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Businesses The Almighty Buck Politics

US Senate Passes Internet Tax Bill 69 To 27 678

schwit1 quotes The Washington Post: "The Senate aimed to help traditional retailers and financially strapped state and local governments Monday by passing a bill that would widely subject online shopping — for many a largely tax-free frontier — to state sales taxes. The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 69 to 27, getting support from Republicans and Democrats alike." schwit1 adds "Unfortunately online businesses could be in for a rude awakening when it comes to the law's interpretation." Passage in the House is not certain, and companies like eBay are lobbying to raise the minimum sales required to collect state sales tax to $10 million instead of $1 million per year.
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US Senate Passes Internet Tax Bill 69 To 27

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  • bollocks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DFurno2003 ( 739807 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @08:08AM (#43651925)
    Total Garbage. Just what I expect from the U.S. Government. Can't balance our budget, find more ways to tax consumers.
    • Re:bollocks (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @08:10AM (#43651945)

      Or rather find ways to collect the tax that consumers already owed.

      • Re:bollocks (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @08:17AM (#43651989)

        We are taxed when we earn the money, and double taxed when we spend it.

        • Re:bollocks (Score:4, Funny)

          by JustOK ( 667959 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @08:30AM (#43652067) Journal

          Don't spend your money.

          • Re:bollocks (Score:4, Insightful)

            by ganjadude ( 952775 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @08:34AM (#43652091) Homepage
            if you dont spend your money you got people claiming you are not paying your fair share. there is no winning anymore. your money is not yours, its the governments, they just let you have some to keep you content.
            • Re:bollocks (Score:5, Informative)

              by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @09:00AM (#43652279) Homepage

              if you dont spend your money you got people claiming you are not paying your fair share

              That's because the entire school of thought which is trickle-down economics requires it.

              If people aren't spending their money, then the entire theory behind Reagonomics is a fiction, and tax cuts for the rich don't work. ;-)

              Since the entire justification for those tax cuts is to get people out spending, you need to do your patriotic duty and get out there and spend like a mad fool or risk invalidating an entire economic theory. It's your job to stimulate the economy and get us out of this down turn by buying stuff.

              If they cut taxes and people didn't spent, people might start to think economists don't have a clue.

              If you're not gonna spend it, they'll need to tax it. So start spending, or we'll have to try Socialism. :-P

              • Re:bollocks (Score:4, Interesting)

                by MatthewCCNA ( 1405885 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @09:08AM (#43652381)

                If you're not gonna spend it, they'll need to tax it. So start spending, or we'll have to try Socialism. :-P

                What do so many Americans have such fear/hatred of Socialism?

                • Re:bollocks (Score:5, Insightful)

                  by Gamer_2k4 ( 1030634 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @09:18AM (#43652477)

                  What do so many Americans have such fear/hatred of Socialism?

                  Because we like to think we deserve to use the money we earn in the way we choose.

                  • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                    by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

                    Because we like to think we deserve to use the money we earn in the way we choose.

                    Isn't that what voting is for?
                    Or are you describing anarchy?

                    • Re:bollocks (Score:5, Insightful)

                      by Bardez ( 915334 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @10:01AM (#43653051) Homepage
                      No, that is not what voting is for. That is what personal responsibility is for. Voting is for electing people and collectively deciding directly on very few issues that involve all of our society. The money that I earn does not fall into that category. What I make and do with my money is none of your fucking business.
                    • Social responsibility, ever heard of it?

                      If there are so very few issues worth voting on, perhaps you could give us a list?

                      As to why Americans fear and hate Socialism, many of us have been thoroughly indoctrinated about the supposed evils of it. It's called "moral hazard". Socialism leads to welfare queens, to lazy deadbeats who just lie about doing nothing constructive (such as posting on Slashdot?) because they don't have to work, they need only collect the next welfare check.

                  • Re:bollocks (Score:4, Insightful)

                    by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @10:04AM (#43653093) Homepage Journal

                    We also like to pretend that we earn every dime that goes are way, and in no way are dependent on society at large for the potential to do so. We are by-and-large stuck up pricks who don't understand social contract theory, it's all about freedom.

