eanda logoby @anarchyroll
December 26, 2013

Why no online sales tax? A 1992 Supreme Court ruling in the case of Quill Corp v. North Dakota where it was ruled a business needed a physical presence (ie office, store, etc) to collect sales tax as opposed to just a paying customer. How was this ruling maintained for two decades? The Direct Marketing Association‘s lobbying on behalf of online behemoths like Amazon and eBay. What could force sales taxes onto online purchases? The Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013. Who? The bill was sponsored by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin. When do you have to start paying taxes on your online purchases? You already do in 24 states. However, surprise surprise there is a loophole and congressional gridlock holding up progress.

States must simplify their sales tax laws in order to make the collection of taxes easy. Apparatus is being provided to states free of cost to help in the transitory process/period. However, a certain political party is objecting to a new tax of any kind being put on the books. I’ll give you one guess which one, hint hint, it’s not the Whigs. In October it appeared as though the machine and momentum were both rolling in the direction of sales tax collection on all internet purchases made in the United States. But never underestimate what congressional obstructionism has the power to not do.

Even if the bill were to pass tomorrow it is already too late for the thousands of brick and mortar stores that shut down and the millions of people who lost their jobs due to being unable to compete in a game rigged against them by a law that protects e retailers created before they existed. There is hope for the future. Small businesses that are better able to adapt to and engage with technology will find that a new era where the internet is a friend and a tool as opposed to a competitor will equal opportunity and prosperity. Now if only they could get small business loans…

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