Post User Polls

Is it fair to add an online shopping sales tax?

A movement is slowly building in Washington to banish one of the biggest perks of shopping online: not paying sales tax.

That's because the perk has also cost states as much as $23 billion in lost revenue by some estimates, and they want it back. Now a handful of state lawmakers are rallying support for a proposed Main Street Fairness Act, which would make it easier for
states to go after the money.

But is assessing sales tax for companies that have no physical location in the state you order from really fair? Let us know below.

By Cameron Smith  |  July 29, 2010; 12:40 PM ET  | Category:  National Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Do you plan on watching the new season of 'Jersey Shore'? | Next: Who should replace Simon Cowell on American Idol?

Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



NO one likes to pay taxes. But, why should brick and mortar stores continue to subsidize web based businesses ? At present the interstate commerce clause bans states from taxing internet businesses from taxing interstate commerce.

Posted by: peterroach | July 29, 2010 2:27 PM

Like any attempt to censor the internet, it will be seen as damage in the network and be routed around it.

Lawmakers don't know anything at all about technology do they?

Here, I'm selling something on the internet. Come and find me and take tax money. Oh wait, that IP address is not where I'm living, it's a proxy somewhere. In fact it's TOR.

The utter moronity, bogosity, and just plain imbecility of these find legal minds is staggering.

Posted by: jontomus | July 29, 2010 11:48 PM

In South Dakota, the Republican Governor (Mike Rounds) and GOP-ruled legislature raised the state sales tax on food seven years ago as part of an effort to enact an internet sales tax. They wanted to join with other states working towards that end, and needed to make our state's sales taxes uniform before they could proceed. Before then, the tax on food was 4%, while for most other goods it was 6%.

It's amazing how Republicans can get away with raising taxes when it suits them, but otherwise pound Democrats over the head with the "tax-and-spend/big government" epithet.

If I remember rightly, Gov. Rounds promised a roll-back of the food tax if and when an internet tax is in place. This is his last year in office. I have my doubts about that promise.

Posted by: michaelmelius | July 29, 2010 11:57 PM

Michaelmelius....gee and what is the unemployment rate in S. Dak? 4.5%?
Thank your Republican Gov. and legislature for that. Sounds like the Repubs are doing a good job of keeping your state running smoothly. Try living in CA.. a Rino lunatic Gov, and a Dem controlled legislature. Try a sales tax of 8.5% and even higher in some places.. eg. LA county 10.5%. Tax and Spend.. is the mantra here, more taxes, less service.

Posted by: secjet1 | July 30, 2010 12:32 AM

Don't some states already do this? You're supposed to file quarterly in certain states based on what you've bought online, I thought.

Posted by: dkp01 | July 30, 2010 12:36 AM

Fair?
What does fair have to do with it?
Who gets to decide what's fair?
W

Posted by: George-W | July 30, 2010 12:47 AM

Sorry guys, such a tax would be unconstitutional. Congress, not the States, has the power to regulate (i.e. tax) commerce between the States. If a company is in Wisconsin and I'm in Maryland and I buy something from them, it's interstate commerce. States can only collect taxes on intrastate commerce, i.e. within the state itself.

Don't like it? Tell Congress to either pass a bill that grants states the right to collect sales taxes from its producers, no matter where they sell to, or pass the FairTax, which establishes a federal sales tax and as such would be levied on online businesses.

Posted by: wickedpheonix | July 30, 2010 12:51 AM

A key reason Internet sales were not taxed, except in states where they had a physical presence, is that they didn't use the States resources, like water, roads, courts, police, etc. This is just another way for States to find someone else to tax, and who better than a company that doesn't even reside or have employees in the State.

In any event, it will be passed on to us as consumers.

Posted by: ssc2 | July 30, 2010 1:00 AM

Since on-line retailers do not cost the state for police, fire, etc. why should the state expect taxes?

In the state of residency, the resident pays all taxes due, is that not enough?

Greed by governments knows no shame!

Posted by: donx65 | July 30, 2010 1:06 AM

The question should be: Is it RIGHT to add an on-line shopping sales tax.

Well, it's certainly not right to have those states with the largest number of internet outlets getting gobs of tax money from all of us throughout the country while our own states, states that don't have those outlets receive virtually nothing. Of course we could ask those other states to share amicably (evil little chuckle), or we could ask the internet businesses to collect taxes from everyone, and then tell each state government who bought what, and then deliver the related tax to each state - varies from state to state (another evil little chuckle).

Or we could ask the federal government to collect a single percentage tax from each internet site based on all sales and then distribute that tax money on a basis that’s proportional to each state’s population. In other words, the fed would act as a sales tax distribution point for all states.

Of course, some would say, just set up a federal sales tax. Hmm. When I was brought up in California the sales tax was 4%; now it’s closer to 10%. Where I live now, the sales tax has gone up 50% since I moved here. Sales tax never stays the same and it never goes down.

In other words, the answer to your question is NO.

Posted by: kcooper35 | July 30, 2010 2:24 AM

If we continue to want the States to continue the services they offer their citizens during these financial hard times then they need to get revenue for someplace. We cannot continue to expect government's help (state and/or federal) and complain when taxes are raised.

C L Martin

Posted by: candacemartin48706 | July 30, 2010 2:43 AM

As has already been mentioned, taxing online sales across state lines is unconstitutional because only Congress can regulate interstate commerce. Also, the Constitution prohibits taxing exports from the States. Now, at the time the Constitution was written the states were not only considered independent of the Crown, but also from each other. Thus a shipment of goods from Virginia to Maryland was still considered an export.

Virginia tries to impose a "usage" tax on interstate sales. It's unenforceable and almost no one pays it, so the state spitefully sends notices to thousands of residents each year claiming underpayment of tax. I can't wait until this farce goes to court and VA gets taken behind the woodshed for, yet again, presuming to know better than the Constitution (no write-in for President, anyone? Oops, repealed that, never mind!).

One final thing. No one gets taxed on out of state purchases they make over the phone. So why should they get taxed for making the same purchases over the internet? The "usage" tax is just a shakedown with no credible basis in justice or reason. Businesses pay sales taxes because of the money states spend making their businesses possible (courts, infrastructure, etc.). When I order via phone or the internet, the only thing I use is the phone or internet - WHICH I ALREADY PAY TAXES FOR IN MY PHONE OR INTERNET BILL. THE STATE DOES NOT CONTRIBUTE JACK-ALL ELSE TO THE TRANSACTION, THEREFORE DOES NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO EXTORT MONEY!