                    If you gave us Americans a multiple choice test about how the world works we'd just go down and answer every single question "C. Freedom" without reading what it said. Well, some would answer "Jesus" to every question, but the lever of understanding reflected is the same.

                    • Re:bollocks (Score:5, Insightful)

                      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @10:53AM (#43653777)

                      I think I understand social contract theory just fine and I reject it outright because of its 1) similarity to slavery/indentured servitude (we are all born into a system owing something to that system) and 2) contracts are things you enter into voluntary, yet social contract theory is neither voluntary nor something clearly negotitated and agreed upon by two parties. Social contracts also put the individual at greater risk to direct democracy. Social contract theory also puts everyone at odds. Everyone suddenly becomes debtor and debtee.

                      America is a solution to an optimization problem: maximum individual liberty. Not maximum quality of life, not maximum education, not maximum civil welfare. If you want to maximize these, I highly recommend totalitarianism. The US certainly didn't need to bother with States, Checks and Balances, and local government if this weren't the case.

                      I trust in the good of individuals to do the right thing. You seem to trust in the good of society to do the right thing, often at the expense of the individual (or at least under the assumption the individual will not do the right thing). While your code may be a more expedient means to an end, mine respects has a greater respect for rights of the individual without resulting in the use of force or turning people against each other. Keep your social contract. I'll keep my freedom.

                    • Re:bollocks (Score:4, Insightful)

                      by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @11:24AM (#43654303) Homepage Journal

                      I have a social contract with America? Can you point out where I signed that particular piece of paper?

                      Quoting since the thread depth cutoff has made me start to appear schizophrenic.

                      The social contract is signed every day you're not dead from the laws protecting you. You're free to reject the contract at any time, but then you lose the implicit protections. In fact, we're so nice with our social contract in modern liberal democracies, we limit how much protection you lose based on the severity of your breach. Isn't that nice of us?

                    • by Rinikusu ( 28164 )

                      I get pretty irritated when I hear folks talk about states' rights as if its some sort of magic bullet solution. Is "tyranny" (to use the hyperbolic rhetoric used by some) any better if it's instituted at a state vs federal level? Local vs state? And if a state is out of line with the spirit of the Constitution? "You don't like our state laws? Well you can move to another state, bucko! In Kansas, we just don't believe in science anymore!" is a pretty retarded way of doing it...

                    • Re:bollocks (Score:4, Interesting)

                      by slimjim8094 ( 941042 ) <> on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @12:36AM (#43662069)

                      What the fuck do you think your freedom deal with America is if it's not a social contract? Do you make use of roads, cleanish air and water, and the right to not be hassled/killed/enslaved by roving warlords? Well you probably would claim that you mean the whole "let's not have people die in the streets" thing more than the roads thing when you say social contract, but I'd argue that you're just drawing an arbitrary line, and you're doing in such a way that it maximizes your assholishness. You're perfectly fine taking some services from the government and paying your share (and expecting the rest to do the same), but some services are too much. And the latter (but not former) services are the "social contract" ones.

                      A typical explanation of 'social contract' is why we do education. It's because we want the electorate to be educated. It's pretty easy to make the same case about healthcare or foodstamps or unemployment insurance or social security. And yes I know your type, you'll start screaming about welfare queens or personal responsibility or something, but here's the dirty little secret - it is in your interest to do these things. We already have universal healthcare, for example, just literally the worst one imaginable - you can't be turned away at an ER. So only the people who are actually having heart attacks or are in labor get treatment, not people with high cholesterol or looking for prenatal care. Fuck them, which one is cheaper for you? Because the hospital sure doesn't eat the cost, they give it to you in the form of a $2000 MRI, which the insurance doesn't eat and you pay more for that. Some people who could barely afford insurance can't anymore, and then they become part of this problem.

                      We do that kind of thing a lot in this country - do the worst thing imaginable because of the fear that somewhere, somehow, a poor person might benefit. Even though (in the health care case, and others) it would literally be cheaper to just give everybody health care and pay for it with taxes - as evidenced by every nation with universal healthcare, the OMB, math, logic, etc.

