State Taxes

We all know that if you buy goods on Amazon you get to avoid state sales tax.  Buy your whole Christmas on line and you might be able to save a hundred bucks.  Maybe two.

Should states be able to reach out to those online retailers and tax them as if they were selling goods in state:

Garner, N.C. — A group of North Carolina citizens is lobbying Congress to require companies not based in the state who sell online to start charge state sales tax.

The Alliance for Main Street Fairness, which has branches in several states, said not all companies are doing so, which creates a less even playing field for local businesses.

“People come into the store. They look at the appliances. They go online. They find it cheaper. The cheaper is (because) they’re saving $70, $80, $100 on sales tax,” Alliance for Main Street Fairness spokesman Christopher Dean said Sunday.

The issue affects businesses like Garner TV and Appliance, which doesn’t have an online store.

“It’s a huge, huge impact on our business that we worry about every day and what we can do to stop it,” the company’s Vice President of Operations, Randy Pleasant, said.

I guess it depends upon how you look at it.

If the state is simply saying that we want to generate revenue on goods sold, then yeah, online sales should be taxed.  On the other hand, you could argue that sales tax is meant to pay for infrastructure that isn’t being consumed by out of state businesses.

Either way, state governments would be wise NOT to use the sales tax as a means of “even the playing field” for business.  THAT is most certainly not the role of government.

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