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(Politico)   Online shopping: It's cheap, reliable, and there is a great selection of fantastic gifts out there. Except the cheap thing may not be true anymore as states start realizing this and are gonna start taxing your ass   (politico.com) divider line 29
    More: Sad, online retailers, state sales tax, artificial Christmas trees, gifts  
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3645 clicks; posted to Main » on 23 Nov 2012 at 9:53 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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Archived thread
2012-11-23 09:57:44 AM  
13 votes:
Taxes aren't going to make me want to suddenly get dressed, get in the car, drive through some traffic lights, hunt for a parking spot, shoulder my way into a store through the cold air, and then hope that they have it in stock, and in a location that makes sense.

Internet wins
2012-11-23 09:55:13 AM  
3 votes:
If this is a huge problem for you, maybe you need to stop shopping already.
2012-11-23 10:36:21 AM  
2 votes:

zamboni: SisterMaryElephant: Tuba City, AZ
13.725% sales tax rate

/how are smaller internets business owners going to track sales tax rates for over 6,000 jurisdictions they could possibly ship to?

I think they call them "databases"... but I could be wrong.

If they can ship to 6,000 jurisdictions, they can calculate taxes to 6,000 jurisdictions.


Yes, because putting an address an ZIP code and paying the postage to send it there is exactly the same as knowing the exact tax rate by neighborhood, any changes that have happened recently, the proper forms for each (city, county and state) and where to send those at the end of the year.
Moran.
2012-11-23 10:18:41 AM  
2 votes:
The best part is the old brick and mortar stores REALLY believe that the sales tax is why I shop online. No, it's because I needed a flash drive the other day, and the local store had 16 GB stick for $40. Amazon had the same thing for $10. I'd have paid $15 at the local store to have it immediately, but not a 400% markup.
2012-11-23 10:14:17 AM  
2 votes:

Wade_Wilson: Even if my state starts applying the same 6% sales tax to my Amazon purchases that I get at the mall, online is STILL better because the base price is so much lower, meaning 6% of it is lower too. Throw in the cost of gas and the fact that Prime means free shipping, and I fail to see the downside.


This.

This just brings in more money for the state. It doesn't 'level the playing field' for brick and mortar stores. A cheaper item online, even with sales tax is still cheaper.

Prime is the best money I have EVAR spent.
2012-11-23 10:14:11 AM  
2 votes:
I don't have a big problem with this, but let the states iron it out.

If I go to my local brick and mortar I don't have to save my receipts, then figure my sales tax at the end of the year. I shouldn't have to with interweb purchases.

Look, you guys figure it out. Calculate the taxes, who they should go to, then give me a number. I'll decide if I want to go with that.

Maybe I'm weird, but I don't shop online because I'll save on sales tax. I do it because I can find a better price than I can locally, better selection than I can locally, and they send it to my door, often free of shipping charges.

I save more than the, in my case 7%, sales tax. I get what I want, and can get it delivered to my office.

You have computers... hell, you sell them... use 'em, dammit.
2012-11-23 10:13:07 AM  
2 votes:
Maybe taxes wouldn't be such a horrid thing if we were all paid a living wage and those wages actually went up, allowing everybody to buy more stuff. Seems we're just splitting hairs when it comes to sales tax when the real issue is that stores are paying their employees less yet expecting those same employees to spend more each and every year.
2012-11-23 10:02:05 AM  
2 votes:
Even if my state starts applying the same 6% sales tax to my Amazon purchases that I get at the mall, online is STILL better because the base price is so much lower, meaning 6% of it is lower too. Throw in the cost of gas and the fact that Prime means free shipping, and I fail to see the downside.
2012-11-23 10:01:57 AM  
2 votes:
Speaking from the small retailer side of things, I don't have a problem with this except that they want US to collect tax, track the tax rates for every single municipality we ship to, and I guess file some kind of tax form with each of those. I sell 50-100 items a month and it would be a huge pain in the ass. I can't even imagine being one of the higher volume sellers and having to do that.

