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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.

Poll

Do you support requiring sales tax to be collected on all internet sales?

41%54 votes
52%68 votes
5%7 votes

| 130 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  I could be OK with the new law (3+ / 0-)

    if the small business exception was substantially higher than $1 million. Something more like $10 million would make sense.

    As currently drafted this bill is a significant burden to place on small business.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 08:22:19 PM PDT

    •  the status quo is a burden to small business (8+ / 0-)

      if its brick and mortar. either eliminate sales tax for B&M or even the playing field with an online sales tax. Then when sales tax is fair we can start on property tax unfairness.

      •  I don't agree (0+ / 0-)

        The brick and mortar business only has a single sales tax to apply to every transaction at each location. The issue is that the small online business doesn't have the resources to deal with thousands of different sales tax amounts and managing 50 state tax authorities. The brick and mortar customers don't have to pay for any shipping or handling charges, in addition to the stated price of the item, which often offsets the sales tax making the items relatively comparable in price.

        Amazon, sure those purchases should be taxed. Amazon has the staff and expertise to manage that process. Just make the cutoff at $10 million in annual sales and the burden will only be on those who can afford it.  

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Wed May 01, 2013 at 07:10:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  But doesn't this level the playing field for (16+ / 0-)

    brick and mortar stores?  Now there will be no difference in price whether people go to the store or order on line.  Meaning retail jobs are saved.  

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 08:26:23 PM PDT

  •  Sole Prop Artisan Here, This is My Fear. (4+ / 0-)

    As a liberal I believe I owe taxes for the government I demand. And I'm willing to pay them.

    But it's my town, my state that provide the services I depend on and which bear the risks of allowing me to conduct an internet based business in which in my extreme case sells almost nothing inside my state.

    Logically it's my state and town that deserve the sales tax, which will neutralize my competitive advantage over Wal*Mart, while I won't have to divert any more time and energy calculating sales tax. Only the total will change.

    It will change a lot and I'm willing to cede that so that Wal*Mart will not have to suffer by competing against me with my sales-tax-free advantage.

    But if I have to calculate every single sale individually for state and local taxes, for a business that pays me below median income, the cost to me in lost labor is far more costly than the tax dollars.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 08:27:47 PM PDT

  •  Sorry, not quite (13+ / 0-)

    One of the requirements of the law is that states must (A) simplify their tax codes, and (B) provide free software to out-of-state businesses, BEFORE they can start collecting taxes.

    Plus, as someone on NPR noted, these loopholes benefit the wealthy more than the poor (who's more likely to have access to a computer in order to order things from out of state?).

    We don't want our country back, we want our country FORWARD. --Eclectablog

    by Samer on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 08:28:40 PM PDT

    •  Having to learn 50 pieces of software... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib

      is bad enough. But having to file 50 monthly returns (and paying fees and deposits to set up 50 state accounts) is still an expensive burden, the cost of which (at least in terms of manpower) would exceed the profits of many businesses. That's why I think this is a scheme to drive small businesses out of sellling online so you'll have to go to one of the big boys like Amazon.

      •  A lot of small business already sell through Amazo (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tommymet

        Shop Liberally this holiday season at Kos Katalog

        by JamieG from Md on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 09:06:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  There won't be 50 piece of software (8+ / 0-)

        There will be one. And currently five states don't have any sales tax. This has absolutely nothing to do with driving small businesses out. It is to facilitate the collection of use taxes already required. Fees (if any) and deposits are minimal in both states and fully refundable. If a business doesn't do enough commerce in any particular state, they can simply not sell there.

        •  Fees are not "minimal" (0+ / 0-)

          Nevada charges a $15 fee, plus $200 business license fee, plus a minimum $500 deposit (or more based on sales), and most state fees are much higher than that. Multiply that by 50, plus the time to complete the paperwork for 50 states and you're talking well over $25k just to set up sales tax accounts in states where you may or may not ever sell anything. Most small startups don't have that extra cash (or time) to spare.

      •  It's not 50 pieces of software (8+ / 0-)

        It's a database. Your software sends a zip code (or maybe a city name or a county name or whatever) to a database and it returns a number. You should charge 5.6%. So you add that to the sale.

        If you're selling something for $100, you add $5.60 (or whatever). Your credit card processing company will probably give you the software for free. And they'll automatically send the payment to the state. Easy peasy.

        And if your sales are less than one million, you're exempt. You don't have to collect the taxes. I assume the processing company will refund the money to the buyer. I don't know.

