Legislation clearing the way for states to collect sales tax on consumer internet sales -- long off limits -- is picking up steam with the support of Republicans in the Senate and conservative governors. On Thursday, Wyoming Republican Sen. Michael Enzi and Tennessee´s Lamar Alexander are joining Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin to unveil the "Marketplace Fairness Act" which would let states compel online and catalog merchants, no matter where they´re located, to collect sales tax. Their move follows demands from Republicans governors, struggling to balance budgets, that Washington end the practice of letting online retailers ignore collecting the
Comments: Are they capable of doing anything other than taxing us to death causing chaos?
It would be much easier to administer a Marketplace Fairness Act that eliminated sales taxes collected by merchants, no matter where they´re located. And it would likely stimulate the economy, to boot!
I find it hard to argue against the fairness level-playing-field issue. Suppose they could promise to lower existing rates to make the law revenue neutral. (Heh)
Collecting the tax may be a burden on Internet companies but it is also a burden on bricks and mortar companies in state.
As far as ´eliminating´ the sales tax - it is a fairly easy tax to collect, and usually taxes the ultimate users of state and local government service (aka Obama voters). So I would rather the states eliminate some other tax - like the income tax.
I don´t like it any more than anyone else, but if we want to migrate to a consumption tax, and if we want to eliminate "loopholes", then this might make sense. Internet retailing has its advantages, regardless of the sales tax issue, and is now well-established. (At the top of my list is ready availability of items not stocked locally and at lowest prices - at your door in a few days without burning all the gas running around town looking.) Level the playing field and let the marketplace sort out the rest.
Just how is the lowly web programmer supposed to know what tax rate to charge? Your provider assigns you a machine address, but machine addresses are not a reliable indicator of exact position. Even if it were, there are many thousands of different tax localities across the US. In addition to all that, because of tunnels and proxies, the machine address you think I have may indicate a general location that is thousands of miles away from me. If you say that I should pay tax according to the store location, that is also impossible. Stores may be spread across many servers spread throughout the US. You might use several in the process of your purchase, with one logging inventory, one displaying images, another providing bits of code, etc.
Exactly! There are not fifty state taxes! There are dozens, if not hundreds of locality sales tax surcharges. This is not being pushed by small mom and pops. This is being pushed by the Amazons, and the Walmarts, to crush their small competitors.
I support the concept. I don´t want local merchants run out of business because of special treatment for Internet sales. Some of us are local merchants. That said, I don´t want the federal government getting a cent of it.
OK, here is the problem, an company with server space in CO, FL, NY and HI processes orders from all fifty states. The payment is collected through a third party collection network and the companies Headquarters in Houston is debited the transaction amount.
The product is manufactured in China and shipped either to LA or Newark where it is warehoused until shipped. Each warehousing operation tracks product cost and an inventory costs are added and charged back to houston.
A customer in Iowa orders the product, due to server traffic, on the server in NY, which cannot fill the order because product is in LA, LA gets the rerouted order and ships to Iowa.
Although Houston is the HQ banking and accounting services are handled through a second company in India.
Iowa wants its sales tax, who is supposed to report to them, who sends the money, who audits which compny or site and since Iowa has no jurisdiction in Houston or India how do they enforce their demand?
Ordoes Iowa simply set up a large beurocracy to monitor all internet traffic within the state, determine which invole taxable transactions and then go after the buyer to provide proof of tyax paid.
How big a federal organization will be required to deal with the interstate issues? What recourse does the Iowa resident have if Houton doesn´t pay the tax and the Iowa dept of revenue is demanding it from the only one they have jurisdiction over? Can Iowa demand that USPS/FedEX/UPS not deliver packages from the seller within the state?
Agree, #11. Where I live, I can shop in three different taxing zones--and that´s within 20 miles of my home.
New York State has passed a law requiring that you report internet purchases for which you did not pay sales tax on your state income tax form, and pay the sales tax for your jurisdiction at that time. Since most internet purchases are via credit card, there´s a paper trail. I wouldn´t be surprised if they are examining that trail.
My state doesn´t have a sales tax, which is a transaction tax collected at the point of sale. Rather the state collects a Gross Receipts Tax, a levy assessed on the gross amount that a business takes in, i.e. an income tax. The rationale for this tax is that businesses should pay for the benefits that accrue by virtue of being able to operate in this wonderful state. A distinction WITH a difference.
An out-of-state retailer does not realize these benefits and thus should be exempt from the collection efforts of the local revenue collectors. That said, I don´t think the local money grubbing politicos see it quite that way.
Agree with #10, 11, et al. The states have sales taxes wnd within the states there are local sales tax overrides, sometimes hundreds of them. And the collections may have to be sent to different agencies within a state.
Without computers this internet task would be horrible, With them it is merely a needlessly complex burden.
Perhaps the states should make an agreement to establish one central collection office. . And agree to a formula about how to divide the taxes collected.
That would leave disributing the money to its localities up to the state.
Congress could change the law to forbid internet sales tax collections by localities but not by a state government.
That should greatly reduce the complexity for the internet sellers.
State compacts require the approval of Congress. But otherwise Washington need not be involved.
Government spending has become an addiction. The addicts care about nothing but their next fix. They will not allow anything to get in the way of a fix. Money, money, more money !! It will take an intervention with pitchforks and tar and feathers.
Mike Enzi is a liar. He and I had a personal exchange in which he claimed he never supported any such tax and never would. Of course, that was before he scrubbed his website with a link to the bill he had introduced, and it was an election year.
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