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Senate To Vote On Internet Sales Tax (For Real This Time)

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the even-more-of-other-people's-money dept.

United States 326

New submitter JoeyRox writes "On 3/22 the Senate approved a non-binding proposal to allow states to tax online sales to residents outside their state. That vote was a trial balloon to gauge the support for the Marketplace Fairness Act. This week Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filed a cloture to allow the law to be voted on for real this time. The vote may occur as soon as tomorrow. eBay is attempting to rally Americans against the bill via a massive email campaign."

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Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43510317)

The retailers are not using any state subsidized utilities except for postal service. Instead of doing this, they should just run postal service at cost and finish off the issue

Re:Why? (1, Insightful)

Skreems (598317) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510589)

No, but the people buying the products are.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43510601)

you are exactly right, they float in the cloud and teleport their goods to the parcel service

School system, Roads, tax breaks, electricity? (0)

rsilvergun (571051) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510613)

Heck, then there's that whole internet thing. Practically everything businesses use is heavily subsidized by the gov't, especially big guys like Amazon & Ebay. It's just done in an indirect manner. Amazon pays their warehouse workers poorly and lets the gov't pick up the slack in the form of Earned Income Credit, childcare services, etc (same as Walmart actually).

Capitalism is for the poor my friend.

Re:School system, Roads, tax breaks, electricity? (2)

green1 (322787) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510659)

What part of the government picking up the slack is capitalism?

Re:School system, Roads, tax breaks, electricity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43510701)

Wow, I guess somebody didn't read their Adam Smith.

Re:School system, Roads, tax breaks, electricity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43510927)

Does anyone take this communistic crap seriosly?

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43510623)

The retailers are not paying the tax. They are only collecting it.

Re:Why? (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510831)

"The retailers are not paying the tax. They are only collecting it."

But don't the politicians know that people buy guns on the internet? They'll end up in a register somewhere and we all know that can never be, so this will get shut down.

Re:Why? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43510961)

You're a retard. If you buy a gun on the internet, it's shipped to a local FFL that performs a background check before it's handed over to you.

This is a Constitutional tax (-1)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510331)

As long as the tax is uniform, Congress can levy such an indirect a tax on transactions.

Of-course they are not going to repeal the unconstitutional taxes [slashdot.org] that exist today, so for example income tax, payroll and Medicare taxes stay.

Re:This is a Constitutional tax (1)

peragrin (659227) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510429)

Exactly. Sales tax varies not only state to state, but state, to county to city as well.

whose sales tax do you charge in the following scenario?

I in Mass, order something from a company in SC to be shipped to random upstate town, NY.

Which sales tax is to be collected and paid? there are at least 4 and possible 7 different sales taxes that need to be applied to that order.

Re:This is a Constitutional tax (1, Interesting)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510523)

The Federal tax must be uniform, the USA Constitution does not give authority to the Congress to prevent individual States, counties, municipalities from collecting their own taxes.

The question is whether this law going to force Amazon (and the rest) to collect taxes for localities where Amazon has no physical presence? That would be unconstitutional, federal government cannot force a retailer to collect local taxes.

Federally Constitutional excise tax is not a local sales tax. Also there is an interesting question about legality of forcing the seller to collect the tax, even if it is Constitutional. Of-course the government has no problem turning bankers and financial types into unpaid FBI and IRS agents, so forcing an online store to be one is not out of their character, they don't have a problem with it.

Re:This is a Constitutional tax (1)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510803)

Amazon supports this bill. They understand that closing off the opportunity for a company to grow on avoiding stat sales taxes is in their best interest because they know better than anyone how successful that model is.

Re:This is a Constitutional tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43510693)

Which sales tax is to be collected and paid? there are at least 4 and possible 7 different sales taxes that need to be applied to that order.

That's easy. The tax is paid for the locale that the order is being shipped to. It is to be treated as though it was purchased in person in that municipality.

Re:This is a Constitutional tax (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43510695)

In the EU the problem has been solved by the following:

You pay the VAT (aka.. sales tax) where the person receiving the item resides in. I don't think companies are required to levy the target country tax in some cases, like with low volume, but not sure.

Quite frankly this makes sense, since it means local companies can compete with the internet shops operating from low tax areas. It doesn't really work for local economy (which you are a part of), if all product services go to low tax areas and are remote only.

Re:This is a Constitutional tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43510813)

I in Mass, order something from a company in SC to be shipped to random upstate town, NY.

I suggest putting MA, SC and NY into a cage match to fight to the death to determine who gets that tax.

Also include Montana (where the SC company's distribution warehouse is!) and all the stats between Montana and New York. I mean, the usual money grab justification is, "use tax", yeah? Why should states stuck in the middle of a transaction be denied revenue for their roads/infrastructure being used?

Re:This is a Constitutional tax (2, Funny)

rhodium_mir (2876919) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510493)

All taxes are THEFT and are UNCONSTITUTIONAL, as are the parts of the constitution that authorize UNCONSTITUTIONAL taxes.

Re:This is a Constitutional tax (3, Insightful)

paiute (550198) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510513)

It must be true, because I saw it bolded on the Internet.

Re:This is a Constitutional tax (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43510663)

If it's in The Constitution, it's constitutional. The Amendment XVI was ratified allowing the government to collect taxes.

End of.

Re:This is a Constitutional tax (1)

green1 (322787) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510679)

All taxes are THEFT and are UNCONSTITUTIONAL, as are the parts of the constitution that authorize UNCONSTITUTIONAL taxes.

(emphasis changed)

I'm having a hard time figuring out how a part of the constitution can be unconstitutional. (Not being from the USA I can't tell you every line of your constitution, but that sentence simply doesn't parse)

Re:This is a Constitutional tax (1)

Captain Segfault (686912) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510731)

There are a number of fringe arguments that the sixteenth amendment, allowing an income tax, wasn't properly ratified.

Re:This is a Constitutional tax (0)

rhodium_mir (2876919) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510735)

You should read the link [slashdot.org] provided by roman_mir, one of the great constitutional scholars of our time.

Re:This is a Constitutional tax (3, Informative)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510753)

The government does a lot of crap that I disagree with. And, in fact, I see a lot of their crap as unconstitutional. But - the concept that all taxes are unconstitutional is pretty insane.

The federal income tax clearly has a lot of constitutionality issues surrounding it. Social security has some. Sales taxes? No way. Local governments are largely funded by sales taxes. They have to be funded from SOMEWHERE, so they are funded by local sales. When the internet was new, internet sales were exempted from local sales tax. Now, congress is going to change that. How is it unconstitutional? If anything, the exemption was unconstitutional, because it interfered with local government's ability to generate legitimate revenues.

Lighten up dude - not all taxes are unconstitutional. Taxes suck, but they are a necessary evil. Concentrate on those taxes that are actually unconstitutional, or at least very controversial.

As for which jurisdiction collects taxes on internet sales - the purchaser's home address serves as a point of contact, for billing purposes, mailing purposes, and for tax purposes.

Re:This is a Constitutional tax (1)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510865)

The Constitution does not grant Congress the power to regulate state level taxation, to force one to pay taxes in another state, or to collect the taxes on behalf of another state..

The issues that most complain about regarding income taxes are the methods of collection and enforcement. For example, the 5th amendment is supposed to protect us from self-incrimination, but a tax filing is self-incrimination. The IRS has its own tax courts, which do not follow due process. The right to assistance of counsel in defense has been turned into a joke because they seize the means to provide that counsel, then give a public defender who knows next to nothing.

Re:This is a Constitutional tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43510909)

I agree that they are supposed to charge the tax rate in effect at the address of the purchaser (although in practice they may instead charge the tax rate at the shipping address, for example when you buy a gift and ship direct). However, today, they can't even get it right in cases where they are required to charge tax. For example just this morning I ordered some stuff from Monoprice. They have a presence in California and I am in California too - so they have to charge tax. They did, but at the wrong rate. I am in a 8.25% district and they charged just the state value of 7.50%. They are supposed to charge the state, county, city, water district, etc. taxes. Another strange one in the retail space - we bought a new car yesterday. We were in the 9% district just next to ours. They charged us the 8.5% rate because of our address. However none of the stores in the adjacent mall do this. They charge the 9% rate - the rate where they are at, not the rate where I live. Where do I apply for my refund if what the car dealer did was correct? Since we can't even correctly apply the sales / use taxes we have now, how the hell are we going to have everyone get it even close when it goes across state lines? And, does this become a boom for "locker box" services at the state line of states with no sales tax?

Re:This is a Constitutional tax (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43510517)

How in the hell is income tax unconstitutional when Amendment XVI of the constitution specifically authorizes Congress to levy it?

Re:This is a Constitutional tax (0)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510549)

That's not what Constitution does, you should read the link [slashdot.org] that I provided, though it's not a short comment, if you can read you'll find your answer.

Re:This is a Constitutional tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43510585)

The sixteenth amendment to the US Constitution:

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

Congress can directly tax income without regard to any census, nor do income taxes need to be apportioned among the States. The language of 16A is really incredibly clear. Your rant is misinformed wishful thinking garbage.

