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View Full Version : Proposed online sales tax draws criticism


Chip NoVaMac
Feb 25, 2010, 10:46 PM
I say it is about time states claim their stake in missing sales tax revenue....

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/02/24/MN5P1C6156.DTL&type=business

California lawmakers are eager to harpoon the great white whale that is
Amazon.com to force it to collect sales tax on every HDTV and Kindle it
sells here. But those efforts could ensnare scores of smaller fish:
mom-and-pop Internet businesses that rely on Amazon and other e-tailers
for their livelihood.
The e-commerce behemoth has avoided paying sales tax in California because it has no offices, stores or warehouses in the state.But California contends that Amazon does have a presence here.

Amazon (which did not return calls), Overstock and other large
out-of-state e-tailers say they will cut off their California affiliates
to duck the sales-tax obligation. The affiliates say that means they'll
lose their income and the state still won't get the sales tax revenue.

I say to this; any state that has an sales tax should adapt similar laws. Reason why is added tax revenue that is being lost. In some instances the loss of tax revenue is not due to lower prices - but at the loss of sales tax revenue.

Eliminate the "tax free holiday" on most if not all internet sales - then the brick and mortar shops might survive. Leading to people that pay income and real estate taxes where you live... boosting the of living that we all want for ourselves.

To those that say our tax dollars are wasted - then get out an vote those people that support the spending you want. For me I have no kids, so education is low on my list. But roads and public safety are high on my list. The lowest on my list is for those that want mega-soccor complexes for their kids to play on.

One needs to read some blogs of some that might be affected. They threaded shutting down their sites. But they don't say how much they earn to be able to "chat" with us....

But in the end it is the loss of B&M jobs that hurt the most. The more you buy tax free at prices close to what you can get local... means unemployment, added health care costs, lower property values that effect your overall

taxes.

California has more than 25,000 affiliates, ranging from part-time
Web-masters earning a few bucks to large enterprises pulling in millions,
said the Performance Marketing Association, their trade group. In 2008
they had revenues of $202.7 million and paid $18.9 million in state income
tax, the group said. Industry reports say e-tailers generate about 10
percent of their sales through online affiliates.

The sensible alternative would be to have threshold on the amount earned by affiliates - part time folk maybe should not be hurt. In the end I think the numbers they mentioned are much higher.

In the end read the article and form a honest opinion.... I have to do more reaerch as to why the likes of Target , Walmart, and others do not have to collect sales taxes on their online sales - even though they have nexus in almost every state..... maybe a loophole to be closed :)



This week, the state Legislature is considering a bill that says
California Web sites known as affiliates that send customers to Amazon and
other e-commerce companies in exchange for a commission constitute a salesforce, giving Amazon and others a physical presence, or "nexus," here.
Under a 1992 Supreme Court decision, only retailers with a nexus in a
state can be compelled to collect sales tax from its residents.

In this online world (both the web, tele-conferncing, and travel) nexus exists with much of the big online retailers IMO. I remember working for a company post 1992 that limited trips to surrounding states to limit tax liability for sales tax collection.

To this day there are reports that some of the biggies in the online world go to shows for what have you and "fail" to collect sales taxes. Some of these companies may end up passing these off as "sales tax" savings - but never reporting them to the state involved.

What I do see in this new law that the likes of Amazon may end up loosing affiliates and local suppliers in the short term. Yet as more states come on board with this approach there maybe few options to dodge paying your fair share of sales taxes.

I will admit that I work for a brick and mortar store... but one that plays by the rules of collection of sales taxes. Why should we be hit by another local company or out of state company that might that might be an affiant of Amazon or others?

Abstract
Feb 26, 2010, 12:09 AM
As a Californian consumer. I would hate this. However, as someone who doesn't live there, I think it sounds kind of fair. :p Personally, I'd rather pay a bit of tax. Infrastructure doesn't support itself, and California isn't exactly a rich State, are they.

Perhaps the sales tax can be slightly lower than State sales tax. I'm sure there's an argument for reducing it for one reason or another, but I wouldn't care either way.

Chip NoVaMac
Feb 26, 2010, 06:02 PM
Perhaps the sales tax can be slightly lower than State sales tax. I'm sure there's an argument for reducing it for one reason or another, but I wouldn't care either way.

An argument that some online resellers use that it would be too hard to collect multiple tax rates. Hard to claim that given computers being used to do business today. But a standard across the board sales tax to be given to states that vendors are not located in would be an easy work around.

rdowns
Feb 26, 2010, 06:07 PM
An argument that some online resellers use that it would be too hard to collect multiple tax rates. Hard to claim that given computers being used to do business today. But a standard across the board sales tax to be given to states that vendors are not located in would be an easy work around.


That argument fails because there are hundreds of e-tailers who collect varying tax rates.

FWIW, Amazon has been charging tax in my state (NY) for over a year and it hasn't made me look elsewhere.

ucfgrad93
Feb 26, 2010, 07:24 PM
I am actually surprised that it has taken so long to see this kind of a push.

Rodimus Prime
Feb 26, 2010, 07:33 PM
I am actually surprised that it has taken so long to see this kind of a push.

I agree.

I think legally speaking we supposed to of been paying the sales tax. When you buy something on amazon you are supposed to send the sales tax to your state. This just forces the businesses to collect it and be liable for it.

Chip NoVaMac
Feb 26, 2010, 08:40 PM
I am actually surprised that it has taken so long to see this kind of a push.

If Cali is successful in getting it passed - I think other states will follow their lead....

I agree.

I think legally speaking we supposed to of been paying the sales tax. When you buy something on amazon you are supposed to send the sales tax to your state. This just forces the businesses to collect it and be liable for it.

Not sure if ALL states require paying sales taxes on out of state purchases. I can only comment on Virginia (which requires that it be declared on the state income tax form each year). And DC which businesses are required to file a "sales and use tax form" each year. Not sure if regular citizens have to in DC.

Working in a B&M store... I can say that the lack of collecting sales taxes is the major reason that folks buy online. Even when the price is close. Did have a customer that I talked with complain in our extended chat - that they were forced to pay an extra fee for their kids to play soccer last year...

Yet she beat me up that she could get the same camera for the same price online - without the sales tax!!!!!!

A pet pieve of mine is that folks that bought online feel that it is their right to come in to my store to teach them about the cameras they bought! :(

To me it is like going in to Wendy's to complain about a burger from McDonald's. Yet in the end we do try to help them and show them the next time they need a camera why they should come to us.

But as long as the tax issue looms they might go to the lowest bidder. :( Sales tax or not.. :(

Rodimus Prime
Feb 26, 2010, 11:09 PM
A pet pieve of mine is that folks that bought online feel that it is their right to come in to my store to teach them about the cameras they bought! :(

To me it is like going in to Wendy's to complain about a burger from McDonald's. Yet in the end we do try to help them and show them the next time they need a camera why they should come to us.
:(

On those people I would almost feel to day sorry because you failed to buy it from us in the store you do not receive the extra services we provide our customers who do buy from us.

JNB
Feb 26, 2010, 11:16 PM
Considering California has been driving business out of state for several years, I'm not surprised. :rolleyes:

carlgo
Feb 27, 2010, 08:54 AM
I don't want to pay it, but the present taxless situation isn't fair at all to other retailers. What would work is a uniform tax, a national rate, collected and then dispersed to each state based on their population's purchases.

It would be a nightmare to have each state apply a different rate and then try to collect it based on where the item was shipped from, to where and which state lines it crossed, etc, etc.

Kamera RAWr
Feb 27, 2010, 09:09 AM
I'll admit that I buy certain items online to save, in part, on the sales tax. However, that said, as long as the prices stay the same... I'll still be saving quite a bit and wouldn't mind much paying tax.

JNB
Feb 27, 2010, 09:33 AM
I don't know, if I purchase something from a retailer out of state, I do so because the retailers in-state either don't carry it or do so at a price that is substantially higher than it can be gotten online (tax notwithstanding). So that's just a matter of competition, and I don't feel any particular obligation to make a purchase simply because of proximity or any sense of "loyalty" to local business.

Now, where the state feels that it's inherently entitled to a cut of that purchase is beyond me. Similarly, if I made that same purchase in person, in a no-sales-tax state and transported that item to my home state, should they feel that same entitlement?

Should I be liable for only the state tax? What of any county or municipal taxes based on my specific residence?

It's just too messy, and smacks too much of legislators and business lobbyists seeking to maximize revenue and reduce competition, both without any moral justification. As citizens and consumers, we are the ones that make our choices known through our vote and purchase decisions, and through those actions express how we want it to all work. Changing the rules because they don't like the score is fundamentally wrong.

yg17
Feb 27, 2010, 09:38 AM
Similarly, if I made that same purchase in person, in a no-sales-tax state and transported that item to my home state, should they feel that same entitlement?

Technically, I believe you are supposed to declare that on your tax return and pay a use tax, but no one ever does.

rdowns
Feb 27, 2010, 04:09 PM
If Cali is successful in getting it passed - I think other states will follow their lead….



NY passed a similar law in 2008. Amazon and Overstock sued NYS and lost. We pay tax on Amazon purchases.

JNB
Feb 27, 2010, 05:18 PM
Technically, I believe you are supposed to declare that on your tax return and pay a use tax, but no one ever does.

I think that's only for online & mail-order sales, IIRC. Brick & mortar purchases are almost universally taxed in person, with the exception of a couple states, and writing those exceptions into statute is damnably difficult, and quite possibly indefensible should the matter ever be seriously challenged.

The rest of this isn't directed to you specifically, but additional general commentary. I have diarrhea of the keyboard today, apparently. :o

Consumers are—with few exceptions—rarely ever the statutorily responsible party in the collection, reporting, and remittal of a sales/use tax. If as a merchant you undercharged taxes, the state comes to you for it, not your customers, even if all the underreported sales can be traced to the end user.

Again, the use tax precept is part of a relationship between the consumer, the vendor, and the state the transaction was conducted in. In purchasing from an e-tailer, I gain no benefit from taxes collected in their state of business, so they cannot justify collecting from me there. Also, my state and the licensed merchants here incurred no costs nor participated in any part of the transaction, so I fail to see how they can claim entitlement to any taxes based upon it.

Lastly, what part of a use tax is part of the "natural order" of it all, anyway? Are they entitled to it "just because"? Should I give them more because they can't manage their allowance as it is?

At the end of the day, it's just a money grab.

Chip NoVaMac
Feb 27, 2010, 06:48 PM
Now, where the state feels that it's inherently entitled to a cut of that purchase is beyond me. Similarly, if I made that same purchase in person, in a no-sales-tax state and transported that item to my home state, should they feel that same entitlement?

I believe that would be a no. Depends on how the use tax laws are written in that particular state. Some states require you to, others don't. Also some state IIRC require you to pay the difference between the lower tax rate and the tax rate you pay in your home state.

Should I be liable for only the state tax? What of any county or municipal taxes based on my specific residence?

Here I think the answer would be no, unless you are required under the use tax codes for your state to do so - and they forward that on to the locality.

It's just too messy, and smacks too much of legislators and business lobbyists seeking to maximize revenue and reduce competition, both without any moral justification. As citizens and consumers, we are the ones that make our choices known through our vote and purchase decisions, and through those actions express how we want it to all work. Changing the rules because they don't like the score is fundamentally wrong.

Got to disagree with you here. If it is just state sales taxes being collected not messy at all. If the small company I work for can collect sales taxes for states that we have a nexus in - surely bigger operations can do the same.

As to the thought you had about legislators and business lobbyists seeking to maximize revenue and reduce competition. Yes it is about revenue, not about reducing competition. You stated that you buy online sometimes because the product is simply not available or is substantially cheaper online. So there would still be competition. It is morally wrong though if your state has a use tax form in not filling it out.

The revenue that is potentially lost in sales taxes is great. A forecast for 2009 (could not find actual in a quick search) was for online retail sales to be $156 billion dollars. Even if half were not taxed that would leave $78 billion dollars; which if taxed at even 4% a staggering $3.1 billion dollars of uncollected sales tax.

Just as shoppers go online to save the tax money sometimes, the states need to do what they need to in order get the tax money they are due and need as well.

I will give full disclosure that I work in a local camera shop. Our prices are very competitive overall - very often very close to one of the biggies in NYC or even cheaper. Yes we are higher on some things, but not often. Our shop has simply lost sales - even when prices were the same! - simply because of the sales tax. Now that is morally wrong IMO.

Also morally wrong if what a customer told me is true - is his being able to visit one of the biggies in NYC and have them ship the product to him to skirt either sales tax!

IntheNet
Feb 27, 2010, 06:49 PM
It would be a nightmare to have each state apply a different rate and then try to collect it based on where the item was shipped from, to where and which state lines it crossed, etc, etc.

Good point...

I am opposed to on-line sales tax; in my opinion we should do what we can to keep the internet tax free to the extent possible... in most cases the web sites that sell merchandise reside on servers far from where the merchandise is actually shipped so fair tax application is near impossible.

JNB
Feb 27, 2010, 07:54 PM
I was asking rhetorically. ;)



The revenue that is potentially lost in sales taxes is great

I understand your points. My issue and position, specifically as it pertains to the quote, is under what train of thought is this revenue the state entitled to? That's the fundamental issue. We are so accustomed to paying a multitude of taxes we've forgotten the entire point of what we, the governed, consent for them to be used for, and whether or not our legislators are spending what we allow them to take wisely and prudently in those intended purposes.

Remember, WE decide what is to be collected, how it's to be spent, and how the functions of government are to be executed.

Government, at any level, has absolutely no entitlement to a single cent that we collectively do not allow them. We've just gotten stupid and lazy.

I'm no "the IRS is unconstitutional" nut-job, I will pay any and every tax that lawfully and constitutionally required of me, and I pay more per year than many members here gross. I just think we've lost our way and our sense of ownership of our own country.

Speaking of paying taxes, what's Charlie Rangel up to? ;)

(OK, sorry for the rant. :o)

Antares
Feb 27, 2010, 08:36 PM
A lot of online retailers already collect state sales tax. If the business operates in the same state that you live in, they'll likely charge you the tax.

But if tax was collected all of the time, regardless of what state you live in, that could seriously harm the internet economy. One of the main incentives of buying online is the lack of sales tax. If you have to pay tax AND shipping, it kind of nullifies most of the advantages of buying online. You might as well just buy from a brick and mortar store, then, if you're going to pay almost the same price in the end.

Chip NoVaMac
Feb 27, 2010, 10:23 PM
Good point...

I am opposed to on-line sales tax; in my opinion we should do what we can to keep the internet tax free to the extent possible... in most cases the web sites that sell merchandise reside on servers far from where the merchandise is actually shipped so fair tax application is near impossible.

The point being is that many of these online sites have "affiliates" located in the sate that the product is shipped... maybe legally a "nexus" for taxes to be collected?

I was asking rhetorically. ;)



I understand your points. My issue and position, specifically as it pertains to the quote, is under what train of thought is this revenue the state entitled to? That's the fundamental issue. We are so accustomed to paying a multitude of taxes we've forgotten the entire point of what we, the governed, consent for them to be used for, and whether or not our legislators are spending what we allow them to take wisely and prudently in those intended purposes.

Remember, WE decide what is to be collected, how it's to be spent, and how the functions of government are to be executed.

Government, at any level, has absolutely no entitlement to a single cent that we collectively do not allow them. We've just gotten stupid and lazy.

I'm no "the IRS is unconstitutional" nut-job, I will pay any and every tax that lawfully and constitutionally required of me, and I pay more per year than many members here gross. I just think we've lost our way and our sense of ownership of our own country.

Speaking of paying taxes, what's Charlie Rangel up to? ;)

(OK, sorry for the rant. :o)

States look at what they can expect in sales taxes.... the internet changes that... so hard to figure?

QUOTE=Antares;9352668]A lot of online retailers already collect state sales tax. If the business operates in the same state that you live in, they'll likely charge you the tax.

But if tax was collected all of the time, regardless of what state you live in, that could seriously harm the internet economy. One of the main incentives of buying online is the lack of sales tax. If you have to pay tax AND shipping, it kind of nullifies most of the advantages of buying online. You might as well just buy from a brick and mortar store, then, if you're going to pay almost the same price in the end.[/QUOTE]

And the harm in that is? Competion in pricing would then be the key... and the states win with added revenue... Even though by not paying sales taxes as required by many states is a crime?

macEfan
Feb 28, 2010, 09:50 PM
As soon as we lay off some of those extra upper management politicians our tax problems in CA are over.

Plutonius
Mar 1, 2010, 06:48 AM
But if tax was collected all of the time, regardless of what state you live in, that could seriously harm the internet economy.

In NH, we have no sales tax and I still do almost all my shopping on-line. How about CA and other cash strapped states solve their problems by spending LESS money ? Why do I have to pay taxes to bail out irresponsible states ?

ucfgrad93
Mar 1, 2010, 07:49 AM
How about CA and other cash strapped states solve their problems by spending LESS money?

While this is a great idea, it has 2 problems. First, spending less is a relatively unknown concept to most politicians.;) Second, CA is so far in the hole, that just spending less isn't going to solve the problem.

Chip NoVaMac
Mar 1, 2010, 09:45 AM
In NH, we have no sales tax and I still do almost all my shopping on-line. How about CA and other cash strapped states solve their problems by spending LESS money ? Why do I have to pay taxes to bail out irresponsible states ?

For the folks like you that live in states like NH or DE - you have a choice to make maybe... not buying through states that collects sales taxes through click throughs or buying direct through the online store.

The issue here is that some blogs out there are truly nothing more than "store fronts" on the web. So if you click a link to the likes of Ken Rockwell's site to buy something - then you should be willing to pay the CA sales tax as if you were to have gone in to his "real" store if you were in CA.

In the end there is nothing to prevent you from "bailing out" states in the end. Just buy direct....

While this is a great idea, it has 2 problems. First, spending less is a relatively unknown concept to most politicians.;) Second, CA is so far in the hole, that just spending less isn't going to solve the problem.

To this I would say that we are the problem here in the end. We all have things that are near and dear to us when it comes to our tax dollars.

If you are married with kids - then it is schools and soccer fields...

If you are single it might be roads ands dog parks....

If you are older and on fixed income it might be transportation and health care....

So where is a state to make cuts in the end?

JNB
Mar 1, 2010, 10:03 AM
To this I would say that we are the problem here in the end. We all have things that are near and dear to us when it comes to our tax dollars.

If you are married with kids - then it is schools and soccer fields...

If you are single it might be roads ands dog parks....

If you are older and on fixed income it might be transportation and health care....

So where is a state to make cuts in the end?

Funny, we used to be able to pay for all those things with fewer taxes and still end up with budget surpluses.

rdowns
Mar 1, 2010, 10:17 AM
Funny, we used to be able to pay for all those things with fewer taxes and still end up with budget surpluses.

Aren't these taxes ones that were paid to the state until online shopping arrived?

JNB
Mar 1, 2010, 10:49 AM
Aren't these taxes ones that were paid to the state until online shopping arrived?

Actually, no. Sales taxes are only one component in the state's litany of taxation and other forms of revenue generation. I'm talking about how this nonsense started happening before the internet, and long before online shopping. Laying the blame for the current budget woes at the feet of e-commerce would be a misrepresentation of both the history of each and the relative value of the "lost" taxes to the overall budget. Also, the claimed lost taxation is nothing but a SWAG, as there can be no way for anyone to claim conclusively what the real value of untaxed purchases is, and as such, will certainly be published at the highest end of whatever range is estimated.

Within my home state, I pay—combined—nearly $12,000 per year in various state & local taxes. What I don't pay in use taxes because of e-commerce may add up to a total of barely $100 in that same year, and I'm a fairly active online purchaser. I hardly think I'm "cheating," particularly as I've noted before, it's not the taxes I'm trying to avoid, I'm making a purchase that is either unavailable or substantially more expensive locally.

Lastly—and I admit to being fairly unique here—this doesn't even consider the taxes and fees I've ponied up for in the majority of the states in the US over the last decade or so, for which I received no measurable benefit (but the residents have). So, if you've gotten a new stadium or ballpark in the last decade, you're welcome. :D

CorvusCamenarum
Mar 1, 2010, 11:02 AM
For the folks like you that live in states like NH or DE - you have a choice to make maybe... not buying through states that collects sales taxes through click throughs or buying direct through the online store.

Wouldn't this invite double tax dipping? If, as a resident of AL, I buy something online from a store located in CA, I'll be assessed CA tax at the point of sale, then expected to declare what I bought on my state return and pay AL state sales tax as well. Not counting county of city taxes, that's 12.75% combined. At the very least, we could see a lot of businesses relocating to states with no sales tax.

Aren't these taxes ones that were paid to the state until online shopping arrived?

I don't ever recall paying tax on something ordered through the mail or over the phone unless the company was located in my state.

ucfgrad93
Mar 1, 2010, 11:24 AM
To this I would say that we are the problem here in the end. We all have things that are near and dear to us when it comes to our tax dollars.

If you are married with kids - then it is schools and soccer fields...

If you are single it might be roads ands dog parks....

If you are older and on fixed income it might be transportation and health care....

So where is a state to make cuts in the end?

Yes, we all have things that we like to support. And the choices on what to cut will be difficult to make and will end up making some portion of the population angry. But, it is my opinion that CA and the US Federal deficit is so large that it will take BOTH spending cuts and increased taxes in order to fix the problem.

Plutonius
Mar 1, 2010, 11:26 AM
To this I would say that we are the problem here in the end. We all have things that are near and dear to us when it comes to our tax dollars.

If you are married with kids - then it is schools and soccer fields...

If you are single it might be roads ands dog parks....

If you are older and on fixed income it might be transportation and health care....

So where is a state to make cuts in the end?

The answer is yes and yes...

I would agree with you that at this point, CA needs revenue increases (i.e. taxes) but they also need drastic budget cuts.

I think the CA politicians are counting on a federal bailout but I doubt that will happen now. The only other way I see out of the problem is for CA to declare bankruptcy. That way the politicians can claim that someone else is responsible for the spending cuts.

One note on taxes. As you add new taxes or increase taxes, you face a diminishing return on the money you bring in. The only long term solution is to cut spending to a sustainable level.

Plutonius
Mar 1, 2010, 11:44 AM
The issue here is that some blogs out there are truly nothing more than "store fronts" on the web. So if you click a link to the likes of Ken Rockwell's site to buy something - then you should be willing to pay the CA sales tax as if you were to have gone in to his "real" store if you were in CA.

Currently, if I order something on-line and have it shipped to my residence in NH, I pay no sales tax (no sales tax in NH).

On the other hand, if I order something online and have it shipped to where I work in MA, I get charged the MA sales tax.

I also can go into a "real" (not on-line) auto dealer from out of state and not pay any sales tax on my purchase.

Just seems like a scheme to get a bigger share of the on-line tax revenues for CA

BigRedOne
Mar 7, 2010, 11:01 PM
Giving the State or Federal Government any more taxes to spent is like feeding the junkies in the park. California never talks about becoming more efficient with with the tax payers dollars. It is always feed me more money to better serve the people. In reality it is give me more money to spend on those groups that are on the dole and promise to keep voting for me.

The infrastructure would be served well if the California politicians would quit raiding the established accounts fed by our tax dollars and use the money for what the people agreed to set up those accounts in the first place.

Leave the big river alone, because once the California raiders get their hands on a larger funding source the money will be waisted anyway. History is very clear on their inability to serve us and use our dollars well.

Clix Pix
Mar 8, 2010, 10:28 AM
Working in a B&M store... I can say that the lack of collecting sales taxes is the major reason that folks buy online. Even when the price is close. Did have a customer that I talked with complain in our extended chat - that they were forced to pay an extra fee for their kids to play soccer last year...

Yet she beat me up that she could get the same camera for the same price online - without the sales tax!!!!!!

A pet pieve of mine is that folks that bought online feel that it is their right to come in to my store to teach them about the cameras they bought! :(

To me it is like going in to Wendy's to complain about a burger from McDonald's. Yet in the end we do try to help them and show them the next time they need a camera why they should come to us.

But as long as the tax issue looms they might go to the lowest bidder. :( Sales tax or not.. :(


I always prefer to buy locally, especially when it comes to big-ticket items such as cameras and computers. In the case of either of these, part of the experience of the purchase is the research I've done prior to walking into the store, the discussions about the product with knowledgeable store staff, the hands-on with the item, the assurance that if I have any questions or if there is something not quite right that I can immediately go back to the store, and the availability of accessories or additional items that I otherwise might not have known about. To me, all of that is more than worth paying a few extra dollars in state tax.

mags631
Mar 8, 2010, 10:54 AM
Considering California has been driving business out of state for several years, I'm not surprised. :rolleyes:

Texas (a business friendly state) is a very agressive sales tax state (http://www.blytheco.com/attachments/products_and_services/mas500/mas500_overview_brochures/miscellaneous/Sales_Tax_Demystified.pdf). So, that's not the reason.

(Warning: link is to a pdf)

Chip NoVaMac
Mar 8, 2010, 08:40 PM
I always prefer to buy locally, especially when it comes to big-ticket items such as cameras and computers. In the case of either of these, part of the experience of the purchase is the research I've done prior to walking into the store, the discussions about the product with knowledgeable store staff, the hands-on with the item, the assurance that if I have any questions or if there is something not quite right that I can immediately go back to the store, and the availability of accessories or additional items that I otherwise might not have known about. To me, all of that is more than worth paying a few extra dollars in state tax.

Thanks Clix... you are a rare breed it seems at times here in the DC area. LOL

Will be honest there are times that the service, free prints for a year, free classes, and such are not enough to escape the reality of paying sales taxes can't win some over.... LOL

Had to laugh recently given the budget crunch in the area... had a customer that I shared an interest in dogs (some may remember my Chewey threads :) )... but with the crunch there is talk of closing some dog parks.... all the while the customer was telling me that they could get the camera at the same price with no sales tax and free shipping online.

Clix, you know me :) And I held my tongue LOL

dukebound85
Mar 8, 2010, 08:43 PM
Colorado just enacted a law on this as well

Not a fan
http://www.internetretailer.com/dailyNews.asp?id=33771
http://www.sfexaminer.com/economy/online-sales-tax-leads-amazon-to-cut-ties-with-colorado-businesses-that-promote-its-products-87023867.html

So glad Ritter is not running for next term

Chip NoVaMac
Mar 8, 2010, 08:48 PM
Colorado just enacted a law on this as well

Not a fan
http://www.internetretailer.com/dailyNews.asp?id=33771
http://www.sfexaminer.com/economy/online-sales-tax-leads-amazon-to-cut-ties-with-colorado-businesses-that-promote-its-products-87023867.html

So glad Ritter is not running for next term

As Amazon cuts ties to local businesses in states that they have no nexus in - other than affiliate status... I hope that those states will look at RICO charges against Amazon... to me they are truly trying to skirt the tax laws of the states....

rhsgolfer33
Mar 8, 2010, 09:04 PM
As Amazon cuts ties to local businesses in states that they have no nexus in - other than affiliate status... I hope that those states will look at RICO charges against Amazon... to me they are truly trying to skirt the tax laws of the states....

There is nothing illegal about skirting tax laws; tax avoidance is perfectly legal. Structuring your transactions and business so that you avoid paying sales taxes, corporate/income taxes, etc. is legal and in the best interest of anyone running a business (and for that matter, in shareholders' best interest).

Chip NoVaMac
Mar 8, 2010, 09:12 PM
There is nothing illegal about skirting tax laws; tax avoidance is perfectly legal. Structuring your transactions and business so that you avoid paying sales taxes, corporate/income taxes, etc. is legal and in the best interest of anyone running a business (and for that matter, in shareholders' best interest).

I think that as Amazon cuts affiliates in states that require collection of sales taxes from them, I think that RICO laws could apply in the end... they knowingly were aiding and abetting breaking sales tax laws with their affiliates.... only after they were "caught" did they severe ties...

As to your comment that it is legal to skirt taxes, maybe yes - but many states require the filing of use taxes (missing sales taxes). And it is in the best interest of the states to use what tools they have to make sure those that break the law are held accountable.

rhsgolfer33
Mar 8, 2010, 09:42 PM
I think that as Amazon cuts affiliates in states that require collection of sales taxes from them, I think that RICO laws could apply in the end... they knowingly were aiding and abetting breaking sales tax laws with their affiliates.... only after they were "caught" did they severe ties...

Well if Amazon were already knowingly breaking sales tax laws don't you think the state governments would have gone after them quite a while ago to recover that money? If states had sales tax laws applicable to Amazon's transactions and Amazon failed to pay them, the states would have certainly taken legal action to get the taxes they were entitled to.


As to your comment that it is legal to skirt taxes, maybe yes - but many states require the filing of use taxes (missing sales taxes). And it is in the best interest of the states to use what tools they have to make sure those that break the law are held accountable.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but a use tax has no applicability to the business that sells the product as the ultimate consumer has the responsibility to report any tax liability, not the company selling the good. Should people pay any use tax they are liable for? Sure, but we'd probably spend a fortune attempting to calculate and recover use taxes from those who didn't declare them on their return. The last thing most state governments need is more bureaucracy in an expensive attempt to collect use taxes.

TJRiver
Mar 22, 2010, 07:20 PM
Funny, we used to be able to pay for all those things with fewer taxes and still end up with budget surpluses.

........and candy bars used to cost a nickel and you could get a scoop of ice cream for ten cents. The cost of products and services tends to go up over time for both us suffering taxpayers and the government. Funding wars in two different countries half way across the globe doesn't help....

The total tax load (Fed. & state income taxes, social security, etc.) paid by US individuals is one of the lowest rates in the world. (Of course if we stopped deficit spending and levied sufficient taxes to cover our actual spending, this might not be true)

Pay up or move out. :D Mexico's tax rate is lower than the US...

andiwm2003
Mar 22, 2010, 09:01 PM
I'm against a sales tax in general. Look to Europe where the sales tax is 19%. That is what the governments think they are entitled to take away from you AFTER you paid income tax. The fact that many people could evade sales tax by buying online is the only incentive for governments to keep the sales tax low.

I buy from brick and mortar stores if I can AND if I expect to get service. For most brick and mortar stores this isn't true. You get neither advice nor service and you certainly find no know how about their products there. Camera shops are one of the few exemptions and I bought all my cameras and new lenses in brick and mortar shops (with one exemption).

I hope there won't be a online sales tax ever.

Black Belt
Mar 23, 2010, 05:49 PM
As a 2nd generation Native Californian who has seen his state go to hell in a handbasket due to corruption and stupidity, I think they can go to hell. California is the highest taxed state in the nation and we have the worst services. If they pass this, I am sure we will start smuggling goods in from other tax-free states. The Calif Government just needs to go bankrupt and go away. They are worthless.

Taxes of goods from other states is tantamount to an interstate tariff which is illegal.

Black Belt
Mar 23, 2010, 05:52 PM
The total tax load (Fed. & state income taxes, social security, etc.) paid by US individuals is one of the lowest rates in the world.

Wow, I am stunned at that level of nonsense.

Chip NoVaMac
Mar 23, 2010, 08:03 PM
Wow, I am stunned at that level of nonsense.

A quick Google came up with this chart from 2005. So TJRiver may not be leveling any nonsense. And I found this info in just a few clicks after Googling the search term: tax levels by country

Came across this link first; but it did not cover taxes like social security ( http://www.worldwide-tax.com/index.asp#partthree )....

One also has to look at what other countries provide in what we here in the US call "entitlements" for all the additional taxes they pay.

TuffLuffJimmy
Mar 23, 2010, 08:12 PM
Sales tax? If you don't want to pay sales tax move some place without it, like Oregon. Otherwise pay what you owe your state.

theBB
Mar 23, 2010, 10:04 PM
It would be a nightmare to have each state apply a different rate and then try to collect it based on where the item was shipped from, to where and which state lines it crossed, etc, etc.
Well, only the destination address makes a difference, so no it is not a nightmare.

Although I'd rather pay less taxes, it is unfair for many California based retailers, online or off, that they end up charging sales tax while their competitors don't. If anything, this leads the state to lose retailers to other states.

Chip NoVaMac
Mar 24, 2010, 12:07 AM
Sales tax? If you don't want to pay sales tax move some place without it, like Oregon. Otherwise pay what you owe your state.

Amen there brother!

Just my take is that some folks want their cake and eat it too...

In the DC area i have met folks that might be considered to be part of the "Tea Party Movement".

While I have nothing against lowering taxes at the state level... none of them were willing to give up on their dog parks, soccer complexes for their kids, lost tolls for their hybrids...

They loose sight that all of us don't have dogs, or kids they can't take care of (except through MASS sports), or need new roads as long as they can cruise the HOV lanes in their hybrids.

Yes, I had my boy, Chewey, a lab mix... but those were in the days of so much money - that running a dog park was a nice perk. If I still had him around I should be willing to pay for a park for him to play in.

As to the huge soccer complexes and other sporting venues... I look at as parents not wanting to take care of their own. Back in my day (I am 50yo here) parents took care of their own - as opposed to passing them off ad hoc to keep them out of trouble.

As to roads and Mass Transit, why should I pay directly or indirectly for HOT lanes? Why should that money not be put to easing traffic by making things move smoother?

For my commute (10 miles one way) , the fairs would be between $1.35 and $4.90 depending on whether I used a SmartTrip card or cash (one way). Since in this example I might have to be in by 9:45AM, if I took the limited bus service I would have to leave the home by 8:20AM and 8:40AM to be able to make it work by 9:45AM. Sorry for going off on transit cost.. but a pet peeve of mine. LOL


On the day I propose (9:45am to 6PM0 , if I leave at 6PM from my job - I would have to wait till 6:30PM or so for the first bus and would not get home till 7:30PM or 8:00PM! With the fares being the same each way.

Compared to my being able to leave at 9AM or even as late as 9:30AM on some mornings.

For me my car is paid for. I drive under 5k a year. I still have to pay insurance and taxes and such on the car in order to afford a place in the 'burbs. I am not one of the fat cats with a 500K+ home, I exist within my means. Have a modest condo, and try to live a modest life in the last couple of years...

Just that some of us are not dual wage earners here... and many of us are those that "serve" you in your day to day needs.... some of us are close to making it day to day.. without big SUV's and overpriced homes. Or trying to figure out how to pay for that big college school.

Many of us are singles just trying to eek out a life that means something... In this somewhat regular commute (some times I work 9:45AM till 6PM, other times 9:45Am till 9PM, other times 12Pm till 9PM) The later the hours the worse it gets out here.

My commute via the car is less than 30 minutes.

As of right now gas prices are at a break even for me... As I said I need my car to maintain my mobility...

And because I work in the service industry I can't count on being able to leave in time to catch a bus back home... or is my time any less valuable that if I get a bus back home after I get off at 6PM that it takes me 1 1/2 to 2 hours to get home?

Just so that you don't think I am in some backwater area of the DC area... I live in South Reston - a major commuter area - and work in the core of Tyson Corner... just 10 miles apart!

I won't go into longer distances!

CTA has fare that requires subway and bus at a max of of $2.50 any time of the day! On the DC Metro it could be like between $4.15 and $6.20! And maybe more!

As I explained to a couple of gals that complained a couple of years ago about proposed fare increases... it is relative...

Higher taxes pay for benefits that you might not see.. and at the time the CTA CEO seemed to blustering between $1 fares and a potential $2 fair for the level of service IMHOP was worth it...

darkwing
Mar 24, 2010, 07:47 AM
This has got to be the most civilized borderline political discussion I've ever seen on the Internet.

Just a couple of points. Online shopping didn't change anything. You may not get as many catalogs with 1-800-numbers on them as you may have in 80s, but out-of-state shopping is nothing new.

The last point is that the people have not had a say in how the government spends the money they take from us in a very long time. How disappointed were conservatives with the out of control spending during Bush's tenure? They didn't vote for that, but they sure got it. Politics in general sways from left to right in the USA, but once the government has created an entitlement or some new department that does some service, it's almost impossible to get it repealed. So, the argument that "we the people" decide on what taxes get spent on is not a very good one, because you may elect the opposition later on but you won't undo what was done. That's why I oppose any new taxes in general. Trillions of dollars a year go into tax coffers all over this country, and if they can't provide the basics then it's time to look at getting rid of things that aren't needed.

BTW, I work for NASA and I wish it was canceled, along with hundreds of other things.

andiwm2003
Mar 24, 2010, 11:21 AM
Sales tax? If you don't want to pay sales tax move some place without it, like Oregon. Otherwise pay what you owe your state.

so you think states have no responsibility to keep taxes low? and we have to either pay or leave the state/country? interesting point of view.

i see it differently. there should be a constant pressure from citizens to make the governments keep taxes and fees low. of course you have to make sure the necessary services are provided (and I'm quite leberal there. health care and schools for all and such). in my experience however there is a strong tendency of cities/states/countries to just increase taxes. just go to germany. while i think there are a number of services paid for in germany that are definately worth haveing a sales tax there is also a lot of waste.

my pet peeve was stuff like:
~300 bucks a year in madatory fees for access to public TV and Radio. This is collected as soon as you own a TV set or a car radio regardless if you watch or not. Even if you block access you have to pay.
~ 50 bucks a year to support local TV stations regardless if you ever watch them. they basically let 100 years old local newspapers go broke but subsidize every new TV station that some kids started. not sure what the situation is now though.
- extending the 350 bucks a year to computer owners because they can in theory watch TV vie internet
- charging Hotels 300 bucks a year for every TV in the rooms even if they haven't enabled access to puplic TV because in theory they could.
- VAT was 12% when I grew up. Now it's 19%.
-they add a fee to all CD recorders, DVD recorders (includes computer optical drives) and all CD-ROM/DVD-ROMs because you could use it to recored TV even if you use it to back up your data. they want to extend this to USB sticks.