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Last post Author Topic: Internet Sales Tax Passed  (Read 7067 times)

Tinman57

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Internet Sales Tax Passed
« on: May 07, 2013, 07:27:39 PM »

[ The internet sales can't compete with brick and mortar stores if you have to pay for shipping & handling AND taxes...]

Quote
Senate passes Internet sales tax

05.06.2013 10:44 PM

The U.S. Senate has voted to allow states to collect sales tax from online retailers, making it more difficult to buy tax-free products online.

http://tinyurl.com/crustt4

eleman

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Re: Internet Sales Tax Passed
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2013, 01:39:28 AM »
But online stores do not have to pay for fancy store designs, store rent, franchise fees, and salaries of as many staff as brick and mortar thingies have to employ.

I'm curious what will be the next argument of those who are feeling the brunt of obsolescence.

app103

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Re: Internet Sales Tax Passed
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2013, 04:35:41 AM »
It has nothing to do with brick & mortar being able to compete with online stores. It has to do with people evading taxes by buying online.

If you live in a state where residents are subject to sales tax, you are supposed to be paying the tax on any and all taxable goods, regardless of where you bought it from...whether it's locally, online, or in another state. Just because a merchant didn't collect the tax doesn't mean you are off the hook for it. Technically, you are supposed to report it and pay it when you file your state income taxes. But nobody does that and the states lose a lot of money because of it.

Online stores will not be charging you this extra money, they don't get to keep it. They are collecting the tax you owe on the purchase and turning it over to the state you live in.

The alternative would be forcing online merchants to give customer data to the states, who bought what and how much it cost, and if you don't pay the taxes on it when you file your income taxes, they come and arrest you and charge you with tax evasion. Because that's what it is when you deliberately don't pay your taxes.


kyrathaba

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Re: Internet Sales Tax Passed
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2013, 06:52:30 AM »
^ 100% correct.

wraith808

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Re: Internet Sales Tax Passed
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2013, 06:54:02 AM »
It has nothing to do with brick & mortar being able to compete with online stores.

That is one of the most naive statements I've ever heard.  Have you seen who the lobbyists are to the legislative body that caused this even to be an issue/brought up before the legislature?  

Quote
Among the groups supporting the Marketplace Fairness Act are the American Conservative Union, Consumer Electronics Association, the National Retail Federation, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, Amazon.com, Best Buy, the American Booksellers Association and the Alliance for Main Street Fairness.


And look at the name of the Act... they aren't shying away from this at all, i.e. the Marketplace Fairness Act.  And if it was because of the fact that they are losing revenue, why is there an exemption clause?  At the level of the exemption, this is aimed squarely at larger sellers, i.e. Amazon.

Quote
"The bill would protect small Main Street businesses from unfair competition from Internet sellers," said Senator Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican.

And while what you say is true in theory, it is also not true universally.  Some states don't charge a use tax for transactions out of state.  And it places an undue burden on those (especially small businesses) that do business with out of state customers, having to keep up with the tax laws in each state/municipality, since even in a state, the sales tax for the local region varies by municipality.  And it changes.  That's not an insignificant amount of data to keep up with, and you can be that they will have to pay for the service.  While the B&M will only have to worry about a grand total of 1.  And then having to deal with the disbursements to each municipality state separately.  Believe me, having worked in retail for a small shop in a state where they passed something similar (but it was amended and watered down later because of the collateral damage), it's a lot easier and in the long run less expensive just not to ship out of state depending on your revenue from the same. (section 2 on tax simplification handles this, and creates a mandate to create, maintain, and provide for free the software to do this)

Though they tout the revenue gained by this, it was squarely and surely aimed at the online retailers, not the consumers.  And it was squarely aimed at increasing the perceived costs (though you say they won't be charging you, the perception is totally different).

And what about all of those people selling second hand good on e-bay and amazon marketplace? (Section 2c handles this, as you have to have reported sales of over $1 million a calendar year to be required to collect taxes)

This is one of those times that I'm glad that neither party has a majority in both branches of Congress.  Hopefully it won't make it out of the House alive.

UPDATE: I completely read through the bill, and the part stricken above isn't applicable to this, because of a couple of provisions.  Though it does require that the state provide at its own cost the software to report, maintain a database of products, and allow payment.  Knowing (from working for the state on a few software contracts) how inefficient and sometimes almost criminal the waste is on these projects, one also wonders the actual revenue that each state will actually receive after paying taxpayer monies for such programs/maintenance...

