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It's not surprising that big news organizations such as Gannett have been quick to offer editorial support of proposed legislation to impose sales tax on all internet sales, but their views are wrongheaded and overlook the real impact this would have on small businesses.
In addition to having to calculate thousands of tax rates, sales tax permits would have to be applied for and monthly or quarterly returns must be filed in all 50 states. Most states have dozens if not hundreds of tax rates and require advance payment of a permit fee and a substantial cash deposit just to set up an account. Huge companies like Amazon and Best Buy may have the money, staff and super-computers necessary to handle this expensive bookkeeping nightmare for 50 states, but most small companies do not.
This legislation cloaks itself under the guise of "fairness," but there is nothing fair about it. The real goals of this legislation are to run small businesses out of business, thereby reducing competition, and to ultimately shift more of the tax burden from corporations directly to consumers.
Sales tax is one of the most regressive of taxes. Wouldn't it make more sense to simply increase tax on corporate profits -- whether sales are derived from internet, brick-and-morter, or other souces -- and send that money back to the states? That would indeed level the playing field and require much less paperwork.