Depending on how involved it was, I'd probably lose at least two days a month to just doing the paperwork. This is assuming ebay didn't implement some tool to help us, because frankly I'd be shocked if they did. They won't even store sales data past 90 days.
2012-11-23 04:47:16 PM  
1 votes:

zamboni: buzzcut73: zamboni:
Yeah, I guess you're right, FedEx has such problem determining price to deliver a product of x, y and z dimensions, w weight from door a to door b. Then they have to figure out who to send the bill also. It's too much. It must take them days to figure all that out.

So what you're saying is that a state that wants to collect sales taxes couldn't be bothered to update a national database, and those who want to sell products to the citizens of said state are too lazy to make a good faith effort to calculate the taxes as part of their business. I mean, they do want to be in the business... don't they?

OK. How about an internet sales tax. 50 states determine internet sales tax for their states. Suppliers doggedly determine what state they are sending their product to. After much deliberation, and looking at a laminated chart on the wall they determine what to charge. Then, after typing out an invoice, or perhaps hand writing it, they can inform the customer what the cost will be via telephone, or telegram.

Mind you, a computer could figure out the original idea in minutes, calculate the total, inform and/or bill the customer and electronically transfer the taxes received to the appropriate parties. They do have computers now. Probably can even put away the card catalogs and rolodexes. Things have changed a little since ...


Your analogy sucks. FED EX is a Fortune 500 company with a proprietary database developed and maintained by a full time (likely 24/7/365 IT staff) that calculates shipping costs for packages. That is a hell of a lot different than keeping up with different sales tax rates in over 6000 jurisdictions. Amazon can probably handle it, but Bob's Books has neither the time or the capabilities to do so.

Once they're collected, there is the issue of paying them. Does County X in state Y require monthly, weekly, or quarterly filings? Do I need to register with that particular entity before I can submit payments? What forms are required? How about the $0.0025 add on for the township? Separate filing or does it go to the county, or does the state take care of that part?

I honestly don't know what the answer is on how to make it work, but it is a very, very difficult issue to expect small internet retailers to deal with, especially when they don't even have a presence in the place the goods went to.

Yes, computers can figure the tax rates, but local governments accepting your submissions without paperwork? You can't even renew your driver's license or plates online in some states because credit card processing is a mystery to the DMV. State tax departments aren't that much better.
2012-11-23 10:52:17 AM  
1 votes:
Most Canuckistan provinces have adopted "HST" ( harmonized sales tax) - a single dong up the ass with each purchase (instead of two).
The butthurt still stings like hell - but it feels you've only been violated once instead of twice.
2012-11-23 10:47:32 AM  
1 votes:

Wade_Wilson: Even if my state starts applying the same 6% sales tax to my Amazon purchases that I get at the mall, online is STILL better because the base price is so much lower, meaning 6% of it is lower too. Throw in the cost of gas and the fact that Prime means free shipping, and I fail to see the downside.


There's probably some wiggle room in prices as well. I bet once the taxes are everywhere, the price will fall on stuff to still be cheaper to order online.

Not having to leave my desk to get essentials or oddball things sure is appealing though. Some stuff I buy online just isn't available anywhere in the state. I'd have to drive to local large city with overseas importer outlets to find things.

When I hear the first rumors of my state doing the "we want our money" dance, I'll be buying up my entire wish-list lickity split.
2012-11-23 10:46:39 AM  
1 votes:
I'd be ok with them making sales levy the state tax, and let the county and city sales taxes fend for themselves.

But as other small business people have said, the 50-100 sales a month they do would be a horrible burden to keep track of down to the county level. Big sites could do it easy, tell the municipalities if you want your sales tax you need to fill out web form x from the secretary of treasurer or some shiat, but can you imagine being some SBO who suddenly had 'the new internet meme hot thing' and the shiat they have to go through to sell to just the US?

Computers could make it easier, but politicians are involved so it won't be.
2012-11-23 10:45:43 AM  
1 votes:

zamboni: SisterMaryElephant: Tuba City, AZ
13.725% sales tax rate

/how are smaller internets business owners going to track sales tax rates for over 6,000 jurisdictions they could possibly ship to?

I think they call them "databases"... but I could be wrong.

If they can ship to 6,000 jurisdictions, they can calculate taxes to 6,000 jurisdictions.


Yeah, but you can't just buy the one database, because tomorrow, rates go up/down in 267 of those jurisdictions. Then, next month, another 1,000 change (quarter/year end). February 1st, more will change.

Some states require licensing. And don't even get started with CO, AL, and LA, whose (local) rates may change depending on what side of the street you're on, and also may require licensing or registration.

And auditors are always a joy to work with.

Don't get me wrong - I specialize in SALT so it would be great for my business. Not so great for the smaller of small business owners.
2012-11-23 10:38:44 AM  
1 votes:

Super Chronic: Of course, if you buy things on the Internet and pay no sales taxes, technically you're liable for use taxes. But that's impossible for states to enforce. I think it's possible, and Constitutional, for the federal government to address the old Supreme Court cases (e.g. Quill) with federal legislation to protect state tax bases (effectively providing that every vendor has nexus in every state), but there is currently a substantial element in Congress who think tax avoidance is a god-given American right.


Just as long as the implementation for this clusterfark is viable. I make several sales a week over the 'net, to different physical locations every time. If I've got to suddenly keep track of individual tax rates for thousands of different municipalities, all of which are subject to change without notice, and then I've got to cut a check at the end of the year to each one of those individual entities.... well... fark that. Hell, this doesn't even address the issue of whether or not a sales tax license would be required for small online retailers like me. I sure hope not, because there's no farking way I'm going to spend $25 a year to charge $1.27 in sales tax in a jurisdiction I've never even heard of in the middle of nowhere, ad infinitum for every single tax jurisdiction in the US...

Being that this has a large potential to unintentionally shut... down... every small internet based retailer overnight, I sure hope that the implementation issue is addressed rationally with us in mind :P
2012-11-23 10:31:25 AM  
1 votes:
I kinda understand why states are doing this, and sorry Wal Mart and Target, I'll still buy from Amazon sales tax or not because I really hate going to your stores.

This really sucks for the small online merchant though. Having to track ever-changing state, county, township and municipality (and even sometimes district level) sales taxes would be way more than anything but the big boys could handle.
2012-11-23 10:29:08 AM  
1 votes:
If I buy online, I have to pay shipping and handling, plus I have to wait a few days or maybe a week or two to get it. And I don't get to see it before I spend my money. Serious disadvantages to THIS customer! On the other hand, I don't get the "We're sold out or we don't carry that size/model, and we don't know when the next shipment will come in. That's up to the Warehouse that knows you really don't want to buy that after all." Bricks-and-morter vs. internet is not an "even playing field", but the advantages are not all on one side, and a lot of the lumps in the field were created by the clowns who are complaining that the internet gives an unfair advantage.

I just had a thought -- if the internet is so much better (profitable), why don't retailers like Lowes give more than lip service to internet sales?
2012-11-23 10:26:04 AM  
1 votes:
amazon is opening up shippIng depots all over the country, to provide next day shipping for less and to increase Prime memberships. Get used to taxes.
2012-11-23 10:22:49 AM  
1 votes:
I live in New Hampshire so of course I'm getting a kick. I've lived on the Mass, Maine and now VT state lines so I've seen the desire people have to avoid a little tax all over. I've often had friends in other states ask me to pick things up for them and ship them or bring them to them when I visit so they can avoid taxes. I wonder at what point it would become profitable to set up a site like shippingfirendinNH.com where you hire a middle man to freight you all your holiday stuff to avoid the taxes.
2012-11-23 10:21:26 AM  
1 votes:

debug: The people biatching about paying sales tax on online purchases are the same folks that will complain about how schools don't get enough funding or the museum down town is closing due to lack of funding or program blah-blah-blah is ending due to lack of funding.

Pay up or shut up.