ADDITION: In my opinion, if what we're really concerned with is the tax remuneration, there's an easy way to deal with it.  The taxes should be collected for the state where the company is located.  Instead of a use tax, just make it a sales tax.  Charging for use of the item is just backwards, it's called a sales tax, and should be a sales tax if you're going to collect it.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2013, 07:02:21 AM by wraith808 »

40hz

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Re: Internet Sales Tax Passed
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2013, 08:45:35 AM »
[/b] In my opinion, if what we're really concerned with is the tax remuneration, there's an easy way to deal with it.  The taxes should be collected for the state where the company is located.  Instead of a use tax, just make it a sales tax.  Charging for use of the item is just backwards, it's called a sales tax, and should be a sales tax if you're going to collect it.

My state agrees. They assess a "use" tax  you're supposed to pay - and call it that. But you file for sales and use taxes on the same forms. And both taxes use the exact same rates and rules. The only difference is in who (theoretically) actually remits the money to the state. Sales taxes are remitted by the seller. Use taxes by the buyer. Otherwise it's identical.

Maybe a better term  would be: commercial transaction tax? :P

***

Only be a matter of time before they bring back those so-called Fair-Trade laws too.

 8)
« Last Edit: May 08, 2013, 08:56:05 AM by 40hz »

wraith808

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Re: Internet Sales Tax Passed
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2013, 09:10:15 AM »
Only be a matter of time before they bring back those so-called Fair-Trade laws too.

You kid... but hmmm...

Couldn't the taxes in the way that they are levied as use taxes be considered a reverse tariff?  I wouldn't doubt that is the way that we're going.  And since much of the economic recovery has been fueled by online sales (which is the other reason for the Act... to tap into this increase), and the economic recovery is still an ongoing process, it seems that the results have been predicted by history.

zridling

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Re: Internet Sales Tax Passed
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2013, 09:48:15 AM »
But in the case of software, I'm rarely ever buying it, only licensing its use in a specifically limited way.

Republicans have been fighting since the first Clinton administration to get an internet sales tax. I guess Walmart.com is hurting Walmart sales, is that the argument?

wraith808

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Re: Internet Sales Tax Passed
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2013, 09:59:12 AM »
Republicans have been fighting since the first Clinton administration to get an internet sales tax.

I was going to go there.  But I stopped at the NAFTA reference. :)

40hz

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Re: Internet Sales Tax Passed
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2013, 12:05:43 PM »
Republicans have been fighting since the first Clinton administration to get an internet sales tax. I guess Walmart.com is hurting Walmart sales, is that the argument?

Maybe the states are hoping to cut into Big W's revenue enough that it can't so easily pay the penalty (under the new rules) for continuing to not provide health insurance coverage for its legion of retail employees. ;)

app103

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Re: Internet Sales Tax Passed
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2013, 01:30:39 PM »
Up until now, states could not force businesses in another state to collect their taxes for them. They could only force businesses within their own state to do so. In order for a state to be able to force a business in another state to collect their taxes, it would take an act of Congress.

Now let's go back to the days before the internet and online shopping to see what kind of effect those kinds of restrictions had...

Mail order: Anyone wanting to save some money and evade state sales taxes could buy from a catalog, from a business located outside their state, and not comply with their state's laws about reporting it and paying the taxes due. States could not force the out of state mail order business to collect their taxes for them. Every sale made through a mail order catalog for the purpose of tax evasion was a lost sale to a brick & mortar store.

More recently in the brick and mortar world: New Jersey does not tax clothing. At one time, residents of NYC had to pay over 8% sales tax on clothing purchases made within NYC. Christmas time and back to school shopping by residents of NYC meant a lot of shoppers crossing the river into NJ to save money by evading the sales tax in NYC. NYC businesses lost a lot of sales due to this rampant tax evasion and the fact that NY couldn't force NJ businesses to collect their taxes for them.

What made matters even worse was the fact that NJ set up enterprise zones within the state. For any town or city that qualified as an enterprise zone by having a higher than state average rate of unemployment, the sales tax collected on purchases made from business having over a certain number of employees, was reduced by 50%. This meant that shopping at those businesses was more attractive than shopping at a business that didn't have a bunch of employees.

Within the state it means that businesses within more well off towns lose business to inner city shopping centers. And locally within declared enterprise zones, small mom & pop businesses without any employees, lose business to the larger corporate chain stores.  

