Public Affairs Update

Public Affairs Update………………………………………………..…………..June 27, 2018

  • Supreme Court holds states can require online sellers to collect sales tax
  • If GSE Conservatorships End, What Then?
  • House Passes Water Infrastructure Bill
  • EPA Proposes Better Cost/Benefit Review
  • The Housing Market: Six Months After Tax Cuts
  • NAR Comments on the FHFA’s Proposal to Amend the Home Loan Banks’ Affordable Housing Programs
  • NAR Offers Feedback to CFPB
  • In Case You Missed It


Supreme Court holds states can require online sellers to collect sales tax

Today the Supreme Court announced its holding in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., a case on internet sales tax fairness – and their ruling is a win for NAR's position (and the states) that states should be able to require online sellers to collect/remit sales tax on purchases.  The Court held that the South Dakota law may stand, and that the "physical presence" requirement which previously controlled is out of date in an e-commerce era.  This overturns a 1992 holding that a physical presence is required (and also directed Congress to resolve the issue, which despite coming close a couple times it has not done).

NAR has been advocating for this position for many years in Congress, and joined two amicus briefs with a coalition of other real estate groups in support of the South Dakota law being challenged. 

NAR's position on this issue is that online retailers have an advantage over brick-and-mortar stores which must charge sales tax on purchases, causing consumers to shop online instead of in-store to save money (technically they are supposed to remit state sales tax on their taxes each year, but most do not).  This harms those traditional retailers – who are the clients/customers of many of our commercial members.  In addition, the states are losing billions of dollars in uncollected sales tax, which they sorely need.

A few notable quotes from today's holding, which you can read in full here:

  • "In effect, Quillhas come to serve as a judicially created tax shelter for businesses that decide to limit their physical presence and still sell their goods and services to the State's consumers…"
  • "Helping respondents' customers evade a lawful tax unfairly shifts to those consumers who buy from their competitors with a physical presence that satisfies Quill…an increased share of the taxes."
  • "The Complete Autotest simply asks whether the tax applies to an activity with a substantial nexus with the taxing State…Here, the nexus is clearly sufficient based on both the economic and virtual contacts…"

It should be noted that the upheld South Dakota law doesn't give the state carte blanche to charge sales taxes from every online retailer – it applies only to sellers that deliver more than $100K of goods or services into South Dakota, or engage in 200 or more separate transactions for the delivery of goods/services into the state per year. [Source: NAR Update 06-21-2018]

For more reading, here is a good article from the Wall Street Journal


If the GSE Conservatorships End, What Then?

In a report released by the Executive Office of the President, the administration recommended significant changes to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, including ending their conservatorship and reducing the role of the GSEs in the market. » READ MORE [Source: 06-22=2018]


House Passes Water Infrastructure Bill
A water infrastructure bill that ensures the viability of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' civil works programs has passed. Find out why NAR supports passage of this legislation. [Source: NAR Update 063-21-2018]


EPA Proposes Better Cost/Benefit Review
The EPA has released notice of a proposed rulemaking that sets the stage for Administrator Scott Pruitt to shift the balance in how the agency calculates costs and benefits of its rules. [Source: NAR Update 06-21-2018]


The Housing Market: Six Months After Tax Cuts

Here’s a snapshot of the impact of tax cuts on the housing market six months after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act became law. » READ MORE [Source: 06-21/2018]


NAR Comments on the FHFA's Proposal to Amend the Home Loan Banks' Affordable Housing Programs

On Friday, June 8th, NAR submitted a Comment Letter to the FHFA in response to the regulator’s request for input on proposed amendments to the Federal Home Loan Banks’ (FHLB) affordable housing programs. NAR’s letter focuses on three points: 1) To the extent that the proposed amendments to the AHPs reduce regulatory burden for banks making home loans to credit worthy borrowers, NAR supports 2) NAR applauds the proposed increase in the share of AHP funds designated for homeownership from 35 percent to 40 percent 3) Given the current housing shortage, the FHFA should consider making the construction of owner-occupied homes an additional priority for use of AHP funds. [Source: NAR Update 06-18/2018]


NAR Offers Feedback to CFPB

CFPB issued a series of Requests for Information (RFIs) on various agency practices that NAR has provided comments on in recent weeks. The goal of the RFIs is to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the Bureau to make necessary changes with the input of feedback from the public. NAR will continue submitting comments on the RFIs and encourage feedback from members wishing to weigh in on these important issues anonymously. For more on the CFPB’s RFI efforts, please visit this page on the CFPB website. NAR has submitted comments on various Bureau activities including:  

[Source: NAR Update 06-18-2018]


In Case You Missed It