Virginia! DC! Quit penalizing your residents because you can't compete against better businesses out of state!

Posted by: treetopflyer | July 30, 2010 2:51 AM

The only truly fair tax is a progressive tax based on income -- including company perks, capital gains, gifts, and estate inheritance. Failing that, it is still unfair to force customers of 'real' stores to carry the sales tax burden for customers of out-of-state mail order stores.

Taxes are not extortion: they are a necessary aspect of our advanced industrial economy. Times have changed since 1787. If you want to go back to the lifestyle of the founders, then try living somewhere with minimal infrastructure. Might I suggest Somalia?

Posted by: JPMinNC | July 30, 2010 3:56 AM

It costs a lot already just to connect to the Internet, we should not get hit for an additional bite.

Posted by: dotellen | July 30, 2010 5:30 AM

To say a state does not contribute at all to an e-transaction is somewhat rosy. At the very least, the state must maintain the roads that freighters use to transport your purchases, one by one, into your state and to your front door. This doesn't necessarily give states the right to collect taxes, but it's important to remember that the Internet/e-commerce doesn't operate in a vacuum.

Also, who's to say that an e-commerce tax would be tied to an IP-address? And the seller's IP-address at that (nevermind that e-businesses' IP-addresses do not impede the home state's ability to collect taxes)? As observed above, this is impractical if not absurd. Besides, an interstate tax presumably does not care so much about a seller's location as it does a buyer's location. And e-commerce, for the most part, is the buying and selling of physical goods to and from physical addresses.

Which does sort of beg the question, what exactly would an e-commerce tax, tax?

Posted by: PosterPerson | July 30, 2010 5:40 AM

One can only hope the anti-tax crowd is allowed to establish a country of their own with no taxes. Or perhaps they can find room for a colony in, say, Somalia.

Posted by: dane1 | July 30, 2010 5:48 AM

Here in Pennsylvania I am required to file a Use Tax report, which is a replacement for a sales tax on Internet purchases. If I buy on eBay from a Pa. resident, my accountant says I do not need to pay; but if the eBay seller (or any other source) is outside Pa., then I need to pay Use Tax on the purchase at the 6-percent rate of our sales tax. So the tax future is here, only most people ignore it.

Posted by: Carl1123 | July 30, 2010 6:57 AM

I found this thread very informative, helpful. It has resolved my concerns about avoiding state sales taxes on materials purchased elsewhere.

Thanks.

Posted by: mini2 | July 30, 2010 7:18 AM

The lack of an online sales tax gives online sellers an unfair advantage over local merchants. Why buy my books locally when I can order them online and save a few dollars in taxes (and if I buy enough get free shipping)? Less money spent in local stores means fewer jobs for local taxpaying residents.

While a tax discount may have been a worthy goal a decade ago as a way to entice consumers as the economy shifted to a new business model, internet shopping today is fairly mature and should be treated the same as a brick and mortar business. Taxes are an evil necessity.

Posted by: Mike8429 | July 30, 2010 7:22 AM

Shopping at these on-line retail sites is a mere convenience of not having to personally travel to the other state to buy the item you want.
You are actually saving yourself money by paying the tax. So just shut up and pay it.

Posted by: momof20yo | July 30, 2010 7:24 AM

People are taxed enough. We pay when we shop directly in the stores, whether locally or out of state. We pay taxes through the nose. Don't take this bone away from people who shop online. Tell the "powers that be" cut back on their double dipping and their outrageous pensions. There is so much waste and theft in local governments alone to make up the deficit. I'm sick of the government constantly picking my pocket. Every which way you turn, there is someone suggesting another tax or fee, to fill the states coffers. Where and when the he!! does it end???

Posted by: StockHR | July 30, 2010 7:40 AM

Sales tax is on the consumer, not the merchant, so it does not matter whether the merchant uses local services. These are paid for with property and local sales taxes, anyway. They would probably only charge people the state portion, since it would be too complex to collect the local portion.

The tax would be paid to the state where the item is shipped, not where the server is located. Most states with sales taxes do have a use tax. However, except for big ticket items that have to be registered, few people actually pay it.

Posted by: TraderB | July 30, 2010 7:53 AM

We won't have much of a civilized society without taxes, and letting online sales go tax free puts local business at a disadvantage. On-line merchants should collect local and state sales taxes based on the customers address. On-line merchants could easily develop an application to compute the tax, and it should be up to them to collect and pay the tax just like their brick and morter competitors.

Posted by: Keith3 | July 30, 2010 8:03 AM

As an on-line retailer, I would have to apply and get an a Sales Tax permit for every state and know the county that the buyer resides in, charge the appropriate tax (maybe even a local tax), and report and pay the amount collected monthly to 50 States rather than just one State (VA). The easiest way to collect online sales taxes is to have the buyer pay the sales tax of the state that the retailer has a presence in. For example, I’m located in VA so all buyers would pay VA sales tax.

If anyone should be charging sales taxes it should be the internet providers. They at least maintain the internet and provide access. What do the States provide to the internet to earn their sales tax?

Posted by: ahashburn | July 30, 2010 8:10 AM

Keith3
"On-line merchants could easily develop an application to compute the tax,..."

Oh sure, keep track of State, County, and City sales taxes for every State. How would an online merchant be made aware that a State, County, or City changed their sales tax?

Maybe you would prefer that all on-line merchants at the beginning of a new year give each state the customer's name and amount that they purchased online the year before to help the state collect their "Use Tax" from the buyer.

Posted by: ahashburn | July 30, 2010 8:18 AM

Taxes should only be collected in the state from which the goods are shipped. If I decide to drive to another state and buy goods there, I pay the local sales tax. No reason why online or catalog sales should be any different.

Posted by: mpolybius | July 30, 2010 8:25 AM

As the owner of a brick and mortar store (lighting fixtures) why should I be placed at a disadvantage over internet sites? Is it fair that I collect sales tax and the website that ships right down the street from me does not?

Posted by: chrisqbn | July 30, 2010 8:34 AM

People already pay sales tax for goods purchased online and delivered to an address. It seems to me that this is already in effect. If not then why have I been charged for sales tax for the past several years from dozens and dozens of online stores? It is a point that is beyond moot. This one has already been decided. People are already charged for sales tax when goods are shipped to their locality. Done! Next!

