The Sales Tax: A Level Playing Field?

The New York Times, EDITORIALS/LETTERS, Thursday, May 2, 2013

“Fairness on Sales Tax:  The Senate is finally about to pass a bill to let states collect sales taxes on online purchases

Twenty-one years is a long time to wait.  But that is how long local retailers have waited for Congress to undo a 1992 Supreme Court decision that exempted many online retailers, like, from collecting most state sales taxes.  The exemption has given online sellers a 5% percent to 10% price advantage over Main Street stores.  

The wait, however, may soon be over.  Next week the Senate is expected to pass the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013, a bipartisan bill that would authorize states to require out-of-state sellers with more than $1 million in sales to collect sales taxes.  The states, in return,, must simplify their sales-tax codes and give retailers free software to calculate the taxes–steps already taken by most states.  A identical bill in the house also has bipartisan support…

Main Street needs a level playing field to compete with the exploding online industry.  So do large retailers like Best Buy, that have cut jobs as shoppers have increasingly tested electronics at local stores and then gone home to buy then online without paying sales tax.  Equally important, states need the revenue to help recover from the recession.”

A level playing field is needed in sports, but also in business. It’s only fair.



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