        "Stupid just can't keep its mouth shut." -- SweetAuntFanny's grandmother.

        by Dbug on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 11:31:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And this software magically (0+ / 0-)

          integrates with all of the POS or accounting software in use by the millions of businesses this law affects?

          WOW! I can't wait!

          “It takes no compromise to give people their rights...it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.” ― Harvey Milk

          by lucid on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 11:47:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes. (4+ / 0-)

            It has nothing to do with POS (point of sale) -- that's the cash register software. This is internet sales. There's no cash register.

            Accounting software? If you're accepting credit cards, your credit card processing company will know what tax there is and they'll add it and pay the state. What's the problem?

            "Stupid just can't keep its mouth shut." -- SweetAuntFanny's grandmother.

            by Dbug on Wed May 01, 2013 at 12:51:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Wrong... (0+ / 0-)

              Credit card processors don't calculate or collect tax as a rule. For example, in PayPal you have to set up a tax rate for each state you want to collect tax for, but it's up to you to separate all those sales and pay the appropriate tax to each of those states, and it does not account for various local or county tax rates.

          •  In my experience as a software developer (7+ / 0-)

            I have worked on the web sites for a number of large retailers.  They don't have armies of accountants trying to track sales tax rates in every state and locality. They subscribe to services that have people that specialize in this sort of thing.  Some of these services, like TaxCloud, are free to the retailer.  How does the service make money? The states pay a commission to the service for collecting the sales tax, which means the online retailer doesn't have to deal with all those states.  Yeah, this is an extra step for the merchant but it never struck me as onerous. http://www.streamlinedsalestax.org/... has a list of some of the companies that provide sales tax software and services.

    •  Samer - who hosts the 50 or more pieces (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gooserock, worldlotus, johnny wurster

      of software and keeps it current? Does each state keep the software up for the various taxing authorities within the state? Do small businesses have to check with each state every time they have a sale? We have hundreds of different sales tax rates here in California with the state, counties, and cities all able to pass sales taxes. Will all of the states waive the fees and deposits required to set up the sales tax accounts?

      This will be a nightmare for small business.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 08:49:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  x 6.02x10^23 for sole prop bizes. nt (0+ / 0-)

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 08:53:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Seems like this will open (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LordMike

        a good opportunity for a software developer.

        Shop Liberally this holiday season at Kos Katalog

        by JamieG from Md on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 09:08:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  There is no reason for there to be (13+ / 0-)

        50 different pieces of software. There are already more than half a dozen pieces of software out there that are certified compliant with the law. Single programs.

        I'm not sure why this has to be repeated in every single diary on this subject so often. There will not be multiple tax rates per state. There will be one. The proposed law requires it.

        It won't be a nightmare. It will take some time. But not hundreds of hours. Probably not dozens of hours.

        Why would a state waive fees? Why should a state waive fees or deposits?

        •  Why should a state waive fees or deposits? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          johnny wurster

          Why should a small business be required to go through 50 application processes and pay 50 fees or deposits? States should wave the fees for small businesses.

          I hope the legislation is defeated.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 09:24:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Can you point me to where (0+ / 0-)

          the law will require a single rate in each state of internet sales? I ask because Washington is an example of a state with a huge number of different rates, mostly between 7.7 and 9.5 percent. Here is the list for this quarter (these are published each quarter.) There are a different set of rates for liquor.

          A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. Franklin D. Roosevelt

          by notrouble on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 10:12:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  A pretty good outline (5+ / 0-)

            of the proposed law can be found here

            •  It requires a single "base" rate per state (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JamieG from Md

              but does not appear to require a single collected tax rate.

              1. Notify retailers in advance of any rate changes within the state
              2. Designate a single state organization to handle sales tax registrations, filings, and audits
              3. Establish a uniform sales tax base for use throughout the state
              I don't see why there would be a need to notify retailers of rate changes "within the state" if there is only a single rate for each state. From further down the page:
              The retail world is a very different place today, forty-six years after Bellas Hess, and twenty-one years after Quill. Today, keeping track of a few thousand local tax rates is no longer an insurmountable technical, administrative, or financial burden - certainly no more difficult than calculating real-time-shipping, a common feature on most web sites and online sales marketplaces.

              A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. Franklin D. Roosevelt

              by notrouble on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 10:41:52 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'll try to find (3+ / 0-)

                the actual proposed law. I do understand the conflict.