Posted by: theartistpoet | July 30, 2010 8:49 AM

I would prefer to pay state and local sales tax on online purchases. Only that is fair to local merchants. Besides, I benefit from the local schools, the local police and fire departments, streets, sewers, parks, etc. I don't object to the taxes that help pay for them. And those same local merchants are tax to contribute to the community too.

Posted by: tinyjab40 | July 30, 2010 8:51 AM

"""""""In any event, it will be passed on to us as consumers.
Posted by: ssc2""""""
*******************************************
I see all this who dis, who dat in this blog. All this who can, who gets, how come, etc.

ONLY 1 FACT THAT IS NEVER IN DISPUTE. ONE WAY OR ANOTHER THE ABOVE MENTIONED IS THE ONLY SURE THING IN THIS WORLD AND CAN BE APPLIED TO ANYTHING HAVING TO DO WITH WASHINGTON.
Thanks for the wisdom ssc2.

Posted by: tjmlrc | July 30, 2010 8:53 AM

Virginia has a consumer's use tax that consumers are supposed to pay for online transactions. It is the responsibility of the Virginia resident to pay, not an out-of-state business.

Posted by: bperk420 | July 30, 2010 9:35 AM

Here's the rub.

If Delahunt's Bill were to become law, there would be a reduction in internet sales.

States and localities will not curb spending, but take this "new money" and blow it out on union pay for "civil servants."

With the reduction of internet sales, there would be:

More traffic on the streets.

More accidents and deaths due to the increase in traffic.

Increase in "green-house gas" output.

Layoff's in the transportation, courier and delivery of packages, like Fed-Ex and UPS.

The US Postal Service would have to raise rates, again, due to declining revenue.

Mom & Pop internet shops would fold.

Delahunt and the rest of these clowns that support internet taxation of sales, will not be re-elected, if they keep pushing this.

Internet taxation? Brought to you by the "Party of Yes!" Their motto, "Money in the Tresury? Time to p155 it all away on 'feel-good' programs."

Posted by: Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness | July 30, 2010 9:37 AM

As long as online sellers lower their prices to cover the tax, it won't be a problem.

There will be still be plenty of greed to go around.

Posted by: RichardinPasadena | July 30, 2010 9:40 AM

Some states already have an end-user tax which is the same as the state sales tax. In states without a sales tax, an online tax would be less of a problem than in states with a high sales tax.

Posted by: Telemachus | July 30, 2010 9:42 AM

In most states, it's actually called Sales and USE tax. If a seller doesn't charge it as sales tax, we are obligated to declare it and pay it directly as a use tax.

Posted by: DGSPAMMAIL | July 30, 2010 9:49 AM

The wrong question is being asked. The correct question to ask is whether such a tax would be constitutional.

Posted by: richard27 | July 30, 2010 9:53 AM

We really are having the wrong conversation here. The ENTIRE system needs to be changed. Here's an idea:

http://www.apttax.com/

If we don't start thinking radically different, things will collapse. Everyone will be broke and just a little restless.

Posted by: tmonk1 | July 30, 2010 9:54 AM

The post from ahashburn (July 30, 2010 8:10 AM) is absolutely correct. The myriad of sales tax schemes in various states, counties, localities (40,000) with varying rates (from 0 on up) is confusing to even the in-state brick & mortar stores.
In the Richmond, Va area, some suburban localities have requested zip code changes from "Richmond" to their county names because businesses are sending "local sales tax" to the city in error.
Can you imagine what it would be like to have to maintain tax data and do filings for thousands of different government entities? An enormous cost (tax?) on companies.
If you are lucky enough to live close to a no-sales tax state, you could ship to a friend and pick it up on a visit. On some smaller, big-ticket items, it might even be cost effective to have the friend forward to to you.
Having "usage" taxes shifts the burden of tax tracking and reporting to the consumer. This coming from some "get the government out of my life" states.
If the sales taxes were applied to the state of the seller, companies would move to No Sales Tax states like New Hampshire, Oregon, Montana or (oh, my) Alaska. (they make up for it in income, real estate and other ways)

Posted by: pjohn2 | July 30, 2010 10:05 AM

Why should online businesses not collect state taxes like other businesses?

I live in VA and I have to pay taxes on online buys already but it should not be my responsibility to do so it should be the businesses I work with.

Posted by: flonzy1 | July 30, 2010 10:08 AM

Let's get one thing clear: taxes can be necessary and some taxes are less unfair than other taxes but there never was and never can be a truly fair tax. That's because a tax is by definition coercive -- equivalent in its effect to armed robbery but legal only because the government is the perpetrator.

The unfairness in the case at hand would not be exceptional. A fairness argument against it is weak. It is basically a claim of taxation without representation as the taxing authority would typically be that of another state than that of the buyer. Legally, this can be worked around by framing it as a tax on the vendor who is not legally required to pass the cost on to buyers. Vendors already have this option with respect to other state taxes they pay so there is really nothing different about it. The sale can also be logically viewed as a purchase from a vendor-state consortium at a jointly determined price. The customer can then be considered as simply being fairly asked decide whether to buy or not at that price. States don't like the vendor sales tax approach because, like the vendors themselves, they would be in competition to not be underpriced by other states -- hardly an objection from the consumer's point of view.

The more serious objection is actually difficulty of enforcement. Like "just war", a "just tax" has a practicality dimension and should not be imposed if collections cannot be done in a reasonably efficient and non-discriminatory manner.

Posted by: Adam_Smith | July 30, 2010 10:16 AM

I don't mind paying a use or sales tax for items purchased over the Internet, but I don't think that will level the playing field for brick-and-mortar businesses, because their costs will still be higher than those of online merchants. At that point, they will clamor for further subsidies, and I would definitely be opposed to those.

I enjoy shopping online because it is more convenient, because I can easily compare prices and read product reviews posted by other buyers, and, frankly, because service at brick-and-mortar businesses is not what it was.

I am concerned about my state losing the tax dollars it would otherwise collect, however. After all, sales taxes may be the only means of collecting a reasonable amount of tax dollars from the sizable percentage of Americans who either cheat on their income or payroll taxes or who are eligible for some sort of tax relief that compels the rest of us to make up the deficit.

Posted by: CMNC | July 30, 2010 10:19 AM

As others have said, states with sales taxes also have "use taxes" that purchasers are supposed to pay on mail-order/internet purchases that were not taxed by the selling state. The problem is that most people are either unaware of this obligation, or thumb their noses at the state because they know there is no way for the state to know what someone bought online.