And when you consider that one of those enterprise zones is right across the river from NYC, in Jersey City, and there is a HUGE mall there convenient to public transportation, it was very easy for NYC residents to evade not only the tax on clothing by shopping there, but on purchases that were also taxable in NJ, they only paid 3.5%.

There was nothing NYC could do about it. They couldn't force the shops at the malls in NJ to collect their taxes for them. So they responded by reducing and/or eliminating the tax on clothing during certain times of the year to give residents an incentive to shop locally instead of in NJ. Eventually they eliminated the sales tax on clothing items under $100. Of course didn't eliminate the problem with people crossing the river to buy expensive electronics, paying 3.5% NJ sales tax instead of over 8% in NYC.

Now, all of this would never have been an issue if people didn't evade taxes. If everyone actually submitted the tax due to their state on out of state purchases, there would have been much less incentive for them to shop out of state, through mail order catalogs, or even online. Or if states could force businesses in other states to collect their taxes for them, it would have eliminated the rampant tax evasion altogether.

Would all those shoppers have crossed the river into NJ to shop for their kid's school clothing if they were reporting the purchases to their state and paying the taxes due? Would they have crossed the river into NJ if NY could have forced NJ businesses to collect their taxes for them? Would people have made expensive out of state mail order purchases if they paid the taxes due on them? Would they have still ordered from the same mail order company if that company had been required to collect the tax due on their purchases?

Would there have been such rampant tax evasion if the states had a way of knowing if a resident had made a large out of state purchases that the taxes had not been collected on, and made a point of yanking them out of bed in the middle of the night and arresting them, charging them with tax evasion if they didn't report it within the required length of time?

So is the problem brick & mortar stores? Mail order catalogs? Internet businesses? Other states? Or the fact that up until now, states could not force businesses in other states to collect their taxes? Or is it the shoppers, themselves, not complying with the laws in their state and paying the taxes they are supposed to be paying?

Honestly, if you are pissed off that your state now has a way to stop you from evading taxes, the problem isn't the fact they can force you to comply with the law, the problem isn't Congress allowing them to do it, the problem is within your state...the tax laws themselves. And if you don't like how much your state charges in taxes and for what, take it up with your state's law makers and don't blame Congress for it, because it's your state that is the problem this time, not the federal government.

Go TP your state capitol, like we did in NJ in 1990, to protest almost $3 billion in tax increases that included taxing tons of previously exempt items, like toilet paper! We managed to get most of it repealed.



wraith808

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Re: Internet Sales Tax Passed
« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2013, 03:38:06 PM »
Honestly, if you are pissed off that your state now has a way to stop you from evading taxes, the problem isn't the fact they can force you to comply with the law, the problem isn't Congress allowing them to do it, the problem is within your state...the tax laws themselves. And if you don't like how much your state charges in taxes and for what, take it up with your state's law makers and don't blame Congress for it, because it's your state that is the problem this time, not the federal government.

This is missing the point.

It's sort of like the whole patent fight.  Is what they're doing with software and hardware patents legal?  Is it legal to patent the shape of an iphone and sue samsung for it?  Apparently so.

But is that legality best for the consumers and the economy or the businesses?

I think we can all answer that question.

And that's the point of this Act.  It isn't to make things better for the consumers or the taxpayers or the economy.  It's not even to make things better for the state, though that is a side effect.  It's a result of lobby gone mad, and competition by legislation rather than competition on its own merits. 

And this is shown by the exclusions clause.  How much more revenue (if that was the point) could they get without such a generous exclusion?  You could reduce it to $100,000, get a lot more evaded taxes, and not penalize Mrs. Housewife selling her children's old clothes on ebay to pay for the new clothes.  But by removing that exclusion, Main Street would be penalized, as they would be hoisted by their own petard.

It is what it is, and it's not what's best for the consumers nor the economy. 

It's trade regulation, not tax regulation.  And any statement otherwise is either naive or willfully oblivious to the political environment that surrounds this decision.

Tinman57

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Re: Internet Sales Tax Passed
« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2013, 04:29:50 PM »
I'm curious what will be the next argument of those who are feeling the brunt of obsolescence.

  So everyone who raises the BS flag on this issue is "feeling the brunt of obsolescence?"  That really sounds adolescent to me.  Don't confuse obsolescence for knowledgeability that is mostly found in the seasoned....