                Even if I'm wrong on this (and I'm not convinced I am), there are 17 states that have either a single rate for the entire state or use tax does not apply to local sales tax districts. Three states have amnesty for online sales tax. (Utah, Tennessee and Ohio) In addition to the 5 states with no sales tax, this would cut the possible rate variations to half the states.

                •  Once this can of worms opens... (0+ / 0-)

                  with local governments short on funding these days, do you think any local school district or transit authority will sit idly by while they don't get their "fair share" of the tax pie? No, they will all scream bloody murder until they get every penny they think they can.

  •  There needs to be a national sales tax (4+ / 0-)

    on Internet sales with the proceeds earmarked to the states.

    For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

    by Anne Elk on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 08:31:37 PM PDT

    •  Either Biz Pays All to Their Home State or Yes As (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      worldlotus

      you say all out-of-state sales to 1 national pool with formulaic distribution.

      The issue isn't the money it's the gigantic labor problem for mail/internet tiny businesses especially sole props like artisans like me.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 08:34:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's one what to do it... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane

      As long as it's a flat rate and is not in addition to in-state sales tax.

    •  A standardized National state sales tax rate (0+ / 0-)

      one rate fits all states, all business , with food and business purchase and non profit exemptions. No need for the fed to get involved other than enforcing the standardized rate. of course that will not happen.

  •  This is not a new tax (7+ / 0-)

    You have been required to pay your state sales tax for things you buy on the internet. Most of us haven't been. What the new law requires is that internet businesses collect the tax and remit to the appropriate state, just as brick and mortar stores have always done.

    "I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat."--Will Rogers

    by vgranucci on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 08:41:14 PM PDT

    •  Except it's not "just as brick and mortars" have (5+ / 0-)

      A physical store collects and pays sales taxes only within the city/county/state where its store is located. An on-line seller will have to collect and pay to any of at least 50 different entities; each with a different rate and rules.

      I'm for internet sales having to meet a sales tax burden, but there's  a lot to think about in how it is structured so that it works for both taxing and selling entities.

      “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

      by Catte Nappe on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 08:47:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Brick/Mortar Face Only One State & Locality. (0+ / 0-)

      So make 100% of my sales taxable by my state and locality who face the threats I pose from running my business. I must pay much more but it is exactly the same labor to calculate and file, and now I'm brought down to being a level competitor against brick & mortar.

      Please don't say that making me have to file a separate sales tax form for almost every sale I make, is the same as a brick & mortar that only files one sales tax for their entire year.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 08:58:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You pay Property tax and utilities? level playing (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kane in CA, Lujane, True North, tommymet

        field not even close, Thats not even pointing out liability insurance, ordinances for parking, signage ,  and B&M regulations from flooring to fire safety to light bulb covers. Parking lot & landscape maintenance. Display racks and cases, theft and product damage by customers.    Invest in B&M and you will grasp the cost differential.

      •  Unless your sales are in excess of $1m (0+ / 0-)

        it doesn't affect you.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 11:35:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  For how long? (0+ / 0-)

          If any taxing authority (state, local, neighborhood...) thinks they can squeeze another dime out of the system, how long do you think it will be before the limit is lowered? And what keeps states and localities from passing their own internet tax laws that subvert the federal law? For example, if New York City wants an additional 1% above the local sales tax rate just for out of state internet sales (to help local B&M stores), no matter how small your company, what's to keep such a local authority from doing that? I foresee a mess of thousands of confusing, overlapping or conflicting laws that (for a very large fee that only huge companies can afford) lawyers and accountants would be glad to figure out for you.

  •  WTF? I'm PROUD that my Congressman is... (16+ / 0-)

    ...a sponsor of this legislation.

    Business should pay taxes and selling over the internet is no excuse for tax evasion.

    "This is NOT what I thought I'd be when I grew up."

    by itzik shpitzik on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 08:54:35 PM PDT

  •  I'm a small business accountant (4+ / 0-)

    One of my clients does high end audio retail as both a brick and mortar and online entity - it's the nature of the business. Only so many dealers nation wide are granted contracts to sell specific manufacturers. While we aren't quite to the $1,000,000 online sales exemption - we're almost there & I can tell you first hand that if we pass that bar, We would have to hire someone specifically to handle the sales tax returns at a cost of about $40K a year.

    It's a terrible law. While it would be nice to level the playing field between B&M and online stores, imposing this type of paperwork burden on online stores is a move in the completely opposite direction.