Although I think Ahashburn was being sarcastic, IMO the idea of just reporting the total sales and letting each state collect from its residents is the best way to handle the issue. That way the merchants don't have to know each state's tax rules and actually make collections and payments. The knowledge that their purchases are being reported would encourage people to comply with their use tax obligations. Although I am not a lawyer, it seems to me that the Federal government under its interstate commerce powers could impose such a reporting requirement on all merchants engaged in interstate commerce.

As a practical matter, they probably would (and should) exempt merchants doing less than some annual level of business. That would avoid placing an undue burden on people getting rid of a few items on Ebay (although Ebay itself could be required to report), hobbyists selling a few hundred dollars of craft items a year, etc.

While the issue could largely be handled by reciprocal tax compacts between states, you know that states without sales taxes such as Delaware would never voluntarily participate. They would instead tout themselves as great locations for Internet merchants to set up shop.

Posted by: mstein | July 30, 2010 10:20 AM

An online sales tax is not fair for the same reason that sales taxe in general ar not fair: it taxes how much you spend not how much you own. People should be encouraged to spend, not retain their wealth, espcially now. The internet just shows how complicated a consumtion tax is. Get rid of them all and tax wealth, not people trying to buy their kids new clothes for school.

Posted by: mandrake | July 30, 2010 10:32 AM

I hate to say it because I would hate to have it done, but yes, I do think having sales tax on internet sales is fair. It gives a distinct advantage to internet retailers over brick and mortar retailers that they don't currently have to collect sales tax. I know I have avoided several hundred dollars in taxes each year because of this. Technically almost every state has a law that requires citizens to report products they buy but don't pay sales tax on and pay the sales (also called use) tax with their income taxes. I don't know anyone who does this. I did work for a company that bought a lot of bulk computers from Gateway which never charged sales tax and they would have to remit sales tax to VA every quarter. They got audited and smacked with several thousand dollars in fines one year for not doing this appropriately for several years before the audit.
So how would this work? One of two ways, the IRS requires sales revenue by state, that revenue gets reported to each state and for those that have a sales tax requirement, the states can go after those companies that haven't collected and remitted sales taxes. Second way, each company that does internet or catalog sales would be required to provide an accounting of calendar year sales to each customer where there was no sales tax collected and also provide that same accounting to the state where the customer resides. Then the customer would be responsible for remitting sales taxes to their state.

Posted by: Wiggs1 | July 30, 2010 10:39 AM

Why not have a central database that lists the sales tax to zipcodes? Local jurisdictions send their tax changes to the central database once a year, problem solved.

Posted by: steve1231 | July 30, 2010 10:45 AM

----TRACK TAX REQUIREMENTS BASED ON CREDIT CARD BILLING ADDRESS----


I don't like paying taxes. But I respect that paying taxes helps support state services. Services that I may not use directly, but that do contribute to the quality of life I enjoy.

However, I don't see why states couldn't tax internet sales right now. When you purchase online, over the phone, or even via direct mail, where is location of that purchase? If you are sitting at home, then you are purchasing that good/service in your home state. So why couldn't the states tax it? So you say, ah!, what if I'm on travel, and I'm buying something online from my vacation spot, and having it shipped to my house, what then? Good point. Or What if I'm buying something online, and then having it shipped elsewhere, say to my grandmother for Christmas?

How about companies charge sales tax based on the billing address of the Credit Card that you use? Granted, use cases will have to be determined for other transactions like paypal, perhaps the location of the bank you registered with. But the vast majority of online/phone order purchases should be taken care of by the Credit (or Debit) card billing address.

The whole concept of 'Where is the purchase' is somewhat similar to the concept of 'Can the Government eavesdrop/subpoena/have access to internet traffic being routed through whatever states have laws that allow it.'

Or you could have a National Sales Tax on Online Purchases.

Posted by: georgie12345 | July 30, 2010 10:52 AM

There is no reasonable way for smaller internet companies to be able to comply economically with all the paperwork that would be necessary to report for every county within every state. It would be unmanageable. We already pay sales tax to an internet company that has a storefront presence in the state in which we live. But to have that storefront means it is a rather large company who has the means and the manpower to handle all the paperwork associated with sales tax reporting.

So what this proposed legislation would do is put smaller companies out of business. In my opinion, doing so would only drive our country into a worse economic condition where more people would be out of work.

Posted by: Aquarius46 | July 30, 2010 10:57 AM

Of course there should be an Internet tax. After all, the Internet is just a series of tubes. Just ask Ted Stevens (R-AK):

" ... They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the Internet. And again, the Internet is not something that you just dump something on. It's not a big truck. It's a series of tubes. And if you don't understand, those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and it's going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material ..."

Posted by: glazer68 | July 30, 2010 10:58 AM

I already pay sales tax on 95% of my online orders. I usually deal with national/state chains -- been burned too many times by small internet retailers -- and they collect sales tax. The remaining 5% is usually for business purposes, and I pay sales/use tax to my state on those purchases. The risk for double-taxation is too high. It's not my fault that so many people are tax cheats so why should I have to pay extra?

Posted by: ccs53 | July 30, 2010 11:30 AM

While internet based businesses currently do not have to collect sales taxes (in most cases) they do have an extra cost vs. the brick and mortars : the internet businesses have to pay shipping charges.

Also, it was pointed out, internet businesses are much better for the environment. Instead of the customer driving his/her SUV from store to store, s/he selects the item on the web and has it shipping to the home. Yes, the transportation company's truck pollutes some, but much less than the b&m customer, since per customer the trip is just down the street from another customer's home.

Internet shopping should remain tax free to encourage more environmentally friendly shopping.

Posted by: observer31 | July 30, 2010 11:33 AM

PETERROACH wrote:

"NO one likes to pay taxes. But, why should brick and mortar stores continue to subsidize web based businesses ?"

---

If it is such a burden to operate a business in a brick and mortar structure that sales tax is the difference between profit and failure, perhaps they should just do business on the Internet?

Posted by: BurgundyNGold | July 30, 2010 11:34 AM

One of the most unfair taxes if not the most unfair tax is the sales tax. It hits everyone even those who can least afford it. Sales tax or value added tax, whatever you want to call it needs to be replaced. The internet businesses don't need another headache of paperwork that would be involved in having to deal with sales tax; and the poor should have some place they can go to get shoes and clothes for their kids without having to dish out another 8 to 10 percent or more on top of the price for the goods.

