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N.Y. ruling could change online sales tax laws

A recent New York court ruling that requires online retailers to collect state sales tax will not have an immediate impact in Massachusetts, but it could push Congress to change e-commerce laws so states can claim billions in tax revenues lost to online purchases.

The question of whether states can require e-tailers to collect sales tax is a long-running issue that has mostly been decided in favor of the online companies. Federal courts have consistently ruled that retailers must have a physical presence in a state — such as employees, offices, and warehouses — to be required to collect sales taxes. That has allowed online retailers to offer many customers tax-free shopping.

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