Re:This is a Constitutional tax (4, Funny)

rhodium_mir (2876919) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510611)

Clearly you didn't read his LINK or else you would have been convinced by the crushing legal CONSTITUTIONAL scholarship of BOLD and italic text.

Re:This is a Constitutional tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43510931)

Clearly you didn't read his LINK or else you would have been convinced by the crushing legal CONSTITUTIONAL scholarship of BOLD and italic text.

Ahhh ... so you're one of those people. The ones that think "If you knew what I knew then you'd interpret it the same way I do and you'd see what I see and you'd obviously agree with me . Good luck with that. Maybe you need to use more caps & style tags to get your point across.

Re:This is a Constitutional tax (5, Informative)

smpoole7 (1467717) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510573)

> How in the hell is income tax unconstitutional when Amendment XVI of the constitution specifically authorizes Congress to levy it?

Good heavens, don't feed the trolls. You'll get a dozen answers and the net result is that you'll be late for dinner. :)

I strongly recommend Dan Evans Tax Protester FAQ. He covers all of the arguments (and why they've failed in court) in more detail than you probably want.

http://evans-legal.com/dan/tpfaq.html [evans-legal.com]

Unconstitutional as heck (2, Insightful)

naroom (1560139) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510337)

But very practical, and should have happened sooner. The overall efficiency of our society will increase if people buy more things at local stores. Less gas wasted on shipping, more money staying in its own communities.

Re:Unconstitutional as heck (1)

subanark (937286) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510477)

Screw the constitution. It is out of date, but people keep standing behind it trying to justify their stance. The constitution is difficult to change and enough people will lose power if any part of it does that they can put a stop to it changing. Some parts I approve of, but that is no excuse for people to keep treating it as the absolute unchanging principal that defines the United States.

I do agree with allowing tax of online sales should not be different than local stores, but I disagree with your reasoning. By your reasoning, virtual services like purchasing software online should be taxed less as it is very cheap to produce and sell online vs buying a box from a physical store. The tax should simply be fair, and the market will punish the less efficient systems. Besides, what is more efficient? The goods have to get to the stores in some way. Making the extra trip to each house to deliver as opposed to a bunch of people driving to the store and back sounds more efficient to me.

Re:Unconstitutional as heck (3, Insightful)

paiute (550198) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510541)

treating it as the absolute unchanging principal that defines the United States.

Except for the fact that it is, you are otherwise correct.

Re:Unconstitutional as heck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43510681)

And what happens in a few hundred years when the English language has changed enough that the Constitution can no longer be considered written in the same language that is spoken in America. What happens when the constitution looks as odd to common English speakers as Chaucer looks to us now. When that happens the document becomes meaningless. It can be interpreted to support any position on any issue. The only responsible thing to do then is re-write the thing periodically. Ideally it would be every 100 years or so.

Re:Unconstitutional as heck (2)

Mashiki (184564) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510905)

Screw the constitution. It is out of date, but people keep standing behind it trying to justify their stance.

I'm sure you feel that way about the 1st amendment too. And thus is the problem when people believe that founding documents are "living breathing" documents, instead of foundational.

Re:Unconstitutional as heck (3, Insightful)

Warhawke (1312723) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510495)

Um, what?

If it's "unconstitutional as heck," then no, no it absolutely should not have happened sooner. You don't just get to flagrantly violate the Constitution -- you know, the document that enumerates states' and citizens' rights -- because it somehow promotes local tribalism. Go amend the Constitution if you want to make something unconstitutional suddenly constitutional. Otherwise, you just basically said it's a good idea to flagrantly violate the fundamental law that has serves as the core of the United States because it affirms your limited idea of what constitutes economic efficiency.

If a state's sales tax is so high that it is more economically efficient to ship the product from a different state at least 48 hours transit time away than to buy from within the state, it's a pretty clear indication that the tax is too high, or the distribution models within the state are lacking. By your logic, we should violate the GATT 1994 and place punitive tariffs on incoming products from China because they rob hardworking Americans U.S. jobs. Because clearly that's a more logical and economically friendly policy than reducing the number of domestic legislative restrictions that sent those jobs overseas in the first place.

Re:Unconstitutional as heck (4, Insightful)

lord_mike (567148) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510561)

I think the commerce clause is pretty clear that the constitution authorizes the federal government to regulate interstate commerce. Considering that this bill is specifically targeted towards goods ordered and shipped from out of state, it clearly falls under the purview of the commerce clause. It's not even a taxing bill, since it merely specifies that retailers such as amazon must conform to state and local laws in regards to sale. What is exactly "unconstitutional" about this idea?