Posted by: triseven10 | July 30, 2010 11:41 AM

The Federal government regulates and taxes interstate commerce - the states have no right to do either.

Posted by: DoneWithDan | July 30, 2010 11:46 AM

Another thought. . .

If the government is thinking of changing the sales tax laws, then I think it would be a VERY good idea to get rid of ALL sales taxes in ALL states for food and clothing. These are the basics of life for everyone and to be charged every time you need to buy food is just plain ridiculous. I seem to recall a time 20-30 years ago in Massachusetts where these two items were exempt from sales tax. I think it should be the law of the land. Enough other taxes abound to pick up the slack. Just need to do a better job of policing the deadbeats who get around all taxes.

Posted by: Aquarius46 | July 30, 2010 11:58 AM

WE ALREADY PAY F'ING SALES TAX ON MANY INTERNET PURCHASES.

The incompetent conservative govt wants more money for their war machine!

$700 Billion a year for the pentagon... when is enough enough?

JUST SAY NO.

Posted by: kkrimmer | July 30, 2010 12:24 PM

No online sales tax. There are so many small online businesses that operate on a very slim profit margin, that charging sales tax would kill them. They already have increasing shipping costs to deal with. At a time when Washington is trying to help small businesses (or at least the Democrats are), charging online sales tax would be a killer for small businesses. And when you add them all up, they employ a lot of people. Doesn't seem to be the time to kill businesses and put more people out of work.

Posted by: marksalamon1 | July 30, 2010 12:29 PM

taxes, if directed to the right places is a good thing, but the way things currently work in america, the taxes are being used for evil things such as americas $700 billion military budget. america spends more on military than the entire world combined. thats a story youre not likely to see on the washington post. if the money was going to people who need them then taxes are justified. in america, if the money is not going to the military, they seem to be going into the pockets of wealthy coporate executives, and bnakers who have a lot more money than they need.

Posted by: 875875868768768686 | July 30, 2010 12:35 PM

Opponents have internet sales taxes conveniently forget that many on-line buyers go to bricks & mortar stores to check out what they are contemplating purchasing online. Furthermore, someone has to pay the cost of running the country. Not having an internet sales taxes shifts more and more of the infrastructure and similar costs onto the backs of the less tech-savvy and the poor. So let's forget about all sales taxes and go to a VAT.

Posted by: epsteindavids | July 30, 2010 12:47 PM

Gee, none of you cared when they passed the PACT act earlier this year. But all of a sudden online sales taxes are "unfair", "unconstitutional", blah, blah, blah, etc... Reminds me of something...

"They came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me and by that time no one was left to speak up." - Martin Niemöller

not quite the spirt of the quote, but still relevant.

Posted by: pete1013 | July 30, 2010 12:49 PM

There really is no justification for why state's SHOULDN'T be taxing all purchases made by their residents whether those residents take delivery of those purchases at a physical store or at their mailboxes. As others have pointed out, there are reasons why they CAN'T tax these purchases - namely the commerce clause.

That said the interstate tax system in this country is not the least bit fair so as far as I'm concerned, when states stop taxing the incomes of non-residents then they can start taxing their residents' online purchases from out of state businesses. These states need to stop looking at taxes as a money grab and start looking at what they're giving people for all these taxes. If someone doesn't live in your state they aren't getting much in return for their taxes. If an out of state business simply ships its products to people in your state then it isn't getting much in return for its taxes.

Posted by: bill3 | July 30, 2010 12:57 PM

It isn't true that you don't pay sales taxes when making purchases online.

Individuals shopping online from a store which is physically located in their state still pay sales taxes (in many states).

When purchasing from an establishment outside of the state, I don't believe that one should pay sales taxes.

Posted by: Dnordgre | July 30, 2010 1:04 PM

I had a brick and mortar book shop for 23 years, so I'm well aware of the damage that the internet has done to stores. But I'm still against taxing internet sales.

Why? Because of the amount of red tape involved. Forcing a small business to calculate and collect sales taxes from 51 different jurisdictions is the sort of scheme that only a madman would consider.

If a sales tax has to be levied on internet sales, let it be set at one nationwide rate, with the revenues distributed to the states by a computerized program, according to where the purchases were being sent to. That would level the playing field with the brick and mortar stores, but at least it wouldn't require the sort of mind-boggling paperwork on the retail level that collecting 51 different taxes would.

Posted by: andym108 | July 30, 2010 1:08 PM

US Constitution: Article 1, Section 9, Clause 5:

"No tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any state."


US Constitution: Article 1, Section 9, Clause 6:

"No preference shall be given by any regulation of commerce or revenue to the ports of one state over those of another: nor shall vessels bound to, or from, one state, be obliged to enter, clear or pay duties in another."

Posted by: mcgrupp10799 | July 30, 2010 1:13 PM

I understand states need revenue to provide services. Perhaps they could cut services. My internet business is based nowhere. Its in the ether of cyberspace. No money is mailed to my address. No products are mailed from my home. All correspondence is done in cyberspace. So exactly HOW does a state lay claim to my business income? If the state of Washington can tax my income, why can't France or China tax my business revenue also? The Internet is in their country as much as it is in the US. Saying that an internet business is subsides by brick & mortar businesses is foolish. I can go to a brick & mortar site. You can't visit my business unless you're on the internet. a sales tax on internet business has no basis and should not be allowed to pass.

Posted by: LiberallyConservative | July 30, 2010 1:16 PM

Instead of a sales tax, online orders often have a considerable shipping charge associated with them. Online purchases thus subsidize the post office and/or companies like Fedex and UPS, who then pay taxes on their profits. Don't worry, the government always gets its cut, no matter how.

The government should also realize that for many people who live in rural areas, a lot of what we buy online is simply not available locally (try finding specialty art paper in Hilo, Hawaii?), at ANY retailer.

Posted by: hawaii1 | July 30, 2010 1:17 PM

enough is enough, nickel and dimed everywhere you turn, 30% of my phone bill is tax, f***ing ridiculous

Posted by: goziner | July 30, 2010 1:36 PM

States attempting to tax retail sales conducted in interstate commerce, act to interfere with the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution and encroach upon the federal scheme of taxation.

Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 - The clause states that the United States Congress shall have power "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes". Courts and commentators have tended to discuss each of these three areas of commerce as a separate power granted to Congress. It is common to see the Commerce Clause referred to as "the Foreign Commerce Clause," "the Interstate Commerce Clause," and "the Indian Commerce Clause," each of which refers to a different application of the same sentence in the Constitution.

