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US Senate Passes National Internet Sales Tax Mandate 297

SonicSpike writes with the news that the U.S. Senate yesterday "passed a nonbinding proposal to allow states to collect sales tax on Internet sellers that have no presence within their borders. The proposal was an amendment to a 2014 budget bill that the Senate debated Friday. It was pushed by Senators Mike Enzi, a Wyoming Republican, and Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, and was designed to give backers a sense of whether they had enough votes to push forward with final legislation to impose an Internet sales tax. The vote showed they have plenty of backing to overcome any filibuster seeking to block a final sales tax bill."
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US Senate Passes National Internet Sales Tax Mandate

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  • by dreamchaser ( 49529 ) on Saturday March 23, 2013 @02:51PM (#43258369) Homepage Journal

    Wrong. If they have a presence they already have to collect and remit sales tax as part of current State laws. This will just mean the States can collect tax on all sales. Right now most online sales go untaxed.

  • by dreamchaser ( 49529 ) on Saturday March 23, 2013 @02:51PM (#43258379) Homepage Journal

    It is not a National tax. It will just allow the States, not the Feds, to collect existing sales taxes on online sales.

    The knee jerk reactions around here are amazing sometimes.

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Saturday March 23, 2013 @03:09PM (#43258499)
    but mostly because sales taxes are primarily regressive taxes (they impact poor and middle class much more than the rich because poor/mids spend a greater percentage of money surviving). At the same time I'm a lot more concerned about wealth inequity than I am about paying an extra 10% on crap I buy online.
  • by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Saturday March 23, 2013 @03:30PM (#43258639)

    The flaw in your statement is that it assumes adherence to the constitution, which we have dismissed at every opportunity over the last fifteen years. In a world where privacy, due-process, and protection of citizenship mean nothing, a little interstate commerce and taxation is trivial. Further, just as we have plenty of people in our population that say things like "we have too much free speech and the government should regulate the news" and "we should give up some of our privacy to be more secure against turr-ism", we have plenty of people who say "gosh,we gotsta pay more taxes, because it's our civic duty!" (entirely neglecting who it should also be our civic duty not to allow politicians to completely abuse the revenue they're empowered to spend).

  • Re:First! (State) (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 23, 2013 @03:43PM (#43258735)

    At this point, I'm really looking for every edge on keeping my dollar that I can. I paid more in taxes for 2012 than my parents earned . . . combined . . . in 2011 and 2012. . . combined. And it's not like I'm wealthy. I live in in a sub $200k house in a blue-collar neighborhood, drive a seven year old car, and keep to a budget.

    You're precisely the kind of person they're looking to soak. People on handouts don't have enough money to tax, and the really rich can afford accountants.

  • by DigitalSorceress ( 156609 ) on Saturday March 23, 2013 @03:47PM (#43258759)

    I have a hosting customer (who is also a friend) who is a very small manufacturing business - they hand make jewelry and sell it on their web site.

    They are a mom-and-pop operation and have no hope of being able to track 50 states worth of sales tax obligations and file 50 states worth of forms... never-mind that others have mentioned elsewhere that there are some 10,000 distinct sales tax jurisdictions in the US.

    If they're actually required to track even just 50 states worth and file those forms, they're not going to be able to comply. Their business is close enough on margins that this could quite seriously push them over the edge and make them close up shop should it be too onerous.

    If the fed wanted to jsut say "5% sales tax on all Internet sales apportioned to the states by share of gdp" that would be one thing, but keepint track of that many moving targets would be too much for mom and pop shops.... big retailers have accounting firms or departments to handle it - one more way the little guy is getting destroyed.

  • Nighmare (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pubwvj ( 1045960 ) on Saturday March 23, 2013 @03:50PM (#43258785)

    Dealing with all the localities is a paperwork and regulatory nightmare. They should not be making the states be able to do remote sales. If they want the money they should simply have a federal sales tax and then the government can divvy the money up to the states just like they do with so many other funding things. Instead they are creating more of a burden for small businesses. Once again, Big Corp has the advantage since they have the systems in place for this and can spread the overhead over many products. Big Gov loves Big Corp.

  • Re:First! (State) (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Daemonik ( 171801 ) on Saturday March 23, 2013 @04:07PM (#43258935) Homepage

    You're not considering the other issues such as having to go through multiple state audits when they want to challenge if you're sending them enough of the revenue that you're collecting for them. Finding out that oops, this country in this state raised their tax rate and you didn't know but now they're taking you to court for not paying the right fees is not how you want to run a business.

    In the end, the big chains that can afford it (Amazon) will have distribution centers in each state and completely dodge the issue, while all the added burden will go to their smaller competitors.

  • by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Saturday March 23, 2013 @04:12PM (#43258967)

    It would seem to me that whatever solution Congress adopts there will be a variety of services made available for these sorts of businesses. Hopefully there will also be a threshold below say some million dollars per year where this sort of stuff isn't required. Of course given the stupidity of Congress one can't count on this being part of the legislation.

    I don't have to file tax returns myself; I just buy a copy a tax software package once a year, put in my financial info and shazzam! the returns are uploaded. Shouldn't be a big deal to actually pay the tax.

    The real onerous part of this process would be where states start wanting an audit. Now THAT would have serious potential to destroy a small business.

  • Re:First! (State) (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Snowman ( 116231 ) on Saturday March 23, 2013 @06:14PM (#43259633)

    Finding out that oops, this country in this state raised their tax rate and you didn't know but now they're taking you to court for not paying the right fees is not how you want to run a business.

    Use a tax service. They tell you what the tax rates are, and some of them deal with the liability issue. If you didn't collect taxes correctly because of their data, they'll cover it. It's insane, actually. Taxes change on an almost daily basis somewhere in the U.S. Between legitimate tax rate changes at any level from city, county, to state, to tax holidays, etc. nobody can keep track of this shit unless they're in the business of keeping track of it... which is why tax services are so helpful. My customers all use them. When your core business is selling widgets, you can't keep track of thousands of tax jurisdictions.

  • by Fjandr ( 66656 ) on Saturday March 23, 2013 @07:41PM (#43260149) Homepage Journal

    I do not see use taxes as legitimate. They are an end run around the Interstate Commerce Clause.

  • Re:First! (State) (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 23, 2013 @11:13PM (#43260987)

    You know your government has gone too far when it requires you purchase a service just to pay your taxes (income taxes suffer from this unreasonable burden as well, by the way). That's not a viable solution.

    To me, the solution is very simple, change whatever laws necessary to make online purchases the same as physical purchases. Tax the sale, not the purchaser, and make irrelevant where the purchaser happens to live. Either that or abolish the sales tax altogether in favor of the corporate or income tax. Whatever the solution, it should be efficient and cheap to both businesses and the consumer, as the consumer will ultimately pay any additional costs anyway.

Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.