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Internet Sales Tax

The taxing of internet sales has a lot of support and is expected to pass in the Senate as soon as this week.  From there it would travel to the House of Representatives and all indications are that nothing is going to stand in the way.

A recent article on CNN/Money describes the playing field.  Here are the highlights:

  • 45 states currently charge sales tax. The five that donít? Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon.
  • The law applies only to online sellers with sales of $1 million in states where they do not have a physical location.  Currently, online sellers charge sales tax where they have a physical location.
  • The increase in total tax revenue is estimated at more than $12 billion.
  • Results from a survey of 2,500 consumers: 30% would shop more at brick and mortar retailers and nearly half said that their shopping habits would not be affected.
  • Amazon is now supporting the bill ! The company is collecting sales tax in 9 of the states where it has warehouses.
  • There is an effort to not include small business revenue up to a not-yet-determined level.

Tax increases are not popular, but in this case, leveling the playing field may be the best approach.  Iím not in favor of subsidizing small business by providing deductions.  Our tax codes are convoluted enough and the effort that is required to monitor anything other than a simple flat tax will cost everyone more in the long run.

Flat taxes, simplicity, transparency and fairness are what we should strive to achieve.

Mark Schuster, Partner

May 5, 2013

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