Posted by: connerabr | July 30, 2010 1:37 PM

Retail sales are subject to sales tax - it's fair,but not popular.

Sales tax is not borne by the retailer, it is collected from the buyer and passed along to the state. HOWEVER, many states now use the sales tax receipts to determine sales and tax due for income and businesses renewal taxes.

As others noted, small independent online retailers will "work around" by reducing the selling price and jacking up the [non taxable, allowable business expense] shipping & handling charges.

It all works out in the end. Though I sometimes wonder how many state view this additional tax revenue as an excuse to tax and spend rather than exercise prudence when building their budgets.

Posted by: asmith1 | July 30, 2010 1:39 PM

It is both unfair and unconstitutional. All of the States that complain about internet sales being untaxed are lying to you. Every one of those States has a use tax that applies to internet purchases if sales tax has not been collected. The problem is that the citizens of those States do not report the purchases and pay the use tax. I can see no reason that businesses that are not in those States should be forced to collect taxes for them. And neither does the Constitution. Perhaps those States should just spend a little less money? Heaven forbid!

Posted by: jdonner2 | July 30, 2010 1:41 PM

Mandrake your an idiot

Posted by: goziner | July 30, 2010 1:42 PM

Some of your purchases are already having tax added, depending on where you live, where the source is that you're buying from. But one thing not mentioned is that when you by on line, you are usually paying additional because you have to pay shipping. That's money that the source saves because they don't have to take it out of the warehouse until someone wants whatever it is. Death and taxes, inevitable.

Posted by: Georgetowner1 | July 30, 2010 1:47 PM

The tax system in the US is poor at best. Nobody like to pay taxes, but either don't understand economics (and apparently, neither do economists) or want to pay them. I think part of the problem is psychology. If we level the playing field, in other words, make it so it doesn't seem like some folks are getting a free ride or an unfair share, that is more than half the battle. I'm a homeowner and I give charitably. Therefore, I pay no almost no income taxes, and the schools take the rest (property taxes). We have a $10-15 trillion deficit. Two wars. People b****ing about jobs, most of which will never come back, because well, technology, innovation, and optimization mean they're just not necessary. $100's and $100s of billions of backlogged civil projects (bridges, WWTP, sewer, etc). So, lots of debt, a sector of the economy that needs re-education, crumbling infrastructure, an empire with troops spread thin, and a revenue system that is overly complicated and has unintended consequences. And a political system that's flawed (yes, the founding fathers failed in that regard, and they admitted it) other than creating a class of folks who sole need in life is to get re-elected. Having said all that, does it make sense for this huge loop-hole in the tax code?

Posted by: NovaMike | July 30, 2010 2:04 PM

If it isn't already taxed, some elected s.o.b. official will try to tax it. This will be just like Obamacare. People were overwhelmingly against it. But the government still rammed it down out throats. Anarchy now.

Posted by: state82 | July 30, 2010 2:04 PM

jontomus, connerabr and others display the complete ignorance and self-centered attitude of the typically ill-educated techie.

I've been on the internet since long before there was a Web or online shops. I've also built plenty of financial software. The facts are very clear that online stores should pay sales tax.

Brick & mortar stores pay taxes. They also have a lot of other overhead that online stored don't have. There are enough natural advantages to an online store in saving capital and operating expenses that the unnatural one of a tax break isn't needed.

Yet specious arguments continue, such as the interstate commerce diatribe by some folks. Guess what, when you go to a physical store, almost nothing is made in your State, and often not even in the country. Yet is it not a violation of the Constitution to charge people sales tax for delivering products and services in your State. It would be unconstitutional if the State had different tax rates, or tariffs, on things made in your State and outside them.

Then there are the funny whines about how it's so complex that online stores should just have to report sales, not collect. Give me a break! Terabyte databases are typical these days, a tax table is trivial and if the tax is required, such a table would be provided by a number of enterprising folks.

Finally, there's the whine about international companies. Another ignorant comment. International companies do business in the US all the time -- and they pay taxes here. Are you saying that int'l online companies are run by idiots and are incapable of creating the right tools to manage the way other company's do? Really...

You sell into a State, you pay the sales tax in that State. It doesn't matter if you sell in a physical store or online, pay the taxes. It's only fair.

Posted by: groucho42 | July 30, 2010 2:11 PM

Compared to internet sales, state and local taxes are a penalty for being in the community. It's great to say taxes are unfair, but if you think government needs some funding then hopefully your choice for funding (taxes) doesn't discriminate against local merchants. A one sided sales tax, none for internet, does just that. The internet merchant's delivery trucks go down the same roads paid for by local merchants. Regarding complications of computing the taxes - charge the local tax for where the product is delivered. International shippers have been able to figure it out for years, including automating it (see the job description for customs brokers). And I'm hard pressed to think how an internet delivery system that can do pinpoint delivery around the world in 24 hours can't look up a tax table.

Posted by: southVAHmptn | July 30, 2010 2:32 PM

In a brick and mortar store, sales taxes are PAID by the customer and COLLECTED by the merchant, who reports and hands over the money to the local/state gov't. So, work this into a tax table:

An online merchant, based out of California, makes a sale to a customer in Massachusetts. So who gets the taxes? Cali or Mass? Where was the sale made? which local gets the taxes? are taxes paid and collected to both states? What if the sale is made to a customer in Germany? Let's confuse this even further: Let's say the server where the online "store" is located is in Florida. Could this be considered "where" the transaction took place, so does FL now have claim to the taxes? One shade murkier, the merchandise is drop shipped from a warehouse in Nebraska. Now what? And so it the situation escalates. There are already laws in place regarding the taxes on interstate commerce, why should the internet be treated any differently? Let sleeping dogs lie, this is just stupid.

Local merchants are NOT penalized for having stores, they do not PAY the sales tax, they are tax collectors for the state. Customers pay. Taxed when earned, taxed when spent, taxed to death.

Posted by: pete1013 | July 30, 2010 2:57 PM

Lucky for me I have an address in all 3 jurisdictions of the DMV-area (one residential, 2 business). I'll have the items shipped to whichever jurisdiction charges the least tax. Perfectly legal, right, because the items would be taxed based on the jurisdiction to which they are shipped, right?