                      Point being, you have a bad premise. It's at best short-sighted and at worst "fuck you", because it assumes that if anybody else benefits, you must therefore suffer. But doing the best thing for everyone can also be the best thing for you. This is some pretty basic civics, pretty well hashed out by a few hundred years ago. Hell, it's all over the bible itself - be nice to people and you get to go to heaven.

                  • Re:bollocks (Score:4, Insightful)

                    by twistofsin ( 718250 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @10:28AM (#43653423)

                    What do so many Americans have such fear/hatred of Socialism?

                    Because we like to think we deserve to use the money we earn in the way we choose.

                    From what I have observed from my countrymen this is correct, and until we change the way we view each other we don't deserve better.

                  • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                    by Hillgiant ( 916436 )

                    What do so many Americans have such fear/hatred of Socialism?

                    Because we like to think we deserve to use the money we earn in the way we choose.

                    Because we like to imagine that we are somehow separate from and superior to the society we live in.

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by Anonymous Coward

                  Indeed. Socialism is not a bad thing. I was born an American and have lived in not one, but three countries that have socialist economies. All three countries have a higher quality of life than the US, all three have universal healthcare, all three have very inexpensive university systems through the PhD level, the list goes on.

                  The average American with a family pays ~$5000 for the "right" to have health insurance. Taxes for better, actual guaranteed healthcare in other countries is far less, on average ~$2

                • Re:bollocks (Score:4, Interesting)

                  by IndustrialComplex ( 975015 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @09:26AM (#43652613)

                  Because in a nation with the size and diversity of the US, advocates of Socialism seem willfully blind to the fact that there are people who would disagree with the implementation.

                  On smaller scales (maybe statewide?) it's a different story. If I don't like the way something is implemented I can move to a state with other people who have similar beliefs. In reality, that wouldn't be possible if such things were implemented across the entire US.

                  • Re:bollocks (Score:4, Interesting)

                    by Remus Shepherd ( 32833 ) <> on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @03:21PM (#43657345) Homepage

                    Because in a nation with the size and diversity of the US, advocates of Socialism seem willfully blind to the fact that there are people who would disagree with the implementation.

                    On a tangential thought, why can't we have both? This is the future. We should have a customizable, user-friendly government and economic structure.

                    Maybe Citizen A prefers free enterprise, so he opts for a capitalist citizenship. He works for a living, pays a low level of taxes and receives little help from the government. Citizen B prefers a socialist citizenship, so he receives a stipend and single-payer health care, and a large portion of his earnings are sucked away in taxes. Citizen C lives in a shed down by the river and prefers the anarchist option; he pays no taxes and expects nothing from the government, and is indeed excluded from any laws that affect only himself. He can't hurt other people, but he can drink and do drugs all he likes.

                    There is no reason, in today's information-rich society, why every citizen can't choose among several different legal and economic options, all of which combine to form the government system of their country. All it would take is a database and a form for citizens to choose their option.

                    These systems -- capitalism, socialism, communism, anarchism -- they are not each others' enemy. They are different options that are all superior in some way, and people should get their choice in the way they want to live.

                • Re:bollocks (Score:4, Insightful)

                  by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @10:06AM (#43653129) Homepage Journal

                  What do so many Americans have such fear/hatred of Socialism?

                  Because it is the antithesis of the values and principals that America was built upon.

                  We value the individual, the person that can take his own matters into his own hands and succeed. Personal responsibility and individual effort are what brought such success to the US over its life, until about now.

                  The thought has been in the US, that the government is there just enough for basic needs (military, police, fire, etc), and largely stays out of your way to allow you to succeed or fail as you see fit.

                  Many (self included) see the recent years of people depending ever more on the govt., not taking responsibility for their own actions, people not being allowed to fail, and more and more intrusive govt. as being the major factors into our fiscal and economic woes.

                  The US was built upon the individual small business, and right now, it seems most all levels of govt are going out of their way to make this more and more difficult and kill things off.

                  The US was built and succeeded with methods directly opposing true socialism.

                  The needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many.

                  • The founding fathers also recognized that we're all in this together, and the only way we'll succeed is to work together. "We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately." Our country was built by individuals banding together to accomplish tasks that no individual can accomplish alone. We encourage both the individual *and* the group. You can see it in the most recent recession. People who had perfectly good homes and perfectly good jobs and ample savings who were no
      • Re:bollocks (Score:5, Insightful)

        by oh_my_080980980 ( 773867 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @08:56AM (#43652235)
        No one owes taxes on purchases made from companies that do not have operations in your state. That's how state sales tax works.
        • Re:bollocks (Score:5, Insightful)

          by pla ( 258480 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @09:04AM (#43652343) Journal
          Mod parent up! It disgusts me to hear US Senators not "get" that point.

          The customer may owe use tax in their state. The merchant has (or "had", if this turd of a bill passes the house) an obligation only to the states in which they have a physical presence.

          And this whole "level playing field" BS? Seriously? How many mom-n'-pops (and don't give me any lip about the $1M threshold, your corner convenience store easily has gross receipts 2-3x that) have to deal with the individual sales tax structures of every US state, countless counties, and even individual towns? And as if that doesn't get messy enough, figuring out which products fall into which tax categories in each of those jurisdictions?

          This won't hurt Amazon. This will merely annoy Amazon. It will destroy smaller online merchants, however - If not up front, then when the owner goes to prison for screwing up some obscure detail of NYC taxes on imported llama-hair socks.
          • Re:bollocks (Score:5, Insightful)

            by ducomputergeek ( 595742 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @09:46AM (#43652853)

            Not only this, but most people hear $1M in online sales, you must be rich!. They don't seem to realize that $1M in sales != $1M in profit. I do consulting work for a couple clients that are above the $1M per year in sales mark. One did about $1.4M in sales last year and had profits of less than $200k. The other did about $7M in online business last year and still had profits of less than $1M.

            Add in the additional legal and accounting costs for having to track at least 50 different taxing jurisdictions and up to potentially almost 10k and be up on all the changes to tax law and try to figure out what items are taxable's a nightmare. No only that but it's a legal minefield. For instance our state exempts certain grocery items from sales tax. And some of the things considered grocery items gets funky. An example: a big bag of potato chips are a grocery item. A small sized bag at a snack counter is not. Charge sales tax on the wrong item and get caught and the fine is rather steep even if it's an honest mistake.

            If I have a retail location in this state, I get to keep a percentage of the sales tax I collect to cover the cost of being the collector. What about the other states? How much of that tax collected will be owed? Now you times this by at least 50 opening up your legal liabilities tremendously.

      • By requiring online retailers to file sales tax nearly 50 times per year when they could have accomplished exactly the same thing by requiring online retailers to pay sales tax in their home state for all sales. They've vastly increased business costs, most of which will go not to the public purse but to wealthy accounting firms. I wonder whose idea that was.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It won't stand.

        Taxation requires representation. If I buy something in another state, I either have to be present for self-representation (as is the case with in-store purchases) or have a legislative representation appointed by a vote that I had a chance to participate in. This is NOT the case for ANY state. I cannot vote in other states, thus I have no representation, thus I cannot be taxed unless I'm physically present within the borders of their jurisdiction.

        So they try "reciprocity". Reciprocity destro

    • by Sancho ( 17056 )

      Well if I understand it correctly, this will actually lead to less revenue for the U.S. Government. They are not instituting a federal Internet sales tax--they are forcing merchants to collect sales tax that is due to the individual state in which the purchaser resides. Aside from the problems this will cause for smaller businesses on the Internet, this will increase the Federal deduction that individuals can claim due to payment of state taxes. Higher federal deductions == less money for the feds (thoug

  • by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @08:13AM (#43651961)

    to collect state sales tax to $10 million instead of $1 million per year.

    I predict that if the limit is raised to $10 million then companies will "outsource" sales to wholly owned subsidiaries. For example "Your order has been filled by Amazon West Houston INC"... which has sales below the threshold. At $1 million a year it would be debatable whether the large organisational overhead would be worthwhile for larger companies, but an $10 million it probably would be.

  • by cgiannelli ( 2740647 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @08:15AM (#43651973) Homepage
    Shopping at home is more convenient and less stress inducing. Societal courtesy is low, people wander about stores aimlessly blocking isles, screaming kids, yelling parents. Store personnel that ignore you, and if you ask for an item seem annoyed. 10 registers and 8 people in line but only a single register is ever open. It feels like an interrogation when you go through checkout "have our store card? want our store card? Did you know about this special? fill out this form? Zip code please, credit or debit?" and I just say "can i just pay and leave please?".

    Traditional retailers want business? Change their service, train staff better, have more registers open, kick out the rabble who just hang out in stores and never buy stuff. Most of all lower prices. Even with shipping and sales taxes, I've bought quite a few items online far cheaper. It adds up. Time saved, gas saved, not desiring to punch a moron, or rude person. Despite our need to be around people, malls and shopping just sucks. It's not the same pleasant experience it used to be.

    • by adosch ( 1397357 )

      Couldn't agree more. I do prefer online purchasing for those very reasons myself. I think it also comes down to simply getting the 'best' deal, and if that's brick-and-mortar or online with 2-day S&H, that's what it is. I think there's also some convenience in there, too, especially if there's something you want. It's all what you are willing to pay for that item you want, need or can't live without. I know it's not going to break the bank for me to pay the 5-7% sales tax on items online, I just ho

    • Exactly. If traditional retailers are struggling to compete with the internet model, maybe it's because the traditional model is now obsolete and should just be left to die. I know there is the whole jobs and outsourcing issues, but we cant keep the dying breed on life support forever because people are depending on it.
      • by __aaltlg1547 ( 2541114 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @08:55AM (#43652221)

        If local retailers go out of business, you will regret it because sometimes you need that new gooseneck or pair of shoes right now. Two day delivery doesn't cut it when you have an immediate need. It's fine for stuff that you DON'T need. It also doesn't work at all well for the kinds of thing where you need hands and eyes on the product to decide whether it's the thing you want.

        The kinds of sales where online works well are when you either know exactly what you want (down to the model number) or don't particularly care because a wide variety of items fit the bill.

        • by mjr167 ( 2477430 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @11:46AM (#43654611)

          The kinds of sales where online works well are when you either know exactly what you want (down to the model number) or don't particularly care because a wide variety of items fit the bill.

          So what kinds of items are left? Either I know exactly what I want or I want or I'm ok with whatever is on the shelf in front of me... I have found more variety and better stuff on line. I have also found the luxury of actually doing research on the product I am trying to buy. I buy diapers and cat food from Amazon, shipped to my door on a regular basis. There are actually very few items that you really do need NOW and not in two days, assuming you are capable of forethought and planning. There actually people that buy ALL their groceries online and have them delivered to their door.

          I bought a swing set online the other day and it was shipped to my door with free shipping. Had I bought the swingset from the storefront I would have had to find a way to transport it home.

      • The traditional model is not bad or "obsolete", is poorly implemented. I personally still prefer to go into a store and see personally the product I intend to buy. The problem is when the retailer do not invest in the structure it should have (more attendees, more space, more options) to be able to sell to you.
      • there is a difference between 'struggling to compete with model xxx' and 'struggling to compete with someone who has a 5% tax advantage on prices'

        it may well be that they can't compete and should die, but it isn't clear why there is anything fundamentally different between buying something at your shop, and buying it online from another state with respect to whether the government can/should add a tax.

        You buy all your stuff online, I buy all my stuff from the local stores. Why am I the only one contributing

    • by davidbrit2 ( 775091 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @08:35AM (#43652099) Homepage
      So what you're saying is that they should reduce marketing, spend more on training and staffing, and shrink the clientele, while at the same time lowering prices? Interesting strategy, but I don't think "reduce revenue and increase operational overhead" would have the desired result.
      • by pla ( 258480 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @08:56AM (#43652237) Journal
        So what you're saying is that they should reduce marketing, spend more on training and staffing, and shrink the clientele, while at the same time lowering prices? Interesting strategy, but I don't think "reduce revenue and increase operational overhead" would have the desired result.

        The sooner stores realize who actually spends money at them, the better. The vast majority of businesses would do far, far better if they could shed the bottom 10-20% of their customers - The coupon cutters who tie up lines for half an hour and end up paying $6.99 for 30x that value in groceries and then count out pennies one... by... one... to pay (and then end up $0.04 short); the medicaid customers who "can't afford" that $2 copay but buy smokes in a separate transaction; the "window shoppers" who just use the physical store as a gallery.

