Amazon represents about 60 percent of the Internet sales market, Carpenter said Little Rock could collect "at least $1.4 million in additional sales tax revenues" each year if the city were able to collect the sales tax.

In the meantime, the city has had to look for other financing as its needs continue to grow.

Carpenter listed several short-term financing notes the city has had to take out to purchase fire and police vehicles and equipment.

Metro on 03/08/2018

Print Headline: LR files brief in Internet tax case


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