Re:Unconstitutional as heck (1)

hedwards (940851) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510711)

Yes, but the states had that right already as they weren't regulating interstate commerce with the taxation. They were taxing in and out of state retailers the same based upon where the items were being shipped to and the person buying the goods was the one being taxed.

The federal government is just stepping in to provide an enforcement mechanism that the states didn't have due to a lack of jurisdiction over the retailer.

The only change here is that the states will be paid for the money that they were supposed to be paid for because nobody bothered to keep track of it. Indeed it would be a crushing obligation as I'm not even sure how much I was supposed to pay as I'd have to go through however many transactions and add up all of the tax on there to report it to the state on a form that I don't even know where to find.

As for what about it is "unconstitutional" the answer is that it upsets RWNJs so it's clearly unconstitutional. Sometimes you have to read literally what the constitution says and other times you have to infer, whichever gives you what the RWNJs want.

Re:Unconstitutional as heck (2)

Warhawke (1312723) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510733)

What you describe is mutually exclusive, and therein lies the problem. If it's a federal tax then it does fall under the purview of the Commerce Clause, which would make it legal although nevertheless a very bad idea, because it doesn't solve the alleged problem (i.e. states not able to recoup revenue). However, as you point out, that's not what is going on at all. The bill specifies that Amazon must conform to state and local tax laws which are attempting to tax Amazon based on sales to the state despite Amazon et al not being present within the state. This is definitively a tariff between states, taxing and price-restricting out-of-state goods to cause the market to favor domestic, in-state products, and is exactly what the Constitution prohibits because trade must remain free (as in liberty) between the states. If the federal government wanted to tax it as interstate commerce it very well could. The states, on the other hand, can only tax sales made within the state, and if the seller does not have an established presence within the state, then the sales occur in the other state where the business is domiciled.

Re:Unconstitutional as heck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43510785)

But it is NOT a federal tax. It is the federal government making retailers collect tax that the recipients of the goods should be declaring and paying as use tax (if their state has a sales tax).

Re: Unconstitutional as heck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43510793)

The constitution most certainly does not "enumerate citizens and states rights", it defined federal power. The document it self states that it does not enumerate our rights through the 9th amendment. Really people did you learn nothing about our country in school.

Re:Unconstitutional as heck (4, Insightful)

WhitePanther5000 (766529) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510499)

But very practical, and should have happened sooner. The overall efficiency of our society will increase if people buy more things at local stores. Less gas wasted on shipping, more money staying in its own communities.

Less gas wasted on shipping? Considering that the vast majority of consumer goods are not produced locally, how do they get to the local stores?

Re:Unconstitutional as heck (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43510687)

Also, how do the consumers get to the store?

Re:Unconstitutional as heck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43510503)

Less gas wasted on shipping? Unless you live in the middle of nowhere, UPS is hitting multiple people on the same route. At best each person going out to the store would have to go to multiple stores on 1 trip, otherwise they waste gas compared to them. I agree with the money in communities though.

Re:Unconstitutional as heck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43510531)

Why didn't this get modded as funny? The parent was being sarcastic right? Do people think products show up at stores magically? Does everyone walk to stores or take mass transit?

Re:Unconstitutional as heck (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43510569)

But very practical, and should have happened sooner. The overall efficiency of our society will increase if people buy more things at local stores. Less gas wasted on shipping, more money staying in its own communities.

Your post reeks of "protectionism" and "buy local" garbage.

Do you really want a laptop or a smartphone built by the guy next door? Do you want clothes that cost 10x as much because this year's local cotton crop got destroyed by boll weevils? Do you want to give up eating oranges, bananas, grapes, pineapples because they don't grow natively in your climate?

Marketplace "fairness" is just a way to prop up the middle-men who contribute nothing to the marketplace except jacking up the price. Now they are out of work because their only skill was being able to look you dead in the eye and give you a firm handshake while knowing they were ripping you off. Paying hundreds of dollars for baseball cards, using travel agencies, getting a $60k job with only a high school education, all of that is dead and we are all better for it. Internet transparency helped make that happen, and now the leeches want to make it "fair" to contribute nothing and rip you off.

Re:Unconstitutional as heck (1)

shmlco (594907) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510631)

"The overall efficiency of our society will increase if people buy more things at local stores. Less gas wasted on shipping..."

Right. Because one hybrid-powered UPS delivery truck delivering 50 packages to 50 homes on a computer generated best-path-least-turns route is less efficient than 50 people climbing into 50 SUVs and driving to and from 50 different local stores to buy 50 different items that were themselves shipped to each of those stores.

Remind me never to hire you to as an efficiency expert...

Re:Unconstitutional as heck (1)

green1 (322787) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510713)

While I mostly agree with you, it's not quite that simple, and calculating the net environmental impact would be in fact a monstrous task.

When I order a widget from some guy in china, and he ships it to me directly, it will generally go air mail, if I go to the local walmart and buy the widget, it probably came in a container of widgets by sea and by train. both of which are far more efficient shipping methods than air. for the local part of the delivery you are correct, the UPS truck is probably more efficient than everyone driving to the store (not to mention the impact of having the store in the first place) however once you factor in the long haul shipping piecemeal instead of bulk and air instead of surface, it becomes less certain. And of course even the local part can't be certain because it varies on many factors, if the person is driving past the store anyway on their way home from work or whatnot, the environmental impact of stopping in to buy something is likely far less than the delivery truck making a special trip to their house. There are simply so many factors at play here.

Again, I'm not disagreeing with you, only pointing out that it isn't really perfectly clear in either case.

Re:Unconstitutional as heck (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510643)

Going to local stores uses more gas in your car than is used by your products as a minuscule fractional increase on a truck...even a UPS or FedEx truck.

It's fair enough if you want to support local stores, but huge stores command big discounts, and it's wrong to use the force of government to make people pay more to keep less efficient businesses alive. That isn't just theory -- people vote with their dollars that way. That's why Walmart, common bitching-boy for the online snotnosed crowd, is so successful while saving Americans over $200 billion a year over precious little local stores.

Re:Unconstitutional as heck (1)

Trepidity (597) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510661)

In what sense is it unconstitutional? Congress expressly has the authority to regulate interstate commerce. Here they are planning to add a requirement, to inter-state commercial transactions, that the seller collect whatever sales taxes are required at the destination of the sale.

It would be unconstitutional for states themselves to levy a tax on out-of-state retailers with no local presence, because 1) they lack jurisdiction over out-of-state retailers to regulate them as local retailers; and 2) they cannot avoid #1 by taxing the goods as imports to the state, because the commerce clause gives Congress sole authority to regulate interstate commerce. But Congress itself can Constitutionally add conditions to interstate commerce.

Re:Unconstitutional as heck? - WRONG. (1)

garyoa1 (2067072) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510721)

The gov itself can't charge sales tax. That would be illegal. However they aren't getting any tax from this. The states would.

Re:Unconstitutional as heck (5, Insightful)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510673)

But very practical, and should have happened sooner. The overall efficiency of our society will increase if people buy more things at local stores. Less gas wasted on shipping, more money staying in its own communities.

Wrong on every count.

While people do buy things online out of convenience, that is only one small part of the story. While I would really like to support local business, I can't because of one simple fact -- local stores rarely have what I want. And so I buy a lot of stuff online. If I need something like computer components, the only "local stores" are a Best Buy which only carries an extremely limited range of products at inflated prices and a MicroCenter 50 miles away. Where's the efficiency in that?

If "local stores" had everything that people wanted, then online business couldn't exist. But they don't. And it's not even possible. You can't have gigantic stores that stock millions of items in every city and every small town. That would be ridiculous, horrendously inefficient and unworkable, not to mention unprofitable. But large online businesses, like Amazon, etc. can have a few big warehouses around the country that stock millions of items. This gives consumers greater choices and the ability to buy what they want rather than be limited to whatever is sitting on a shelf in a "local store".

Buying from large centrally located business, like Amazon, Ebay, Newegg, etc is in fact more efficient than 200 million people driving all over the place, going from store to store trying to find what they want.

Re:Unconstitutional as heck (1)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510925)

I drove to Target just to get some dinner plates. They were out of stock - not a single plate on the shelf. While walking out of the store I ordered some off of Amazon. They arrived 2 days later on my doorstep.

Re:Unconstitutional as heck (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510685)

I doubt it's unconstitutional.

Article I, Section 8, Clause 3:[3]

        [The Congress shall have Power] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes;

Re:Unconstitutional as heck (1)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510993)

Think of that word 'regulate' to mean 'make regular' instead of the modern definition of 'control every aspect'. Congress is authorized to fix issues like not being allowed to purchase health insurance from a provider outside of one's own state of residence. Congress is not authorized to redefine state tax laws, except in very specific cases [uscon.mobi] .

Re:Unconstitutional as heck (1)

Animats (122034) | about a year and a half ago | (#43511019)

[The Congress shall have Power] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes;

Right. Regulating state taxes is well within the Commerce Clause. What states can't do by themselves is force other states to collect taxes for them.

Re:Unconstitutional as heck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43510703)

Less gas wasted on shipping,

You can argue that, but it's not a great argument as others have pointed out.

more money staying in its own communities.

That's better but I'd put it differently.

The best argument is that our cities and towns have been built around the idea of local retail. We see adjustments over time, with the wave of suburban malls, big box stores and discounters built between 1960 and 2005, and the "back to the city" wave we're seeing now. But notice these are *intra-regional* adjustments, all still accessible by car or local transportation within a half hour's drive. Sucking all that retail business out of the region and sending that out to guys like Jeff Bezos is not good and has not been good. Well it's good for Seattle, terrible for all the local communities across the country.

Re:Unconstitutional as heck (1)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510887)

The Constitution was written to preserve a republic, not the environment.

Of all the issues facing this country right now (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510343)

this is what Harry Reid decides to push through the senate for a vote? There are dozens of other issues that should be addressed before the senate even considers something like this.

Re:Of all the issues facing this country right now (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43510399)

Such as background checks for gun transactions?

Re:Of all the issues facing this country right now (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510467)

that, passing a budget is another good one that is higher on the list

Re:Of all the issues facing this country right now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43510543)

I wonder if revenue-related bills like this have anything to do with figuring out a budget?

Way to boost revenue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43510629)

This is a way to boost revenue without the tea baggers going ape shit. Most of those old people won't even notice it because they still shop at Sears and JC Penny.

Gotta pay for Medicare and the other wealth transfer to the old people.

Destruction (0)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510359)

The power to tax is the power to destroy. Thank you, US Congress, for rescuing me from the evils of convenient online ordering. Because we all know that the government will spend this new revenue wisely, and not at all immediately squander it buying votes and then borrow against 10 years of future revenue and squander that too. Eh, as long as the correct party keeps getting elected.

Re:Destruction (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510419)

don't forget spending it on our chief exports, death and maiming and tools for same.

Re:Destruction (2)

hedwards (940851) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510723)

What are you talking about? This doesn't change anything. You were supposed to be paying that tax anyways, if you live in a state with sales and use taxes. All this does is make it so that your state and local governments get the taxes they're owed.

If you don't like this, then push your officials to change over to an income tax from a sales tax.

I need quim (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43510363)

I need pussy. Even nigger pussy will do. Thankse.

Re:I need quim (-1, Flamebait)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510393)

With attitude like that
all you are going to get
is nigger dick.

Re:I need quim (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43510863)

There's lots of free pussy at the animal shelter.

Why Bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43510387)

The government spends whatever amount it wants to anyways. If the spending is greater than the amount of taxes, the rest just goes to a magical fairy land called "National Debt" which the government says it's concerned about but has no intention to ever pay.

Re:Why Bother? (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510409)

They have to keep pretending that they have a 'strong dollar policy'.

Re:Why Bother? (1)

peragrin (659227) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510455)

One day in the next decade or two that policy will start to collapse and drag the rest of the country into a hole.

The USA is already in default. Every time they modify Social Security benefits they are saying they failed to plan properly and are declaring default to address the issue.

Re:Why Bother? (1)

rhodium_mir (2876919) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510483)

The dollar is strong if you measure its value relative to something useless like gold--increasing 30% since 2011. Of course nobody wants to face the facts and compare it to something with INTRINSIC VALUE like rhodium or palladium, but that's just because everyone but me and you are idiots.

Next Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43510529)

What's Delaware doing these days?

Re:Next Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43510591)

Playing golf and being a state. The usual.

Keep the taxes coming! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43510539)

I already "donate" enough of my paycheck to you fucking people in one way or another.

Re:Keep the taxes coming! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43510595)

I didn't know that Mitt Romney participated on Slashdot. Welcome! Sorry for all the "parasites" here who pay ore taxes than you do. They are just "takers", working 60 hours a week and all. We know that the real "makers" ship jobs overseas, invest in the Cayman Islands and have elevators for their cars in their mansions. Forgive us rabble for causing you so much trouble oh great one.

You don't actually (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510625)

did you know that most states let businesses keep the money you withhold for state taxes? Why do you think all the states started doing mandatory withholding all a sudden?

You're a victim of trickle down economics, not taxation. Your "Job Creators" done got you good.

So if we use Bitcoin what sales tax? (1)

elucido (870205) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510619)

Does the Internet sales tax only apply to those who use USD?