        On the flip side, when I walk into a store, I know beforehand what I want, I walk immediately to it, I take it to the register, and I have some appropriate form of payment ready before the cashier wants it. And while the necessity annoys me, I even have a "No!" handy to each BS upcharge and bit of personal info your marketing department has forced the poor cashiers to beg for this week. Bam, in and out in a minute and a half, and quite likely one of your most profitable customers of the day in terms of what you had to do to get my money.

        If you kick out the former so I don't find every visit to your brick-and-mortar an entirely loathsome experience... Y'know, I'd honestly rather not wait a week for shipping. But, as long as I can get a better experience online - Well, don't complain that the online stores have killed you, when in reality, you've pulled the equivalent of a slow suicide by eating nothing but crappy fast food.
      • by dhermann ( 648219 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @09:16AM (#43652451)
        Tell me more about this "rabble" to which you refer. Can we easily identify them to make ejection procedures? Do I need to print out a Whole Foods shopping list to show to security personnel? Will there be a credit check at the door to ensure that a potential customer can afford to shop at Crate & Barrel? Or perhaps you would prefer to filter by skin tone?
    • by axl917 ( 1542205 )

      Traditional retailers want business? Change their service, train staff better, have more registers open, kick out the rabble who just hang out in stores and never buy stuff. Most of all lower prices.

      I don't disagree per se, but how do you expect them to invest in better training and hiring, increased staff, etc...while lowering prices? If anything, that added cost would be passed down to the consumer via higher prices.

    • by jbmartin6 ( 1232050 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @08:46AM (#43652147)
      I said roughly the same thing when the Best Buy CEO was complaining about people using BB as a showroom for the Internet. I thought "You are really complaining that people are coming into your store?" That chump wanted to blame everyone else when people who WANTED to buy something were in his store and left empty handed. That's called opportunity, how do you get to be a CEO without recognizing this? Instead of looking into the top reasons people don't buy in the store, which you mentioned, and doing something about it. I was just in Target the other day looking at TVs and the only employee around was hunched over a laptop off in the corner studiously ignoring everyone. Well I guess an online retailer gets the sale. I wanted a big red button under the TV that I could press if I wanted to buy it. And no I don't want the goddamn Spanish Inquisition about club cards and extended warranties. Those last two are the sort of crap you get when you put stock analysts and accountants in charge of the company.
    • A few things that would improve things a lot in stores

      1 issue the staff scanners with barcode and CC readers so they can ring stuff at the racks

      2 keep a better track of whats in store

      3 have a buy in store send from warehouse service ( invert the ship to store thing)

      4 have at least one person in the store keeping the sales folks going

      oh and as to the "riff raff" sometimes they do actually buy stuff (or bring folks that do buy)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      You shop where you find it convenient. Traditional or the net. But the tax is due either way. Eithter you allow the retailer to collect the sales tax and remit it or you track it cleanly and file the taxes yourself. If you are going to take the route, "Come and collect the taxes if you can". Then you are simply a tax dodger and a tax cheat. All this protestations about traditional marketers are thin veneer for the show. Basically you want to dodge the tax.
  • by schwit1 ( 797399 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @08:20AM (#43652007)

    The web front end and credit card transactions are in Bermuda, but the shipments are from a warehouse in the states? Is the seller obligated to collect state taxes.

  • Bipartisan (Score:5, Funny)

    by stewbee ( 1019450 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @08:21AM (#43652009)
    I for one am glad to see that congress can come together on such an important bill.
  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @08:31AM (#43652075) Homepage
    bipartisan effort working together to screw the common american. Major multinational corporations are entirely exempt from burdens like taxation, while wageslaves enjoy a cornucopia of arcane, recursive taxation. That some how we're not supposed to talk about class warfare, why we all make shit-tier pay, or what sand encrusted foreign clusterfuck our taxes are being shoveled into.

    it leads me to believe Hollyoaks has it all wrong. That Tony Stark only runs around fixing problems he created in the first place. that Batman is just the billionaire boilerplate we've come to recognize as our perpetual prison industrial complex. That should a revolution ever befall this great nation it will start with a flaming Wal-Mart, and not stop until every mansion and chateau from marthas vinyard to kennebunkport is reduced to a smoldering pile of ash twisted wrought iron.
  • that there are 50 states and 50 different tax laws, and that's just domestic commerce is a huge problem. The benifits of internet commerce will ensure that online retailers don't go away, but ultimately there will emmerge a new system of state taxes that erases barriers between interstate comerce. The power of the internet is not going to be ignored, rather the world will eventually adapt to several billion people becoming virtual next door neighbors.

