One of the biggest appeals of buying cameras, lenses and accessories online may no longer be around. As reported by the NY Times, the United States Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, has ruled states can now demand retailers to collect sales tax from online sales, regardless of the physical location of the business.

The ruling is the first time since 1992 that the Supreme Court has let states collect sales tax from retailers who don't have a physical presence within their borders.

'In Thursday’s ruling, the court effectively overturned a system that it created. In 1992, the court ruled in Quill Corporation v. North Dakota that the Constitution bars states from requiring businesses to collect sales tax unless they have a substantial connection to the state,' says the NY Times in its report. 'The Quill decision helped pave the way for the growth of online retail by letting companies sell nationwide without navigating the complex patchwork of state and local tax codes..

One of the best known instances of not having to pay sales tax on items in the photography world is B&H Photo. Based on the 1992 Supreme Court ruling, customers who live outside of the state of New York aren't required to pay sales tax on any gear purchased online at B&H. On a large-ticket item, such as Canon's $10,000 400mm F2.8 IS II lens, that saves a customer just over $887 dollars, based on New York's 8.875% sales tax rate.

If states are to follow through on putting in place this new ruling—the effects of which are immediate based on the Supreme Court's decision—the sales tax rate applied to purchases would vary from state to state, depending on where you're ordering from. It's worth noting four states don't charge sales tax, so this ruling shouldn't have any affect on purchases in Delaware, Montana, Oregon, and New Hampshire. Alaska is another state that doesn't charge sales tax, but Individual municipalities can choose to apply their own sales tax, up to 7.5 percent.

This ruling aside, 45 states, as well as the District of Columbia, apply what's called a 'use tax' to make up for lost sales tax from out-of-state purchases, be they online or in-person. So, legally, you should be claiming and paying the sales tax on any purchases you make online, unless you live in the states of Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, or Oregon.

Full disclosure: DPReview is an editorially-independent but wholly-owned subsidiary of Amazon.