Scholastic Book Clubs, the company that for decades has sold books to school children in classrooms across Connecticut, must pay the state $3.2 million in uncollected sales taxes on those sales.
That’s the upshot of the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal this week to hear an appeal challenging a state court ruling that the book sales are taxable and that Scholastic Book Clubs owes sales taxes dating back to 2005.
The state had argued in the case that although it is based in Missouri, Scholastic Book Clubs is liable for in-state taxes because it uses Connecticut teachers as its local sales representatives. There are some 14,000 school teachers in Connecticut who sell books through Scholastic, the state argued.
Being exempt from sales taxes, the state had maintained, was also unfair to Connecticut retailers.
“This decision levels the playing field for Connecticut-based retailers who rightly collect and remit the sales tax,” said Kevin Sullivan, the commissioner of the Department of Revenue Services.
The case has broader implications for the state’s efforts to tax online sales and other goods ordered from companies based out of state, according to a Hartford Courant columnist.