    • You're forgetting every county and municipal sales tax there might be.

      And let's not forget that each state classifies items differently, and sometimes in really ambiguous ways. Is bottled water considered 'food'? (and thus not taxed in some areas) What food items are considered 'ready to eat' and thus subjected to various 'snack' taxes?

      When this came up years ago, there was a push for there to be one body per state responsible for sorting out all of the sales taxes (and to be the point of payment), so th

  • by ( 1238654 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @08:42AM (#43652121)

    Some big online retailers charge you sales tax, some patchwork of others do. Currently, I have to dig back through receipts to report unpaid sales tax come April and it's a hassle. How about some of you stop your whining and accept that a tax code should be consistently applied.

    • Sales taxes haven't been applied to catalog businesses for decades. What's the difference between a dead tree catalog and a catalog on the inter webs?

    • They were obligated to under state laws already. It's just that the states had no way to enforce their laws on businesses with no physical presence in their borders. (There was nobody to arrest for tax evasion and no property to seize within their jurisdictions.) However, you will see an immediate legal challenge if this law passes. Not sure on what basis, but there's too much money at stake businesses to not try to kill it with a lawsuit.

  • god bless sales tax-free New Hampshire.

  • by Ron Bennett ( 14590 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @08:59AM (#43652271) Homepage

    Among the challenges of collecting sales tax is there are thousands of taxing jurisdictions. And often the boundaries don't correspond to any zipcode nor even a particular municipality. In addition, sales tax jurisdictions can and often do overlap - ie. city and county.

    Even a state that doesn't levy a sales tax itself may allow local authorities to do so, such as some local Alaskan towns do.

    To make matters worse, there are numerous categories and exceptions in what's taxable depending on what it is, the amount purchased, the location / manner in which it's sold (ie. food item purchased in a convenience store verses supermarket; consumed on premises or take-out) and when (tax holidays, etc).

    And then there's the matter of filing dozens of state sales tax returns - some will expect filings every month, some quarterly, etc. And the time-frames will often differ, so one could find themselves filing sales tax forms practically every month or even more often depending on sales volume. And that's not even getting into dealing with compliance checks that states may perform at any time.

    Bottom line is sales tax is far more challenging to collect than many realize. It's not 50 states, but rather thousands of taxing jurisdictions with numerous different rates, rules, exemptions, etc.

    There is talk of simplifying the collection process for on-line retailers, which would lessen the burden, especially to small businesses.

  • General Electric (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tekrat ( 242117 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @09:38AM (#43652785) Homepage Journal

    GE paid zero corporate income taxes. ZERO. On a company that continuously reports record profits. They "offshore" most of their money so they don't even have to pay taxes on the interest they earn. Exxon Mobil plays the same games, but they're in an even better position because they receive subsidies from the government, so their taxes are actually negative (the government gives them money), on top of their record profits.

    My guess is that the larger online retailers will have to start playing these games as well. Amazon for sure, will probably charge us (the buyer) taxes, and then offshore the income, so that those taxes never get to the states they should.

    Therefore, Amazon will actually get more income from every product sold, and that money will go right into Bezo's pocket. Because he has lawyers and accountants to make that money vanish into his mansion(s), without ever reporting it to the government.

    And if not, it's fairly easy to buy a few senators and congressmen and make the problem go away.

  • by techno-vampire ( 666512 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @11:25AM (#43654313) Homepage
    The US Constitution states quite clearly that all revenue and spending bills must originate in the House of Representatives. It doesn't matter how good or bad this bill is, having it introduced in the Senate is unconstitutional, and I predict that it will get shot down very, very fast when it reaches the House because regardless of how badly some of the Representatives want this, they're not about to let the Senate step on their own privileges.

To do two things at once is to do neither. -- Publilius Syrus