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Congress Takes Up Online Sales Tax 297

head_dunce writes "A bill introduced Thursday by a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers seeks to make it easier for states to collect sales taxes stemming from online purchases. Amazon is among the e-retailers supporting the proposal, while a lobbying group representing eBay and stands opposed. From the article: '"Small businesses and states alike are suffering from the inability to collect due -- not new -- taxes from purchases made online," said Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., adding the legislation is a "bipartisan, bicameral, common-sense solution that promotes states' rights and levels the playing field for our Main Street businesses."'"
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Congress Takes Up Online Sales Tax

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  • by ArchieBunker ( 132337 ) on Friday February 15, 2013 @09:53AM (#42909403) Homepage

    Only idiot politicians give out tax suspensions. Its happened several times with VW and Sony. As soon as the 10 year suspension was up both companies packed up and left.

  • Re:Yay! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Friday February 15, 2013 @10:07AM (#42909583)

    Because local sales taxes, property taxes, state and federal income taxes, capital gains taxes, and all of the additional fees that people forget are actually just taxes isn't enough, apparently. And of course, the justification is always "well, but when you buy a video game that is shipped from another state, it has to travel over our roads -- so our state incurs an expense, even if the business you did business with is 2,000 miles away".

    Of course, they conveniently ignore the fact that the companies doing the delivery of your product (UPS, FEDEX, DHL, etc) already pay taxes for doing business in that state for transporting your good. And buy gas, with included gas taxes for road usage. So, really, what individual states are demanding is additional revenue for incurring absolutely no cost or wear and tear. It's a money grab by a bunch of irresponsible pigs who can't handle what they're already given to budget with.

    The big box stores go right along with it, because they're tired of the online competition. That's their only motivation. Somehow, they have this idea that if I have to pay taxes to Amazon for a product they'll deliver to my doorstep in 24-48hrs that I'll change my mind and drive a few miles to go buy the same thing for at least as much and for the same amount of sales tax in their store. Pretty shitty logic. It's less hassle to just go the online route, even with taxes. In fact, I'm more likely to do it just to spite the big box brick and mortar stores.

    Anyway, it's a lost cause. It'll be taxed, because the pigs want it taxed. And it won't help anything, because the more money they get, the more they spend. It's just really depressing when you consider how much money you're handing over every April and how little will be done with it, compared to how much of an impact it could make to you. For the taxes I just paid this time around, I could have put a kid through four years of a good state college and had enough left over for them to buy a car. Or I could have helped my mother with her retirement after decades of working in a thankless and harrowing job with no real retirement opportunities or benefits. I could have covered her salary for three and a half years, making retirement a possibility for her. Instead, it'll probably go toward 20% of a drone purchase or installing two speed bumps. And that sort of waste is why people are so disgruntled with paying taxes. If they felt the work and money they are just handing over was being respected and used wisely, they'd feel that sense of "hey, it's my civic duty". When it's just being used as a free pot of money by a bunch of irresponsible pigs, you just feel like you're getting fucked.

  • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) * on Friday February 15, 2013 @10:34AM (#42909861)

    And yet they still benefited.

    But on average they benefit less than if these special tax deals were not offered all. It is a version of the prisoners dilemma. You can only "win" if you defect while everyone else cooperates. But if everyone defects, we all lose.

    Personally, I think these tax breaks are unconstitutional, because they violate the equal protection clause. Why should one business get a special exemption, when others (including their competitors) do not?

  • by Creepy ( 93888 ) on Friday February 15, 2013 @10:41AM (#42909933) Journal

    You worked for the wrong people then. Most of my relatives are from small towns, and several owned stores and one family a restaurant. On my mom's side, the whole town believed in doing what is best for your neighbor, and if you couldn't afford something you needed, say, at the hardware store, the owner would help you out or cut the price to something you could afford. Probably has something to do with them being Mennonite, but I grew up with that mentality - do something good for your neighbor, and they will do something good for you. Note this is not on the commune - these were former communal Mennonites, but they still got together to build each other's barns and stuff.

  • by judoguy ( 534886 ) on Friday February 15, 2013 @11:09AM (#42910321) Homepage
    All the talk here about "fairness" and companies needing to "Pay their share" completely misses the point.

    The real problem is voracious government entities that will NEVER be satisfied with how much they take from you. NEVER.

    You want fairness? Get rid of the sales tax on the brick and mortar stores. What? We can’t do that need that money! For the children! To buy civilization!

    We are WAY past “buying civilization”. The only question discussed by any parasitic government entity is how quickly to kill the host.

    And yes, the host is dying. The U.S. is over 100 trillion in the crapper with admitted debt and unfunded government liabilities according to the Dallas Federal Reserve president. We can’t grow our way out of a 100 trillion (and rapidly growing because of massive spending) problem. The U.S. at least, is screwed.

  • Enforcement (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sexybomber ( 740588 ) < minus painter> on Friday February 15, 2013 @11:10AM (#42910329)

    How will this shiny new tax be collected and enforced?

    One option is to put the onus on the retailers to maintain a database of all the different sales tax rates in the country, so they can collect the appropriate amount on the purchase. At least in New York, sales taxes vary by county -- the State takes 4% and the county takes anywhere from 3-5%. That's 62 lines on the spreadsheet, just for New York. I think NYC adds a point or two as well. This would have to be correlated with a ZIP code table, so the retailer would know which ZIPs are in which jurisdictions. It's tedious, but not impossible. Perhaps the IRS could spend some of our money to draw up the tables and maintain them.

    Another avenue is to put the onus on the buyer to calculate and remit the appropriate taxes to the authorities. If I were a sociopath, I'd like this method better. It doesn't burden the retailers and it provides a delicious means of social control, not to mention a wealth of interesting information on what people are buying. Let's take a non-Amazon company as an example, since Amazon has bought exemptions from State sales taxes:

    NewEgg is contacted by the NY Department of Taxation and Finance and ordered to turn over their NY sales records. No warrant is required, since the request is for tax compliance purposes. DTF runs the records through their computer system and looks up the tax records of each NewEgg customer. If the customer didn't report the sale, they're in big trouble. If it's a significant amount that they didn't report, or there's a pattern of non-compliance, off to private prison with you!

    Cue the naysayers saying I'm a paranoiac and Our Glorious Overlords would never do something so fiendish...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 15, 2013 @11:23AM (#42910519)

    Thank you for adding a dose of sanity to the liberal BS that is so prevalent on this site. I fail to understand how the so-called 'educated' who inhabit this site are so utterly clueless when it comes to government, the economy, and yes - simple math.

    It just goes to show that mathematics don't play much, if any role in programming and computer science!

  • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Friday February 15, 2013 @11:57AM (#42911027) Homepage Journal
    I wonder.

    Is there a single constituent of any of these politicians pushing this Internet Tax bill, in fucking FAVOR of said bill?

    I cannot imagine that many regular citizens would support, how is it that this gets pushed into a bill, and likely..into law?

    I can't imagine that any of these Senators/Representatives have been deluged with snail mail, email and petitions beggin them to COLLECT MORE TAXESS....?


"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell