The Daily Gazette
The Locally Owned Voice Of The Capital Region

Editorial: Feds should impose rules for taxing Internet sales

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A movement started three years ago by Gov. Eliot Spitzer to make Internet retailers collect and remit sales taxes has picked up steam as states struggle for new ways to raise money without raising income taxes. This is generally good news, but in fairness to the e-tailers, the feds should address this issue once and for all. States have lost billions of dollars in sales taxes to Internet companies, thanks to a 1992 Supreme Court ...

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March 23, 2011
7:09 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

This sounds great in theory. In practice, how are the small, part-time business owners (often a one-person operation) supposed to keep track of tax rates by multiple counties in multiple states? In NYS, tax rates differ by county based on the point of delivery. So if I sell a widget to Saratoga and an identical widget to Schenectady, the final prices are different because of taxes. Federal taxation with current tax codes would mean people like me would have to stop selling online.

March 23, 2011
9:34 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

The National Association of Governors, or of Attorneys General, or some similar group should be able to come up with a software program that can keep track of the taxes, with constant updates, for a reasonable price, or maybe for free. Amazon probably already has such a program.

March 23, 2011
9:48 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

There will be opportunities for entrepreneurs to develop and sell tables and software programs to small business owners to help determine the sales taxes. After all, if you want to use technology to make sales, you should be willing to use it to report them as well.

The tax-free status of most internet sales is an undue burden on the brick and mortar stores they compete with. The brick and mortar stores that hire us and our kids and let us see and feel our potential purchases and who stand, with a REAL address where customers can go to return defective product and get a refund handed to them.

BTW, I am a merchant selling to multiple NYS counties. The reporting for a larger area would be no more a reporting burden then the sales tax forms (ST809, ST100, ST101) already required within NYS.