Re:So if we use Bitcoin what sales tax? (3, Insightful)

green1 (322787) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510737)

Considering that taxes officially apply even to barter transactions (not that anyone ever declares them), and especially considering that there was another recent article on here talking about how bitcoin is now subject to many of the same regulations as normal currency (like reporting transactions over a set dollar threshold) then yes. this does.

Of course some currencies and transactions are easier to hide than others, but that doesn't make it legal, only likely.

Here's a better idea: (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510645)

Don't. Every state already has the power to equalize internet and local sales taxes, by abolishing its local sales tax.

The sales tax is regressive and discourages commerce. Because this goes contrary to the welfare and commerce clauses of the U.S. Constitution, the federal government should be actively discouraging the use of a sales tax, not encouraging it.

Further, the sales tax encourages cities to offer incentives to big-box stores and give them a competitive advantage over small businesses. On the other hand, a property tax encourages cities to make land-use decisions that increase property values. I would rather have higher property values in my city than more Wal-Marts, wouldn't you?

Re:Here's a better idea: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43510847)

I would rather have higher property values in my city than more Wal-Marts, wouldn't you?

More Walmarts will bring jobs.

Your $60k house that you paid $415k for because of "property value" does not bring jobs. No, calling the plumber once every five years does not help the economy.

I'll take the Walmarts, thanks. Can we also get a Sam's Club? I fear the juggernaut that is Costco is getting too complacent.

Smarten up (4, Informative)

fnj (64210) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510715)

The title of the summary is STUPID and most of the commenters have absolutely no clue whatsoever what this is. It's not an "internet sales tax", guys. It is simply legilation which would ALLOW the states to collect state sales tax on purchases made via the web, just as they do on other purchases. It doesn't mandate that any state has to do it. It just removes a barrier that currently exists, whereby no state may enlist and compel the services of internet sellers to collect that state's sales tax for them. It doesn't give the FEDS any additional power to collect any new federal tax whatsoever.

Most or all states already require their own taxpayers to volunteer purchases they made out of state, by WHATEVER means, and cough up the sales tax for same on their tax return. Of course only about one millionth of taxpayers are sucker enough to so volunteer. All this does is make payment unavoidable by burdening the red tape and collection on the sellers.

I am entirely against the measure, on various grounds, but come on, let's at least realize what this is.

Re:Smarten up (2)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510833)

It is simply legilation which would ALLOW the states to collect state sales tax on purchases made via the web, just as they do on other purchases.

Wait, what barrier currently exists? Because California already collects taxes for purchases made via the web. It's called the Use Tax, and there's a space on your 540A tax form to fill it in.

Re:Smarten up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43510875)

Most or all states already require their own taxpayers to volunteer purchases they made out of state

That is what I am concerned about. I really don't mind paying taxes but I really don't want to pay sales tax to TWO states and potentially a municipality, all with post income tax dollars. That scenario could potentially take some people from 100 dollars in salary to ~53 dollars in purchasing power.

Re:Smarten up (1)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510919)

fnj writes "It's not an 'internet sales tax', guys. It is simply legilation which would ALLOW the states to collect state sales tax on purchases made via the web, just as they do on other purchases."

I see, it's not an internet sales tax but instead a way to allow states to collect sales tax on purchases made via the web. The distinction is clear to me now, thanks. :good grief

Summary is even stupider (2)

SpammersAreScum (697628) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510953)

"to allow states to tax online sales to residents outside their state" is exactly backwards! The taxing would, if directed by the state, apply to sales to residents _in_ that state. The writer probably confused "sales by vendors outside the state" with "sales to residents outside the state" for some bizarre reason.

oops (1)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510999)

Yeah, I meant to say sales by companies outside the state, but what I was thinking when I wrote it was "applying the tax laws of one state to citizens (ie, companies) of another", thus my conflated/backwards summary.

Re:Smarten up (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year and a half ago | (#43511051)

All this does is make payment unavoidable by burdening the red tape and collection on the sellers.

That seems like a good thing if you think "Amazon". It doesn't seem like such a good thing if you think "mom-and-pop business" or "part-time open source hardware hacker". They now need to deal with dozens of different states' tax laws and regulations.

The fact that Amazon backs this tax shows you that they view it as a great way of protecting them from competition by creating barriers to entry.

One way to restore my faith in humanity (2)

Stirling Newberry (848268) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510717)

Is to read a tax thread on slashdot, that the rest of the world isn't this burblingly insane gives hope.

Yes states can collect excise taxes, and yes this bill is constitutional. "On a computer" or "over the internet" do not make fundamental law vanish. Whether state sales taxes are a good idea, is a different question, one of policy, not law.

