Coming To A Computer Near You

Will 2013 be the year that congress takes action on the ability of states to collect sales taxes for online purchases? Legislation was introduced last year, but was not enacted. Not surprising, given the failure of this Congress to do much of anything. Here’s a piece from Bloomberg that lays out the arguments for and against. The arguments for boil down to necessity and fairness. States say they need the money. That’s why many state governors have come out in support. And brick and mortar retailers want a “level playing field.” They collect sales taxes on transactions, why shouldn’t online sellers? But opponents also cite fairness. Online sellers with no physical presence in a state don’t consume the resources and services that the taxes pay for. They also worry that small operators will go out of business if the tax burden is piled on. Online retailer eBay and the Heritage Foundation are political bedfellows on this one. I think there will be some legislation passed this year. Amazon, who once opposed the idea, now supports it. That will go a long way toward balancing out the opposition. And I suspect there will be some exemption for small online retailers – probably around the million dollar revenue end. But we will see. What do you think? Are you willing to pay a little more for the convenience?