Internet Sales Taxes and Fairness

by on February 25, 2008 · 18 comments

I’d like to chime in in agreement with Adam on the ‘net sales tax issue. I also think there’s another problem with Magid’s argument that Adam didn’t mention:

By exempting out-of-state Internet retailers from collecting tax, the state is essentially discriminating in their favor, over businesses with a local presence which not only collect local and state taxes, but also pay local and state taxes themselves, hire local people who pay all sorts of taxes and also pay rent to local landlords who, in turn, pay property and income taxes that help support our schools and other services.

I love buying things online but I also love how local merchants add to the fabric of our communities. The business climate for independently owned local stores is tough enough. Why should they be forced to charge customers 8 percent more as a punishment for doing business in our communities and contributing to our local economy and job market?

Well, because these businesses use state services. Customers get to brick-and-mortar businesses on state and local roads. These stores use local police and fire services. Their owners and employees go to government schools and use government-subsidized health care. And so, naturally, they’re taxed to help pay for these government services.

Amazon uses state and local services in Washington state, and so they’re taxed to help pay for services there. They don’t use Missouri public services, and so it’s reasonable that they’re not subject to Missouri taxes.

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