    1. We should abolish sales taxes anyways.

    2. If we insist on having them, they should be uniform - national.

    3. So long as the current system exists as is [even with the statewide uniformity required by the law] - small online businesses will be killed by this law, which is exactly what places like Amazon want.

    “It takes no compromise to give people their rights...it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.” ― Harvey Milk

    by lucid on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 09:14:14 PM PDT

    •  2 Simple Options; (0+ / 0-)

      1) All sales taxes are paid to the biz's home state and town. or;

      2)All out-of-state sales taxes go to 1 national pool that passes them out to the states proportionately by some formula.

      If we adopt 1, the labor vanishes to zero, all we have to do is record every sale as in-state. If we adopt 2, the labor of compliance merely doubles, we simply apply some other fraction to all the out of state sales and do the forms and payments to the out-of-state pool.

      I wish I could tell you what I make in my artisan business. I can assure you of this: neither Amazon nor Mall*Wart nor Target nor Ace Hardware nor Hobby Lobby nor the East India Tea Company are competitors of mine. No corporation who is an American citizen is a competitor of mine.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 09:20:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  asdf (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lujane, indie17

        Number 2 is essentially what I mean by my number 2. Number 1 would be fine too. However, the larger issue is that sales taxes are the most regressive tax we have & should be abolished period. [note - I don't think FICA is regressive because it is not technically a tax - it is a uniform payment to a social insurance program & it also has abatement for the working poor through the EIC].

        “It takes no compromise to give people their rights...it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.” ― Harvey Milk

        by lucid on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 09:24:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Option 1 won't work (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lujane, scotths

        It will just insure that all online businesses move to the 12 states without a sales tax and not help the states where the buyers currently dodge sales tax. Since most states have a sales tax the Senators will never go for that.

        A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. Franklin D. Roosevelt

        by notrouble on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 10:16:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  So, you are saying that the bill is a job creator (3+ / 0-)
      I can tell you first hand that if we pass that bar, We would have to hire someone specifically to handle the sales tax returns at a cost of about $40K a year.
      If every small business in the country has to hire one more person, that should make a serious dent in our unemployment.  I like this bill even more now.

      GODSPEED TO THE WISCONSIN FOURTEEN!

      by LordMike on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 09:25:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Do you have any idea how slim (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lujane, indie17, worldlotus

        small business margins are? Do you think that people running a business that grosses $1.5 million a year are getting rich? Most business clients I have in that range aren't paying their officers more than $60K a year, because that's all they can afford.

        “It takes no compromise to give people their rights...it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.” ― Harvey Milk

        by lucid on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 09:34:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Small online businesses are exempt (5+ / 0-)

      so they won't be killed.

    •  Please hire me (10+ / 0-)

      Pay me $40K a year and i can work a few days a quarter and take the rest of the time off.  My last job we had sales tax returns to file for 20 states (as well as Canadian HST). It took my accounting manager less than 2 days to complete them each quarter.

      •  50 states (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        indie17

        Thousands of jurisdictions...

        “It takes no compromise to give people their rights...it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.” ― Harvey Milk

        by lucid on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 09:36:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And qhy can't people just admit that this (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          indie17

          is a terrible law? Per Gooserock's suggestion - why not just make the sales tax payable to the state of origination? That is, if we insist on having terribly regressive sales tax?

          “It takes no compromise to give people their rights...it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.” ― Harvey Milk

          by lucid on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 09:38:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Internet sales tax is not regressive (9+ / 0-)

            The poor don't have computers, and many don't have checking accounts or credit cards. The largest online buyers are upper income households.

            •  By definition, sales tax is regressive (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              indie17

              It is a flat tax that disproportionately affects people of lower means. It doesn't matter if they have computers or not.

              “It takes no compromise to give people their rights...it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.” ― Harvey Milk

              by lucid on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 09:56:42 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well yes it does (5+ / 0-)

                we're talking about online sales. How does someone without a computer buy online?

                And you're right, typical sales tax IS regressive. Online sales are not the same. Demographics of online buyers is different.

                •  That argument is idiotic (0+ / 0-)

                  There are computers in libraries. There are lots of people in poverty with computers or access to them. Justifying bad law by saying that 'online' sales taxes aren't regressive is like the MTA saying that monthly passes should go up disproportionately to per ride tickets because only wealthy people can afford monthly passes.