I normally find the folks who biatch about taxes, particularly ones that give megacorp advantages over smaller brick and mortar businesses are more the ones who are left looking all confused when suddenly all the stores in their town are shuttered, their property taxes are jacked up to replace lost revenue and suddenly an entire industry of jobs is gone from their town for good. Then as they tend to be older they decide to retire and go live in a college town that still has a viable main street and focus their biatching on how the town would be so much better without all the college students.
2012-11-23 10:19:23 AM  
1 votes:
Of course, if you buy things on the Internet and pay no sales taxes, technically you're liable for use taxes. But that's impossible for states to enforce. I think it's possible, and Constitutional, for the federal government to address the old Supreme Court cases (e.g. Quill) with federal legislation to protect state tax bases (effectively providing that every vendor has nexus in every state), but there is currently a substantial element in Congress who think tax avoidance is a god-given American right.
2012-11-23 10:18:15 AM  
1 votes:
Tuba City, AZ
13.725% sales tax rate

/how are smaller internets business owners going to track sales tax rates for over 6,000 jurisdictions they could possibly ship to?
2012-11-23 10:16:43 AM  
1 votes:

NannyStatePark: cryinoutloud: If this is a huge problem for you, maybe you need to stop shopping already.

49 percent of Americans are on public assistance, but let's start judging people for whom this could present a problem, because obviously it stems from a spiritual defect or an allergy to shopping....

/she knows what I mean


49% of Americans are on public assistance? WTF? Citation Needed.

Oh, I'm sure that's your FOX News/AM Talk Radio talking point, with some incredibly vague, or incredibly loose definition of what counts as "public assistance".

It's worded to make it sound like half of America is on welfare and living on the dole, just leeching off the good hardworking Real Americans, but in reality it's more like some people might get some tiny perk that's a drop in the bucket compared to their actual wages and salaries, you know, things they pay for in taxes on their jobs?

Seriously, I'd like to see the math on this "49% of Americans are on public assistance" claim, because I'm calling Bullshiat on this.  Sounds distorted or misleading.
2012-11-23 10:13:30 AM  
1 votes:
FTFA: "Scott Mason, vice president of government affairs for Lowe's, the home improvement chain, "Lowes.com collects sales tax from shoppers in every state that has a sales tax and where the company operates stores and warehouses. "It's absolutely a position of disadvantage.""

So does Amazon, asshole, and they always have.

I shop at Amazon for the price, selection and convenience, irrespective of having to pay sales tax. When I want to buy two by fours, I go to Homer. Lowes is too expensive... ;^)
2012-11-23 10:11:59 AM  
1 votes:
I find it amazing that the internet is so gung-ho about taxing the rich and hating people who tax evade etc.. But then it's something terrible that states are trying to tax online sales.
2012-11-23 10:11:17 AM  
1 votes:
The thing that makes online shopping so cheap is I can instantly compare it to any number of other places, and get the best price. Not because I'm saving 7-8% on sales tax.
2012-11-23 10:11:10 AM  
1 votes:
NannyStatePark: I'm in Texas so i'm already paying taxes on Amazon. But it begs the question, exactly where are we doing business technically?

China.
2012-11-23 10:05:26 AM  
1 votes:

Just another Heartland Weirdass: Girion47: Taxes aren't going to make me want to suddenly get dressed, get in the car, drive through some traffic lights, hunt for a parking spot, shoulder my way into a store through the cold air, and then hope that they have it in stock, and in a location that makes sense.

Internet wins

I predict a scheme to tax you for that convenience on top of sales tax. I'm serious.


Tax? Are you kidding? It's the companies that will wise up and start with the convenience charge, Think of all the profit they are missing!

NannyStatePark: cryinoutloud: If this is a huge problem for you, maybe you need to stop shopping already.

49 percent of Americans are on public assistance, but let's start judging people for whom this could present a problem, because obviously it stems from a spiritual defect or an allergy to shopping....

/she knows what I mean


If they are on public assistance then how many of them are buying big ticket items over the computer that they would have to worry about taxes?
2012-11-23 09:57:16 AM  
1 votes:
I'm in Texas so i'm already paying taxes on Amazon. But it begs the question, exactly where are we doing business technically?
 
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