Posted by: thetan | July 30, 2010 3:00 PM

No one enjoys paying taxes but that is what helps States, Cities pay for public utilities and other projects. We all enjoy the benefits such as police, fire and emergencey services. The old adage of "Render unto Ceesare that which is his"
holds true. If we want out services we have to pay. Many online companies do not want to be bothered with this as they are enjoying sales without responsibility. To
ship to a state they would have to collect taxes and render them to the apporiate states. Their argument is that if they have to collect taxes and render them to the apporiage state/city it will cut into their sales and cause them to lose business since it would be cheaper to buy locally. The deal is, while no one like taxes they are a necessary evil if we want the beneift. Pay your debt and enjoy life.

Posted by: jmsmaxwell | July 30, 2010 3:09 PM

First as an intenet business it is totally impractical for me to collect sales tax for each purchase. In most cases, I have no idea what county or tax jurisdiction an individual lives in and it would impose a totally rediculous burden on the small internet businesses. Sales to customers in VA are taxed - anyone outside of VA is not. Should brick and mortar stores have to ask each customer what tax jurisdiction they are from and then collect the appropriate amount and pay that jurisdiction - kind of rediculous isn't it. So why do we think internet stores should.

Also brick and mortar stores are not disadvantaged by the lack of sales tax on internet sales. That is a completely bogus argument. They forget that internet customers must pay shipping costs which is often more than sales tax would be.

The only thing that might work would be a nationwide sales tax paid to one entity. Collecting and paying 400+ would be a full-time job for several people.

Posted by: dbmn1 | July 30, 2010 3:18 PM

I live in DC. I'm already paying tax when I shop online.

Posted by: Fabrisse | July 30, 2010 3:23 PM

This is not a trivial issue for internet businesses. The issue is NOT the collecting of the tax. The issue IS the filling out the various forms and sending payment to the 400+ different tax jurisdictions. Does anyone understand the magnitude of this. Just doing the quarterly sales tax filing for Virginia and 1 County usually takes about an hour. How long do you think it will take if I have to do it for 400+. Let's get realistic here. Its just not practical for a small business. I would be spending all my time filling out tax forms and not selling anything. Oh, if I didn't sell anything, I wouldn't have to worry about the taxes.

Posted by: dbmn1 | July 30, 2010 3:34 PM

DBMN1 is right on the money. There are only two ways this could work. One is the nationwide tax paid to the single entity. The other is that everyone pays the tax of where the company is located. That second way doesn't really work as well because of companies that have multiple locations, and it puts companies that are in low sales tax States (like Delaware) at a competitve advantage.

Mandating that small business know and understand the sales tax rates and filing tax reports and remiting taxes collected for all the various jurisdictions in this country is just a non-starter. Remember, its not just the 50 states. Many cities and counties have sales taxes too, and every business would need to know and process for each and every one of those.

Posted by: mencik | July 30, 2010 3:35 PM

Sales tax is supposed to pay for all the resources and infrastructure the state provides that benefits the retailer.

Online sellers don't get the advantages of the tax money, they shouldn't be collecting taxes for the state.

Posted by: Dive4Blood | July 30, 2010 3:42 PM

I did some online shopping early on. However, I now want my purchases, i.e. money, to support my local economy and community, not somewhere and someone else. Unless I just can't find it locally, which doesn't happen very often, I buy local. In addition, I find that the savings for most items on the web do not justify trashing my local merchants. Sorry Amazon.

Posted by: dkward | July 30, 2010 3:42 PM

The effort by states to collect interstate sales taxes for online sales is a sign that Government is sinking of its own weight.

Its a sign that Government is too big to succeed, just as amimals fighting over a water hole in a drought is a sign the herd is getting too big for the water supply.

A rational Government that was right sized would design a tax system where taxes are:

(1) reasonable in amount
(2) easy to collect

Alexander Hamilton, a proponent of biger and more centralized Government, recognizes these two principles in the Federalist Papers.

He understood Americans don't like taxes and what Americans don't like they eith evade or fight. Hamilton wished it was otherwise, because he desired a bigger Government, but he knew you had to develop a tax system that fits within that contraint.

For that reason, Hamilton advocated that the Federal Government would have the sole right to collect tariffs on foreign trade and to ban interstate tariffs. He reasoned it was easier ot collect tariffs at seaports than across thousands of miles of state boundaries. He furthr reasoned that collecting a small amount at the seaport would be less intrusive and less likely to get Americans angry enough to evade or fight. Hamilton also indicates that a low tax rate also discourages smuggling.

These Hamiltonian principles are the guiding light for good Government tax policies. Of course, Hamilton also knew that even proposing to tax income was both economically counter producive and suicidal for Government. Consequently, the Constitution did not permit an income tax.

Governments that violate these principles do so at their peril.

The reason Government at all levels is dangerously violating these Hamiltonian tax principles established by a leading proponent of bigger Governmemt is that Government has grown so big it is forced to enact counter productive taxes that endanger both the effectiveness of tax collection and Government's relationship with citizens.

Myopic politicians pursue schemes like interstate taxation to preserve poltical programs. Statesmen, like this country's Founders, knew they had to devise a tax system that lived within the principles the People would tolerate.

We could use more Statesmen who take a long term view of building a healthy relationship between citizens and Government and fewer politicians focused on spending programs that result in Government losing the consent of the Governed.

Posted by: jfv123 | July 30, 2010 3:55 PM

It seems to me that if sales taxes are added to shipping charges on balance I would think it would cause online sales to decrease thus affecting the economy in terms of employment for production. Convenience of online shopping is always balanced against cost of the product at a local merchant.

Posted by: wfain2 | July 30, 2010 4:04 PM

I pay DC Consumer use tax every year--6% on internet purchases shipped to us, also taxes on dry cleaning and other services. It adds up to around $200/year. I exclude shipping costs as well as the cost of items shipped directly from an out-of-district seller to an out-of-district address.

Compliance with this tax is very low, I am certain. Maybe as low as the compliance with the bicycle-registering and dog-licensing requirements here in the District.

Posted by: gardyloo | July 30, 2010 4:06 PM

tax one ,tax em all . it's not fair for one format ,brick and mortar ,to subsidize the other . Online producers have many built in money saving options not available to storefront merchants ,namely lower rent . many brick and mortars also do mail orders and their customers pay shipping also .
You don't want b&m to disappear.