                  “It takes no compromise to give people their rights...it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.” ― Harvey Milk

                  by lucid on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 10:14:35 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  It's a lot less idiotic (5+ / 0-)

                    than claiming that sales taxes are regressive by definition. It's actually based on demographic studies. Eight percent of  households don't have checking accounts or credit cards. Over 20% of African Americans and Hispanics don't have bank accounts or credit cards. Almost 20% of those under 30 don't have bank accounts or credit cards. People with low income do NOT make online purchases at the same rate that those in higher income brackets.

                    Is it perfectly progressive? Not a chance. Is it much closer to progressive than brick & mortar sales tax? Absolutely.

                    •  So why don't you, like I (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      indie17

                      argue for eliminating sales taxes altogether?

                      And btw sales taxes are by definition regressive. As someone who does have bank accounts and credit cards, if I go out and buy a computer from, say, Dell [who charges sales tax], let's say it costs $1,000, the tax burden I pay is 166 times the tax burden someone who makes a million a year pays.

                      “It takes no compromise to give people their rights...it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.” ― Harvey Milk

                      by lucid on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 10:34:47 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I'd be in favor of eliminating all sales tax (4+ / 0-)

                        absolutely. That's not currently on the table. Under the current rules, online retailers have an unfair advantage over brick and mortar retailers, since almost no one actually pays use taxes required by all states that have sales taxes.  This law would facilitate collection of those taxes, which, for reasons I've already explained, are, in total, closer to a progressive tax than existing sales taxes.

                  •  And there is old-fashioned mail order... (0+ / 0-)

                    or phone order (or fax) for the, poor, elderly & computer-challenged. You don't have to use the internet to order from out of state!  Besides, even many low-income people have a smart phone these days. Tax profits, not consumption.

              •  But it doesn't apply, in most states (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Deep Texan

                to food and medicine.

                For most people, your total taxable purchases add up to a surprisingly small number.

                Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                by elfling on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 11:38:43 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  People require a hell of a lot more (0+ / 0-)

                  than food and medicine.

                  “It takes no compromise to give people their rights...it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.” ― Harvey Milk

                  by lucid on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 11:44:51 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Why can't people see that I'm RIGHT???? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tommymet, Deep Texan

            Even - especially - when I'm proposing bullshit reasons for why I'm right!

            You go, dude! You should be getting $40k a year just for the creativity you've put into making a bullshit case.

            Too late for the simple life, too early for android love slaves - Savio

            by Clem Yeobright on Wed May 01, 2013 at 04:07:33 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Less than 50 jursidictions (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shopkeeper, Lujane, Deep Texan

          Five states don't have sales tax. Each state will be required to have a single rate for use tax.

        •  false (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tommymet, Deep Texan, JamieG from Md

          In order to opt-in on this law the state must consolidate down to a single collection agency with a single form and a single auditing process.

          Its in the language of the bill.

          Stop with the 10,000 jurisdiction claims.  The bill specifically made sure that no on-line business would have to deal with every country and municipality in the nation.

          Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

          by Wisper on Wed May 01, 2013 at 04:48:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  50 monthly returns (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        indie17

        All with different county and local tax jurisdictions?

        I know WTF I'm talking about.

        “It takes no compromise to give people their rights...it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.” ― Harvey Milk

        by lucid on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 09:39:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, obviously you have no clue what you're (5+ / 0-)

          talking about. The proposed law requires a single use tax rate per state. Five states don't have sales tax. Including DC, that's 46 returns. All states that I'm familiar with require  quarterly or annual returns for low volume and very few require monthly returns even for high volume sellers. Many require payments monthly if volume is sufficient.

          •  NY is monthly (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            indie17

            unless you're below $100K per. Regardless of the proposed changes in the law, it imposes an undue burden financial on businesses that do business in multiple state jurisdictions as opposed to those that do it in a single state [or those that are so large they have an accounting department to handle it]. The idea that this 'levels the playing field' for B&M businesses is absurd. It gives them a leg up on online businesses & further, eliminates the competition for mega-online stores, for whom it will not be a financial burden.

            Even if said client only ended up paying me an extra $5K to do 20 returns quarterly, that would be $5K too much.

            It's bad law.

            “It takes no compromise to give people their rights...it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.” ― Harvey Milk

            by lucid on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 09:53:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'd do it for $5K a quarter (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              True North, tommymet, Deep Texan

              for 20 returns in a heart beat. The returns take less than 15 minutes to do. If I did them regularly, I'd cut that 10. Three or four hours of work for $5K? Damn good money. You'd be overpaying me. My old accounting manager did 20 in less than 16 hours, she made about $25 an hour. $5K would be over $300 an hour for preparing sales tax returns.