Tinman57

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Re: Internet Sales Tax Passed
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2013, 08:13:24 PM »

Quote
Survey: US residents oppose Internet sales tax

05.13.2013 2:03 PM

Sixty-one percent of U.S. residents surveyed by online postage vendor Endicia said they don't support the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would allow states with sales taxes to collect those taxes from large online retailers.

http://lm.pcworld.co...73/5571255/362474/0/

Edvard

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Re: Internet Sales Tax Passed
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2013, 08:56:55 PM »
Does selling from one state to another count as an export?  Because if so, my son pointed out that this tax would be unconstitutional:

Quote
Article I, Section 9, Clause 5:
No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.


40hz

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Re: Internet Sales Tax Passed
« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2013, 12:56:58 AM »
Does selling from one state to another count as an export?  Because if so, my son pointed out that this tax would be unconstitutional:

Quote
Article I, Section 9, Clause 5:
No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.

IIRC, that article meant that the federal government did not have the authority to impose federal taxes or duties on interstate commerce. The states do, however, retain the right to tax as they will as long as it is not done with the intent to restrict or stop interstate commerce.

That's why I think it was so important to the state tax authorities that every state with a sales/use tax be assessing it on all internet purchases. If only a few states did it, there might be an argument made that it was really an attempt to impeded or obstruct interstate commerce as opposed to a simple plan to get more state tax revenue. Hence the federal regulation which is being enacted. And apparently it's being done with the consent of virtually every state government. At least AFAICT.



Edvard

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Re: Internet Sales Tax Passed
« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2013, 07:31:19 PM »
Actually, according to Wikipediaw the original intent was to prohibit federal government from taxing products unique to a state or region and exported internationally.
Quote
This provision was an important protection for the southern states secured during the Constitutional Convention. With the grant of absolute power over foreign commerce given to the federal government, the states whose economies relied chiefly on exports realized that any tax laid by the new central government upon a single item of export would apply very unevenly amongst all the states and favor states which did not export that good.
Think cotton from the southern states, or maple syrup from the northern ones.

Either way, in a perfect world (see wut i did thar?) it wouldn't matter two flips who consents, if it's unconstitutional, it either shouldn't happen or can be successfully challenged in court.  But then again, when was the last time we were residents in Perfect World?  :-\

app103

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Re: Internet Sales Tax Passed
« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2013, 06:10:11 PM »
Does selling from one state to another count as an export?  Because if so, my son pointed out that this tax would be unconstitutional:

Quote
Article I, Section 9, Clause 5:
No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.

It's not an export tax at all, not even in the states that have a sales tax. It's quite the opposite. It's an import tax on out of state goods that only applies to the residents of that state. It treats goods bought from all states, equally. It does not tax good from any state, only goods to a state that has a sales tax.

So, good bought by residents of state A that has no sales tax, from state B that does have one, still would not be taxed. And goods bought by residents of state B, regardless of where they are from (in state or out), would be taxed.

And as far as being unconstitutional:

Section. 8.

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
[...]
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

Which means Congress has the power to enact laws affecting interstate commerce, and this one that allows states to force other states to respect their sales tax laws, and collect the taxes their residents owe on purchases made in another state is perfectly constitutional. In fact, this is why we have a Congress, in the first place.

Quote
Survey: US residents oppose Internet sales tax

05.13.2013 2:03 PM

Sixty-one percent of U.S. residents surveyed by online postage vendor Endicia said they don't support the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would allow states with sales taxes to collect those taxes from large online retailers.

http://lm.pcworld.co...73/5571255/362474/0/

LOL! The pole results only suggest that sales tax evaders are dumber than the average criminal.

Ask any other bunch of criminals if they oppose a law that would make it harder for them to get away with their crimes and you would most likely get much higher results.  ;D

Edvard

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Re: Internet Sales Tax Passed
« Reply #18 on: May 17, 2013, 08:12:25 PM »
Well, that's pretty much one of the big draws of internet sales, but I figure many folks have the attitude of "well, it was going to happen sooner or later" so those numbers are not surprising.  
I hate sales tax not because of taxes per se, but because I personally think it's idiotic that no-one has the fecking common decency to tell me how much a thingamabob is after taxes until it's already rung up and I've committed to purchasing the item.  Coming from Oregon to Washington, that was royal pain in the seat.  I mean, how forking hard would it be for merchants to just charge the price listed and figure the taxes afterwards?  Maybe even post how much it was before taxes in the small print or on the receipt, I wouldn't mind, and folks like me prolly wouldn't get so upset.  
>:(   Seems logical to ME anyways...

