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North Carolina wants a piece of digital sales

Most consumers would agree that they are taxed enough. Those who happen to live in a state that has a state income tax are taxed even higher than some consumers in America are. One of the few respites from sales tax has long been online purchases through companies who don’t have a physical presence in the state the consumer lives in.

Massive online retailers like Amazon.com and Apple, owner of iTunes, have spent a considerable amount of time and money fighting attempts by various states to tax digital sales. New York State passed a law that forced Amazon to add sales tax to orders for consumers in the state. Amazon filed suit against the state on the grounds that it had no physical presence in New York State, a concept called "nexus" which previously had protected online firms against such taxation. However, Amazon ultimately lost the suit because New York State was able to prove that by soliciting affiliates in the state it was effectively doing business there.  In losing, a legal precedent was set which promised to potentially undo nexus protections for online retailers across the country.

Apple's iTunes store has also drawn the eyes of lawmakers in various states looking to add tax revenue to their state coffers, inspired by recent successes. New York State was again at the forefront of the case when it tried in December of 2008 to force Apple to collect sales tax on digital sales from iTunes.

Other states are looking at the success New York State has had with getting money from digital sales and want a piece of the action. A legislative commission in North Carolina is looking at methods that could be used to tax digital downloads from sources like Amazon and iTunes.

The committee is attempting to "modernize" the North Carolina tax code, which was written long before the advent of digital sales.

Rep. Paul Luebke describes, "We used to think of everything in terms of being tangible. Nobody thought of how you could possibly download anything."

At this point, taxing digital downloads is still nothing more than a proposal and is far from becoming law. However, changes proposed by the general assembly could affect how tax laws in North Carolina are written in the future.

Luebke continues, "So if you buy a book in a bookstore, you're going to have to pay sales tax on it," Luebke said. "If you're downloading a book from a book seller, you should have to pay sales tax on that as well."

According to research taxing digital sales of music, books, movies, and software could add about $12 million to state tax revenues over the next fiscal year. That is a temptation that the state isn’t likely to pass up, considering that North Carolina is faced with a $2 billion shortfall in its budget.

CEO of the North Carolina Technology Association Brooks Railford disagrees with the proposed digital sales tax. Mr. Railford states, "We would be concerned about any kind of new taxes in this economy. The consumer is already very highly taxed, the economy is stretched. All we're asking is that those considerations be taken carefully and that the industry be asked for their input as the legislation is finalized."

One of Railford's major concerns is the impact on sales of digital good to the companies who sell them. The lack of sales tax online is often one of the key reasons consumers buy online rather than in a retail store. Adding sales tax could have a major detrimental effect on online retailers.



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RE: Hey, North Carolina...
By afkrotch on 1/29/2009 11:34:08 AM , Rating: -1
I'm assuming you don't work for the government. We've been cutting back on spending for a while now.

Certain things have of course increased spending, seeing as there's a war going on.


RE: Hey, North Carolina...
By RandallMoore on 1/29/09, Rating: -1
RE: Hey, North Carolina...
By afkrotch on 1/29/2009 12:04:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You gotta be fuckin jokin me? Am I being punked?


huh? I'm in the military and everywhere I go, our squadrons are getting lower and lower budgets. My current squadron had it's budget cut so far, we dropped into the red and had to give explanation as to why.

I work Comm and it pisses me off that we cannot get spares for our primary systems. I don't know how many times I've been left trying to scrounge around to get a system back up and running, only to have to do an overnight delivery of the part.

This all seemed to have started around the beginning of OIF. Before this place, I was in Japan. Same situation. Before that working NSA and same crap.

Now I have no idea what your State government does with your state taxes, but Federal is cutting back and whatever else is available ends up in stupid stimulus packages, bailout packages, and towards security, defense, warfighting, etc.


RE: Hey, North Carolina...
By mars777 on 1/29/2009 1:37:56 PM , Rating: 3
You can easily solve your problem by getting another more civilized job :)


RE: Hey, North Carolina...
By Denithor on 1/29/09, Rating: 0
RE: Hey, North Carolina...
By BansheeX on 1/29/2009 10:13:52 PM , Rating: 3
The guy said he was in Japan. Why? If you honestly think we need military bases in every country, you have your head up your butt. It costs us a trillion a year of money we have to borrow from the future. The only foreign policy that makes sense is shoring up our porous borders and attacking when attacked. Not policing the world. Not paying troops to live in Germany and Japan. Not attacking things that might attack us, which is anyone and everyone and causes us to be the unpopular occupier and initiator of force. We lose our allies, we galvanize anti-American propaganda on which ragtag terrorist groups depend for recruitment.

I argue with crazy people who actually think it's America's duty to send its own children overseas to die to save children elsewhere. Sorry, but that's a blood trade. The military's job is actual defense of this country, not to be a sacrificial lamb for other people. A draft would cause them to realize this pretty quickly, but for now, we have plenty of illegals and indebted people to recruit, so the gung ho are isolated and everyone else is a mercenary to get a piece of the growing tax pie appropriated for the military.


RE: Hey, North Carolina...
By afkrotch on 1/30/2009 8:13:46 AM , Rating: 2
The US is the only superpower in the world. Kind of makes us the only country able to police the events around the world. The military is built to protect the country and our interests.

DoD 2009 Budget. $515.4 billion. That's for everything DoD. Like wages, utilities, R&D, etc. 1 Trillion for overseas bases, you're retarded.

Isolationism approach. Doesn't work. Which will protect the US better? A missile shield located along our shores or a missle shield that is located in Europe? Guarantee you that it's easier to shoot down an intercontinetal ballistic missile while it's gaining altitude, then when it loses altitude.

Military bases overseas are located in strategic locations for our nations defense and some are for the defense of our interests.

Not exactly sure how illegals can get into the military or who these indebted ppl are. Someone seems to be pretty ignorant in the ways of the world.


RE: Hey, North Carolina...
By killerb255 on 1/29/2009 2:25:07 PM , Rating: 2
I do have doubts as to whether or not that's actually 100% true, but...

http://digg.com/politics/Obama_Freezes_Salaries_Of...


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