              •  I was saying $5K a year (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                indie17

                And you're completely missing the point.

                “It takes no compromise to give people their rights...it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.” ― Harvey Milk

                by lucid on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 10:09:48 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  No, I do get your point (5+ / 0-)

                  This is burdensome. Running a business has burdens. Anyone that has done it knows that. This is one more. And it's fair. If you want to sell to customers in my state, you should be required to collect my state's use tax. The choice is yours. If you don't want to deal with it, simply don't sell in my state.

                  •  If the state is that concerned about revenue loss (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    indie17

                    Why not impose a shipping tax? Why burden out of state businesses with extra undue burdens?

                    “It takes no compromise to give people their rights...it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.” ― Harvey Milk

                    by lucid on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 10:19:23 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Similar to a VAT (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      indie17, johnny wurster, LordMike

                      It's imposed as part of shipment into the state. If a business has a warehouse in the state [and thus is already subject to sales tax] it wouldn't have to pay it. Every other retail receiver would. It is much easier to implement. It doesn't take a federal law & out of state businesses don't have to track it.

                      “It takes no compromise to give people their rights...it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.” ― Harvey Milk

                      by lucid on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 10:23:42 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  In the eyes of many (5+ / 0-)

                      state legislatures, members of congress, and me, this isn't an undue burden. It's one that is long overdue.

                      •  Of course federal legistlators (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        indie17, worldlotus

                        and most state legislators can't even be bothered to create free online portals for tax filing, so, why not pass the burden off once again.

                        “It takes no compromise to give people their rights...it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.” ― Harvey Milk

                        by lucid on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 10:42:30 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

              •  You must not have an online business... (0+ / 0-)

                because otherwise you'd know that it's not just filling out the returns that takes time, it's separating all of your sales monthly and doing the calculations for each taxable or non-taxable sale that eats up time. If I knew that I was likely to get only one $20 sale from South Dakota this month, I'd probably turn down the business because the paperwork to file the tax would cost much more in time than the small profit I might make on that sale. That's the point. The really BIG retailers want the small guys to turn down the business and ultimately go out of business.

                •  If you find those kinds of tasks time consuming (0+ / 0-)

                  you're doing it wrong. Export sales listing to simple excel spreadsheet. Sort by state. Learn to do the sales tax returns yourself. No need to pay others to do it. They are not complicated. Dealing with it. That's the way you fight back.

          •  Plus the exemption from sales tax will eliminate (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Kane in CA, virginislandsguy

            a % of sales tax transactions.

    •  I couldn't agree more... (0+ / 0-)

      As stated in original diary, sales taxes are regressive, plus they are a very inefficient way to collect taxes. And taxing the ones who spend rather than the ones who make the profit discourages consumption. Taxing the profits would level the playing field, because it wouldn't matter how the sales were made (overseas mail order, internet, phone, B&M etc), and it would be simpler to implement because it's already built into our tax code now -- just charge another 5% or so and send that money back to the states.

  •  To be clear (4+ / 0-)

    lest we get derailed into myths and exaggerations about how this works,

    In order to opt-into this program and require businesses to collect Sales tax for their State, a state must provide­

       -a single entity within the State responsible for all State and local sales and use tax administration, return processing, and audits for remote sales sourced to the State;
        a single audit of a remote seller for all State and local taxing jurisdictions within that State; and
        a single sales and use tax return to be used by remote sellers to be filed with the single entity responsible for tax administration.
    Also,
    a State may not require a remote seller to file sales and use tax returns any more frequently than returns are required for nonremote sellers. No local jurisdiction may require a remote seller to submit a sales and use tax return or to collect sales and use taxes other than as provided by this paragraph.
    This is language straight from the bill

    Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

    by Wisper on Wed May 01, 2013 at 05:59:21 AM PDT

  •  Online sales tax (0+ / 0-)

    Shopping online whether researching products or ordering merchandise is fast and convenient. I always consider price, convenience ,shipping charges and delivery time. Frequently, I end up at the M&B store when time is more important. Shopping online to evade paying the sales tax is not my goal.
    The absence of sales tax helps independent online entrepreneurs compete in the marketplace. Big corporations have succeeded in forcing small independent M&B stores to close their doors and now the Internet is keeping the "biggies" from raising their prices sky high. Believe you me, if they can eliminate small busines from the Internet, they will charge more and offer less. Corporate rule in America is out of control.

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