Tinman57

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Re: Internet Sales Tax Passed
« Reply #19 on: May 17, 2013, 08:33:29 PM »

Quote
As Heritage President Jim DeMint has said, this violates the classic American principle of “no taxation without representation.” Retailers would be forced to act as tax collectors for states in which they have no voice. 

http://blog.heritage...-internet-sales-tax/

Quote
Such online sales tax proposals are taxation without representation. The proposed federal law tells businesses that there is no escape from the clutches of tax-hungry politicians. That concept is antithetical to our federalist system, which promotes competition among our states for the best economic policies.

http://online.wsj.co...559414267708728.html

app103

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Re: Internet Sales Tax Passed
« Reply #20 on: May 17, 2013, 10:47:21 PM »
Quote
As Heritage President Jim DeMint has said, this violates the classic American principle of “no taxation without representation.” Retailers would be forced to act as tax collectors for states in which they have no voice. 

http://blog.heritage...-internet-sales-tax/

Quote
Such online sales tax proposals are taxation without representation. The proposed federal law tells businesses that there is no escape from the clutches of tax-hungry politicians. That concept is antithetical to our federalist system, which promotes competition among our states for the best economic policies.

http://online.wsj.co...559414267708728.html


Merchants are not being taxed by a state in which they do not have representation. They are not paying the tax. They are collecting it. (big difference) Their customers are the ones being taxed, they are the ones paying it, and they do have representation in the state in which they live.

barney

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Re: Internet Sales Tax Passed
« Reply #21 on: May 18, 2013, 08:05:13 AM »
... they do have representation in the state in which they live.

That could be debated ... difference 'tween representative 'n representation  :P.

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Re: Internet Sales Tax Passed
« Reply #22 on: May 18, 2013, 10:24:49 AM »
LOL! The pole results only suggest that sales tax evaders are dumber than the average criminal.

So, that means that the Act allows more criminals to go free?  Or else why only large online retailers?  If we're going to go the criminal route, then we look at the meaning of Equal Justice Under Law, i.e.

Quote
By the Fourteenth Amendment the powers of the States in dealing with crime within their borders are not limited, but no State can deprive particular persons or classes of persons of equal and impartial justice under the law.

But, "Equal justice under law" is one of America's most widely violated legal principles, especially by lawyers and lawmakers, so that, of course, won't come up unless the constitutionality is argued, which it seems that at least Amazon's policy seems to be make the most of rather than challenge at this point.

But, again, this has nothing to do with law.  And has nothing to do with criminal action.  It has more to do with trade regulation and 'marketplace fairness'.  And though I've said it before, I'll continue to say it every time that old chestnut is repeated, because it's an important distinction.

If it was being applied fairly and uniformly, then I'd really have no problem with it.  If the reasons it was being brought up were because of legal reasons, I'd have no problem with it.  But it's being brought up to interfere with the state of interstate commerce.  And that's, again, an important distinction.

And because of that, when Amazon starts offering same day delivery to everyone, which is what they're in the process of doing, so that you can order something online and get it the same day, and don't have to go out other than as an entertainment exercise, and profits continue to drop because they don't want to compete based on customer service rather than legislative fiction, what will be the next step?  QQ more?

michaelkenward

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Re: Internet Sales Tax Passed
« Reply #23 on: May 19, 2013, 11:59:34 AM »
I hate sales tax not because of taxes per se, but because I personally think it's idiotic that no-one has the fecking common decency to tell me how much a thingamabob is after taxes until it's already rung up and I've committed to purchasing the item.

This always puzzles Europeans, among others. Here all prices include tax. You pay what is on the tag.



MK

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Re: Internet Sales Tax Passed
« Reply #24 on: May 19, 2013, 01:13:52 PM »
I hate sales tax not because of taxes per se, but because I personally think it's idiotic that no-one has the fecking common decency to tell me how much a thingamabob is after taxes until it's already rung up and I've committed to purchasing the item.

This always puzzles Europeans, among others. Here all prices include tax. You pay what is on the tag.

That would seriously complicate things, if a customer was the holder of an exemption certificate. Also, a re-pricing nightmare if the tax rate changes.