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One Opinion

One Opinion: Internet tax not as 'fair' as it appears

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Elaine Kolodziej is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or

April 25, 2013 | 2,314 views | 4 comments

The Marketplace Fairness Act, may soon pass the Senate. It would require sellers to collect sales taxes for online purchases.

At first glance, it would appear to be as it says: Fair. But closer examination would indicate otherwise. First, such a law would do nothing to make things fair by balancing one business against another. Any-way, fairness is not the role of government.

Secondly, we pay more than enough taxes already. More taxes will not mean better government, nor will it mean paying down our debt. More taxes just gives elected officials the power to spend even more, as they use the additional revenue to find ways to stay in office.

President Barack Obama supports the Senate Bill subject-ing anything you buy online to state and local sales taxes based on where you live. Of course, this increases the cost to consumers, but that is not the worst of it.

It would then be up to sellers of goods and services online to calculate, collect, and deposit sales taxes to all 9,600 taxing entities, based on the purchas-er’s address. It’s easy to see that this would be a literal nightmare of paperwork for small businesses. OK, where do you live? And what are the tax rates there? Yes, I’m sure there is software to assist, but this adds another level of control, bureaucracy, and centralization.

The simple answer is to let people keep their money and spend it as they see fit, rather than sending it to Washington to be doled out in measured incre-ments.

You discover the biggest fallacy in the fairness argument, however, if you follow the money. Giants such as Walmart and Amazon support the online tax. Why not? Forcing small businesses to comply with onerous regulations means fewer small competitors and more profit for the big guys.

“Small online sellers will therefore have to comply with tax laws created by distant governments in which they have no representation, and in places where they consume no local services,” writes The Wall Street Journal.

This is nothing short of “taxation without representation,” writes Heritage President Jim DeMint. His recommendation: Lawmakers should reject at-tempts by states to grab money from citizens and companies in other states, and reject making online goods more expensive for consumers.

This tax is presented as a “fairness” tax in that it is seen as fair to the brick and mortar stores in your neighborhood who have to collect sales tax. Online sellers now may not have to collect the local sales taxes, however, they DO have to pay shipping and handling, so that argument would be cancelled out.

Catalog sales, on the other hand, always have been subject to the same rules as online purchases, i.e. you collect sales taxes only if your company has a physical presence in that jurisdiction.

Suddenly, politicians see a gold mine of new taxing potential here, and a way to more tightly control and centralize tax collections. You can join Marco Rubio in signing a petition to put a stop to what he calls a big MISTAKE. Sign the petition here:
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Your Opinions and Comments

April 27, 2013 12:30pm
Alvin.......Right on......I thought that sales tax would be remitted to the state who in turn would send the local tax portions to the local communities.

Alvin Charmaine  
April 27, 2013 10:14am
I guess i should add bringing up shipping costs is ridiculous. The cost of doing business has nothing to with sales tax - online retailers don't have to pay rent, should we tax them the difference and send that to the schools? Sales ... More ›

Alvin Charmaine  
April 27, 2013 9:23am
?????? I don't like paying taxes either but forcing one business to collect a tax and not another while selling the same exact product doesnt seem right at all. This is closing a loophole. Local businesses benefit from ... More ›

Elaine K.  
April 26, 2013 3:39am
From Campaign for Liberty: Early Friday morning, (that's today!) possibly even shortly after midnight, the Senate is expected to hold its last cloture vote before proceeding to final passage on the so-called “Marketplace ... More ›

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