Posted by: tornadofood | July 30, 2010 5:10 PM

It seems impractical to tax online sales, especially if the tax is being enforced by the purchaser's state. The producer didn't use the resources (police, roads, courts, etc.) of the resident's state. If anything, the purchaser should pay the tax of the state where the producer resides. If I'm in Ohio and I buy something from California, I should pay California's tax, not Ohio's.

But really I don't think I should pay any tax for online purchases.

Posted by: jlm101514 | July 30, 2010 5:37 PM

When will Dems realize that businesses don't pay taxes, they collect them from their customers. A tax on business is a tax on us.

I can't believe some on here are saying that internet places "subsidize" brick and mortar businesses. Only a liberal mindset thinks NOT being taxed is somehow subsidizing. Shouldn't you be asking why are we taxing in the first place, and what are we really getting for it?

Posted by: dnara | July 30, 2010 5:50 PM

Since when did fairness ever factor in? Is it fair that wealthy people, via convenient loopholes, can pay no income tax or extremely low taxes while middle class Americans pay much more on a percentage basis? Is it fair to tax Americans and then let the government squandor it -- lose it, can't account for it. Is it fair that American taxpayers bail out failing banks that turn around give bonuses to the same people who put systems in place that led to the failure of those banks? Is it fair that American taxpayers pay for government employees'health insurance and pensions which they themselves will not receive? Fairness is totally irrlevant. With all that said, yes, internet sales should be taxed. It's not fair to those businesses who have physical locations. Companies lose business to those internet retailers that don't charge taxes. Is that fair? Taxing internet retailers makes it more fair.

Posted by: t1123 | July 30, 2010 5:52 PM

I've paid sales tax in WA state plenty of times buying via the web.

Posted by: jerryox | July 30, 2010 6:15 PM

If the District Government was allowed to do all it wanted it would be a Socialist State. Gun control, tax everything you can, ban everything that the do gooders want to ban. The District Government could not run a popcorn stand profitably.

Posted by: bobbo2 | July 30, 2010 6:26 PM


Even in the past, if you bought something from out of state, via postal service, FedEx, etc., unless the seller had what we now call a brick and mortar store in the state in which you live, you didn't have to pay sales tax.

However, in most states you are supposed to declare the item and pay a "use" tax which is why you will see the term "sales and use tax."

I don't think that most people, unless they work in accounting or governmental finance, have even an inkling of the use tax.


Posted by: mortified469 | July 30, 2010 7:19 PM

Yes, it is fair. Nobody likes more taxes and for heavy online users like me, it will hurt. But in terms of fairness, there is no reason why online sales should not be taxed just like in-store sales. Nobody asked if taxes are fair in general; that's a whole other discussion.

Posted by: bestdad87 | July 30, 2010 7:58 PM

Only a fool thinks there are no taxes for shopping online. Every state that has sales tax has use tax. Use tax statutes say that any "in state" purchaser who obtains otherwise taxable goods outside of the state and brings them into the state must pay use taxes. Use taxes are functionally equivalent (percentage-wise) to sales tax. If you do not pay use tax on consumer purchases, you are evading taxes which is illegal and comes with harsh penalties. So, do not be confused; there are sales taxes with online purchases.
What they want to do in Washington is make online retailers collect 50 different sales (one for each state), have the e-retailers keep books for each state, and send those taxes collected in every month, quarter, year as the state deems necessary. Even for large businesses this will be a nightmare of bookkeeping, driving many good businesses out of business and significantly increasing the cost of business so as to destroy the economy of the Internet. That $0.99 online MP3 will likely cost $2.99 plus tax.
This is another example ineptness and lack of vision inherent in the two majorly inept political parties.
For all tax issues, there is only one answer/command for every elected public servant: SPEND LESS.
The fate of nation depends on citizens wrenching the government from careless, negligent hands of the Greedy Old Party and the demoRATS. Anything less will spell D-O-O-M for the great American experiment. Professional politicians are the root of the nation's problems. Carpetbaggers one and all.

Posted by: Ospatt | July 30, 2010 8:16 PM

As a NH resident I have no problem with ebusinesses collecting sales taxes based upon the buyer's residency. ;-)

In all seriousness, though, the accounting / compliance burden on businesses would be absurdly expensive and unworkable.

Posted by: LenB | July 30, 2010 8:34 PM

"Forcing a small business to calculate and collect sales taxes from 51 different jurisdictions is the sort of scheme that only a madman would consider."

You're not understanding the full magnitude. Many states have different tax rates based on county and city. We're talking about *hundreds* of tax rates.

It's a stupid idea, because the states will squander the money, not pay down deficits or build up their reserves. Maryland will spend it on illegals, DC will spend it on giving contracts to people's brother, Virginia will spend it on 2 lane major roads and toll roads.

Here's something else to consider. More money spent on sales tax means less money to spend on paying for businesses which employ people.

Government has proven highly inept at spending our money. I would encourage online merchants to simply ignore any sort of national sales tax.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | July 30, 2010 9:03 PM

is it any surprise, after all the dems want to tax the air you breathe...
in America the dems tax everything...

Posted by: DwightCollins | July 30, 2010 10:43 PM

And what about taxing the gas bought when traveling, restaurants, souveniers, car repairs/parts, and any other taxable good or service currently owed to the state? Any representative who goes after this money will lose many votes.
As for buying locally, when local business has item at a reasonable price and seller is competent to provide follow-up service and has a knowledge of product, then why hastle with online sale?

Posted by: DLfromNC | July 31, 2010 5:19 PM

Folks just keep proving my earlier points.

Ombudsman1, jlm101514 and other technical luddites don't comprehend how easy it is to deal with the real numbers involved. How State, county and city tax rates are much less numerous than the data continually managed by retail outlets daily, whether online or in a store.

There's DNARA, DWIGHTCOLLINS and other delusional fanatics who think that Dems are the only ones who support taxes or that key government services come without taxes. I'm sure they'd scream if police, fire departments, sewage, et al, stopped being consistently served and were "open market", by why deal with reality if you can whine.

Then there's DLFROMNC, who can't even imagine that "taxing the gas bought when traveling, restaurants, souveniers, car repairs/parts, and any other taxable good or service currently owed to the state" are, yes, not only actually owed to the States, but regularly collected.

None of these folks seem to able to discuss why internet businesses should be treated any differently for taxes than their competitors with physical stores. They just mutter it's unworkable or somehow inherently wrong. They're not logical.

Posted by: groucho42 | July 31, 2010 5:45 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company