|Anthony Freda Art|
Did you pay sales tax on the last item you bought on the Internet? Unless it was from Amazon, you probably did not. You may soon though if a gaggle of U.S. lawmakers working hand-in-hand with big business get their way.
And if you’re an online retailer, you may have to collect and remit sales taxes for all fifty states no matter where your online business resides. But don’t worry, lawmakers want to force all states to adopt the same standard for sales taxes, thus making it easier for you to comply.
Earlier this month, a large collection of lawmakers introduced the Marketplace Fairness Act in both the Senate (S. 336) and the House (H.R. 684). Lawmakers who oppose the measure have renamed it more appropriately, the “National Internet Tax Mandate” because that’s what it is.
1. Forces customers to pay sales taxes for online purchases.
2. Forces states to “simplify” their sales tax laws.
3. Forces online retailers to collect and remit state sales taxes..
That’s right, no transaction in America must be allowed without the State taking its portion. The legislation has so much corporate support that it has its very own website which describes the law as follows:
The Marketplace Fairness Act grants states the authority to compel online and catalog retailers (“remote sellers”), no matter where they are located, to collect sales tax at the time of a transaction – exactly like local retailers are already required to do.
On the website they argue that this is not a new tax even though it hasn’t ever been enforced in the history of the Internet, saying “Consumers are required under existing state laws to pay sales and use taxes on the goods they purchase, but online sellers simply are not required to collect the tax in the same way that local businesses do – which puts local businesses at a disadvantage.”
The law attempts to solve two problems. First, it seeks to protect brick-and-mortar businesses from “unfair” competition from online retailers and, second, it seeks to increase revenues to state coffers.
Yet the lack of sales taxes is just a tiny part of why most brick-and-mortar retail businesses are struggling. The Internet offers a massively competitive marketplace for the same products, thus better prices. Customer reviews are just a click away, and products can be purchased in our underwear from the comfort of our homes. No driving, no annoying salesman, no lines, etc.
Besides, leveling the taxes won’t work. For example, online retail giant Amazon.com started collecting state taxes in June 2012, and yet, in 2013 Barnes and Noble announced it would close up to 500 stores over the next decade. They’re not closing their storefronts because of unfair taxing systems, rather because the business itself has changed due to the Internet. Borders Books declared bankruptcy in order to restructure to this new model. No law can save retailers who don’t adapt to the competitive realities of the Internet.
Next, the law attempts to boost state tax revenues, which it may do. But at what cost? And will this solve the state deficit problems?
The lobbyists, who no doubt put together the website for the legislation, write:
Although some suggest these States have a “spending problem” rather than a “revenue problem,” it is important to recognize that these States have already been reducing their spending levels year-over-year and increasing collection and enforcement efforts based upon their existing sales and use tax laws. However, a State can only enforce these laws within its own borders unless (or until) Congress recognizes the significant advances made by “man and his ingenuity with machines” over the last 44 years. Simply put, without the Marketplace Fairness Act, our States are unable to require remote retailers to collect the existing sales or use tax already approved by that state’s residents.
- Eric Blair ~ US Lawmakers Push For Internet Sales Tax (shiftfrequency.com)
- US lawmakers push for internet sales tax (sott.net)
- US Lawmakers Push for Internet Sales Tax (activistpost.com)
- US Lawmakers Push for Internet Sales Tax (federaljack.com)
- US Lawmakers Push for Internet Sales Tax (informationliberation.com)
- US Lawmakers Push for Internet Sales Tax (consciouslifenews.com)
- US Lawmakers Push for Internet Sales Tax (pakalertpress.com)
- Bipartisan bill in Congress for online sales tax (fellowshipofminds.wordpress.com)
- My View: How ‘Amazon Law’ could affect small online retailers (miamiherald.com)
- W.Va. gov targets online sales for tax revenues (mysanantonio.com)