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Internet Sales Tax Vote This Week In US Senate 434

SonicSpike excerpts from CNet's coverage of the latest in the seemingly inevitable path toward consistently applied Internet sales taxes for U.S citizens: "Internet tax supporters are hoping that a vote in the U.S. Senate as early as today will finally give them enough political leverage to require Americans to pay sales taxes when shopping online. Sens. Mike Enzi (R-Wy.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) are expected to offer an amendment to a Democratic budget resolution this week that, by allowing states to 'collect taxes on remote sales,' is intended to usher in the first national Internet sales tax." There goes one of the best ways to vote with your dollars.
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Internet Sales Tax Vote This Week In US Senate

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  • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @02:49PM (#43237511)

    If the tax crosses state borders, then it should be collected by the Feds - or at least the rules should be national and consistent. Collect, say, 5% from everyone and then distribute it according to billing address. Making merchants deal with 50 different tax codes is onerous. I hope this bill is defeated.

  • by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @03:01PM (#43237667)
    You mean an up t odate database all the states and all of the municipalities within those states that collect sales tax...and don't forget that you need a map that tells you which taxing municipality every address in every state is in. Admittedly you do not currently need to know that for the states that do not charge sales tax at any level. Oh yeah, you also need to know what items sales tax applies to in every sales tax charging municipality in the country and don't forget those special tax holidays that many of them pass each year that only apply to certain types of items out of those they otherwise charge sales tax on.

    And, sorry, but a database of zip codes does NOT match up to the boundaries of taxing jurisdictions.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 21, 2013 @03:06PM (#43237725)

    This is a State decision, not a Federal one.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 21, 2013 @03:12PM (#43237815)

    I remember someone posting to slashdot years ago explaining you had to do it by recipient, not even house. They lived on an Indian reservation, and were not part of the tribe. So they paid higher sales tax than their neighbors who were members of the tribe.

    Expecting anyone to collect sales tax based on shipping or billing address is foolish. What's going to end up happening if the Feds don't just set an easy to compute rate, is that there will be one or two new companies that will spring up to collect the sales tax and claim they do it right. They'll just bribe the states to look the other way when they screw up.

  • by nabsltd ( 1313397 ) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @03:35PM (#43238127)

    Making merchants deal with 50 different tax codes is onerous.

    I dare say that's exactly the point. Why do you think brick-and-mortars are so happy about it?

    Because they're stupid?

    Amazon is supporting this bill because of their new "same-day delivery" that is being rolled out. It requires them to have a presence in every state, so they'd have to collect sales tax anyway. This bill would put all other online stores at the same disadvantage of having to collect taxes, but without the advantage of actually having a point of presence in every state.

    If this bill passes, it will give Amazon another reason to accelerate the roll out, and eliminate the one advantage that B&M stores currently have.

  • Re:NOOOOOOO (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 21, 2013 @03:38PM (#43238169)

    Not really, the brick and mortar stores are at a disadvantage because they are brick and mortar stores not because of tax. I live in Virginia which has a 5% sales tax (I believe) and I don't even think of it when shopping, I just look at the price. If I can get it from Amazon or whomever including shipping cheaper than what Best Buy advertises it for, I will buy it from Amazon (or see if Best Buy will match which they will normal do and still pay the tax).

    Even with the tax on online purchases they will still be cheaper, and not because of the tax, but because it is more expensive to have a store, with utilities, employees, and inventory every 10 or so miles then having a huge warehouse that can ship dynamically. This will only delay the inevitable, the death of big box stores.

  • Re:To be fair... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rlwhite ( 219604 ) <rogerwh&gmail,com> on Thursday March 21, 2013 @03:45PM (#43238243)

    Use tax is arguably unconstitutional due to the interstate commerce clause, and that is why states do not enforce it. They can wield the moral force of "this is the law" to those that don't know better and get them to put it on their tax returns, but they won't go after those who don't pay because they're afraid to lose. The states' end game has been a federal authorization for the states to collect sales tax because it would put them on much more solid legal ground.

  • Re:To be fair... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @04:10PM (#43238579)

    That's the closest to "constitutional" because you receive and pay your Visa at a bank licensed to your state, and you receive the bill at your postal mailing address. So each statement would only have to account for ONE sales tax per customer.


    Since I started collecting credit cards, I've lived in eight (or perhaps nine) States. Which credit cards are associated with any particular bank, I have no clue at all. And could care less.

    In addition, my spouse and such of the children as are old enough have access to some (or all) of my credit cards.

    The children do not always live at home (when they're away at college, for example), but still get to use the cards.

    And then there's the fact that I pay my credit cards online, without receiving paper bills at my home address (I haven't checked to see what mailing address my credit cards use this century - I'd have to just hope that they're consistent with where I actually live now).

    Actually, come to think of it, I KNOW that whatever addresses my credit cards think I live at are incorrect, since I didn't bother to update them when I moved last year....

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 21, 2013 @04:12PM (#43238605)

    The Supreme Court disagrees with you. See QUILL CORP. v. HEITKAMP, 504 U.S. 298

    In a nutshell, they found a state cannot force a company outside its borders to collect a sales tax under the commerce clause as interpreted in 1992. However, "The underlying issue here is one that Congress may be better qualified to resolve, and one that it has the ultimate power to resolve."

    Furthermore, Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution states "The Congress shall have Power" ... [skip a few powers] ... "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes."

    Congress does have the power to require that a Merchant in State A charge State B's Taxes to customers in State B. The line you quoted from Article 1, Section 9 looks to prohibit them from charging federal taxes.

"There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain