U.S. founding father Benjamin Franklin once
wrote, "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and
Thus it is perhaps not surprising that as U.S. Tax Day rolls around, Congress is
considering yet another effort to try to impose sales taxes
on the internet. An aid to Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) told CNET that
the Senator would introduce a bill looking to implement an online sales tax
after the Easter recess.
Sen. Durbin has been trying to push the issue for some time. In a speech
in Collinsville, Ill. in February he complained, "Why should out-of-state companies
that sell their products online have an unfair advantage over Main Street
bricks-and-mortar businesses? Out-of-state companies that aren't paying their
fair share of taxes are sticking Illinois residents and businesses with the
Currently online retailers like eBay Inc. (EBAY)
and Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN)
collect no sales tax in most states. That is because of a federal legal
precedent called nexus, which states that companies only have to collect taxes
in states they have physical presences in. That concept was solidified by
the 1992 case called Quill v. North Dakota, in which the U.S. Supreme
Court ruled: "Congress is now free to decide whether, when, and to what
extent the states may burden interstate mail order concerns with a duty to
collect use taxes."
Formally, in most states people are expected to report these unpaid taxes at
the year's end and pay them personally, but almost none do.
The decision to push taxes could hurt these major e-tailers. But it could
hurt small e-tailers like ThinkGeek even more;
as they would need major infrastructure overhauls to support the collection of
taxes. There are over 7,500 taxing jurisdiction in the U.S., each with
their own tax rules. Navigating that mess would be a nightmare for these
The new bill will be entitled "The Main Street Fairness Act".
According to his aides Sen. Mike Enzi(R-Wyoming)
will co-sponsor the bill. He sponsored a previous bill with
the aim of internet taxation.
In an effort to push for online taxes Sen. Durbin and other proponents may back
a broad adoption of the Streamlined Sales Tax Agreement an
inter-state proposal that 24 states have thus far adopted. Formulated in
2002, the proposal seeks to do away with specialized, confusing tax laws and
adopt a simpler sales tax code.
Retailers like Target Corp. (TGT)
and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT)
would be deeply grateful if the bill passed. They've been pouring
millions into lobbying Congress to eliminate the online tax exemptions.
they're trying to convince small retailers to support them. Some say that
doing so may not be in those small players' best interests, though.
Argues Steve DelBianco, executive director of the NetChoice coalition,
a group which represents eBay, Amazon.com, and other e-tailers, "Big box
stores love to mobilize smaller booksellers to complain about competing with
Amazon. The irony is that those small booksellers have been clobbered by
big box stores. The Internet's their friend."
Despite the bi-partisan sponsorship and fair degree of bipartisan support the
measure is expected to have difficulty passing in the Republican-controlled
house. Many Republicans vote against high profile taxes increases as a
rule and many Democrats may be wary of supporting the measure as the 2012
elections loom near.
Last time around, for all the retailers lobbying
efforts, the e-tailers (who also lobbied pretty heavily) won. The
internet is tax free -- for now.
quote: I believe taxation on what you buy is significantly more fair than taxations on earnings.
quote: I'm a realist - the Fair Tax will probably never be implemented, so it's a moot argument. But hey, a man can dream, right?
quote: If you want to get more tax money, you'll end up with a ton more money by simply closing Corporate loopholes that allows companies like GE to pay ZERO taxes on 14 billion in profits.
quote: The main reason GE paid no taxes last year
quote: What I'm saying is, the current tax code actually encourages corporate intervention. I would like to see that minimized. A Flat or Fair tax is one way to accomplish that. With a Flat tax, everybody pays 19% (or whatever). That's it. No Lobbyists wheedling Congress for this loophole or that. At least in theory.
quote: GE lost money last year. Just like individuals, you pay no taxes if you make no profit.
quote: Solution? Replace it with FairTax. No more tax dodgers, no more accountants, no more loopholes.
quote: Honestly, I don't see why the government keeps trying to make life more difficult for the middle and lower classes.
quote: It's a Democrat. What do you expect?
quote: Even in the worst of times, in an economy that they are actively and purposely WRECKING for future generations
quote: I don't know how Democrats or Republicans can sleep at night without smothering themselves with their own pillow
quote: forcing small companies with small staffs to deal with distributing taxes to "over 7500" tax districts.
quote: ... forcing small companies with small staffs to deal with distributing taxes to "over 7500" tax districts.
quote: quit moaning and bitching for the very small % that goes towards helping people get out of poverty.
quote: Fortunately, with unemployment, my parents were not left homeless.
quote: Without this social service, or what you'll likely refer to as an "entitlement program", my parents would have been in severe trouble and I can't even imagine how much worse off they'd be at the moment.
quote: Our constitution grants all people the right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness; our government has a responsibility to uphold these tenets through assistance programs.
quote: I love that people can't imagine life screwing up best-laid plans.
quote: Only a small percentage of people in America can afford to save so much money that their savings can save them in every situation.
quote: Imagine what you'd do if you lost your job tomorrow. How long will your savings allow you to continue to pay your rent/mortage, allow you to buy food and supplies, gas or bus fare to try to find another job?
quote: I'm sure you're well aware that not everybody has as high paying, lucrative job, with an infinite market to jump from company to company.
quote: And, yes, I believe a fisrt-world country should help provide for it's citizens when they are unable to provide for themselves.
quote: but they also aren't inherently charitable and will not generally help each other.
quote: That's why I believe federally mandated savings should exist.
quote: particularly undistinguished as givers when compared with the poor, who are strikingly generous.
quote: If charity worked, then the donations would have increased during the poor economy, because that's when people need it the most
quote: The wealthy give less of their income to charity, it does not work as a replacement for taxation.
quote: There is no way 90% of Americans, let alone a young married couple, could cope with that.
quote: Shit happens, sometimes it's more than you can bear. The government should step in to help it's people in those type of situations.
quote: Why don't you ask the people you know for money because you're having a child...
quote: Give up this republican ideal of "people will help each other out." They won't
quote: especially not when they're rich.
quote: Why don't you ask the people you know for money because you're having a child and see the responses you get before stating that?
quote: Give up this republican ideal of "people will help each other out." They won't, especially not when they're rich.
quote: I am not talking about the useless lumps who live on welfare for their entire lives here, I am talking about people who WANT to work, but because of economic and social conditions, it can't happen.
quote: but we can't punish the large majority that actually needs the help because of those that take advantage of the system.
quote: Perhaps better oversight is the answer to try to weed out those that are taking advantage of the system.
quote: Back in 2001-2002, there were people in the San Francisco Bay area with a Masters degree working for McDonalds because the jobs (in high-rent San Francisco) were gone.
quote: Tell that to the people in New Orleans who lost their homes when Katrina hit
quote: I'll reiterate the argument that it has nothing to do with taxes; it comes down to price comparisons and item availability. That's it.
quote: Taxes implies costs which goes back to his original point. We buy things online because they are cheaper even after shipping and taxes.
quote: A brick and mortal store enjoys the local infrastructure, police and fire protection and even curb appeal upkeep, that will be paid for with these taxes
quote: Basically I just don't think it's fair for the brick and mortar stores to have to charge people taxes when somebody else will deliver for free and not charge taxes on the same item.
quote: I'm kind of rambling now but my point is it should be fair for all retailers.
quote: And those millions could pay for that damn sales tax they have to pay!
quote: But it could hurt small e-tailers like ThinkGeek even more; as they would need major infrastructure overhauls to support the collection of taxes. There are over 7,500 taxing jurisdiction in the U.S., each with their own tax rules. Navigating that mess would be a nightmare for these small players.
quote: While the bigger players like amazon will probably implement the entire thing in house, 99% or better of the other e-tailers would simply outsource it to a 3rd party that does all the complicated sorting out and offers the needed data via a web service.
quote: Sen. Mike Enzi(R-Wyoming) will co-sponsor the bill.
quote: The new bill will be entitled "The Main Street Fairness Act". According to his aides Sen. Mike Enzi(R-Wyoming) will co-sponsor the bill. He sponsored a previous bill with the aim of internet taxation
quote: F$&% political parties.
quote: paying their fair share of taxes
quote: "The underlying issue is not only one that Congress may be better qualified to resolve, but also one that Congress has the ultimate power to resolve. No matter how we evaluate the burdens that use taxes impose on interstate commerce, Congress remains free to disagree with our conclusions"