Re:One way to restore my faith in humanity (1)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510899)

The states can collect the taxes from entities within their jurisdiction. My understanding is that this bill requires entities outside a given state's jurisdiction to collect the taxes. That is unconstitutional.

Obligatory... (1)

Sfing_ter (99478) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510773)

UNLEASH THE HOUNDS!
(filter was telling me I was yelling, well fuck it, I was yelling)
AND SEND THE TROLLS TOO!
(I know, that is a bit redundant, but funny shit none the less)

What does the bill mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43510859)

So about the bill, if I'm in state A and I'm buying from state B, do I have to pay the tax in A or B? Will there be double dipping? Also if there is no tax in state A but there is in B and vice versa, would I have to pay it?

Done Deal (1)

ChiRaven (800537) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510891)

Indiana already charges its residents tax (state, county, and local) via their income tax forms, for all on-line and distance sales on which Indiana Sales Tax was not paid. Virtually EVERY state (as far as I know) collects the equivalent of its sales tax on purchases of things like automobiles made out of state and not taxed a point of sale.

those poor millionaires (1)

vm (127028) | about a year and a half ago | (#43510903)

Is it just me or should anyone making more than a million a year from online sales not be exempt from taxation? Do CEOs like John Donahoe believe that people who make more than a mil/year are somehow poor or middle class? That guy's an asshole.

Taxation regime (1)

aurizon (122550) | about a year and a half ago | (#43511029)

The feds should impose an interstate commerce tax, say 9% and give 3% to the ship-from state and 3% to the ship-to state and the feds grab 3%.
States with no sales taxes, their 3% is omitted.

This will give states a bite of in and out traffic, that they get little of now. Not as much as the states full taxes, but they lose most of that now. 3% of both ways is a lot btter than what they have now. It will give the feds something to erase debt, it waill act as a leveller of the playing field.
States will have to waive their state use taxes on good shipped to to conform with this law.

We aren't taxed enough? (List of taxes) (2)

plastick (1607981) | about a year and a half ago | (#43511039)

Every year average Americans pay dozens of different types of taxes, and yet many of our politicians are very open about the fact that they want to raise rates even higher and invent even more ways to bleed us all dry. Someday historians will look back and be absolutely amazed at how stupid we were. We have the most complicated tax code in all of human history and at this point the federal tax code is more than four times as long as the entire collected works of William Shakespeare (close to four million words long). But that is just for federal income taxes. We have a number of other taxes taken out of our paychecks such as state income taxes, Social Security taxes and Medicare taxes.

Just counting federal, state and local income taxes, some Americans will be paying marginal tax rates of over 50 percent in 2013. But like I said, there are a lot of other taxes we pay than just those. The following are 44 more taxes that at least some average Americans are paying now or will be paying soon other than federal, state and local income taxes...

#1 Building Permit Taxes
#2 Capital Gains Taxes
#3 Cigarette Taxes
#4 Court Fines (indirect taxes)
#5 Dog License Taxes
#6 Drivers License Fees (another form of taxation)
#7 Federal Unemployment Taxes
#8 Fishing License Taxes
#9 Food License Taxes
#10 Gasoline Taxes
#11 Gift Taxes
#12 Hunting License Taxes
#13 Inheritance Taxes
#14 Inventory Taxes
#15 IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax)
#16 IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
#17 Liquor Taxes
#18 Luxury Taxes
#19 Marriage License Taxes
#20 Medicare Taxes
#21 Medicare Tax Surcharge On High Earning Americans Under Obamacare
#22 Obamacare Individual Mandate Excise Tax (if you don't buy "qualifying" health insurance under Obamacare you will have to pay an additional tax)
#23 Obamacare Surtax On Investment Income (a new 3.8% surtax on investment income that goes into effect next year)
#24 Property Taxes
#25 Recreational Vehicle Taxes
#26 Toll Booth Taxes
#27 Sales Taxes
#28 Self-Employment Taxes
#29 School Taxes
#30 Septic Permit Taxes
#31 Service Charge Taxes
#32 Social Security Taxes
#33 State Unemployment Taxes (SUTA)
#34 Tanning Tax (a new Obamacare tax on tanning services)
#35 Telephone Federal Excise Taxes
#36 Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Taxes
#37 Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Taxes
#38 Telephone State And Local Taxes
#39 Tire Taxes
#40 Tolls (another form of taxation)
#41 Traffic Fines (indirect taxation)
#42 Utility Taxes
#43 Vehicle Registration Taxes
#44 Workers Compensation Taxes

Sadly, this list is far from complete!

Dick Durbin, the Senate's No. 2 Democrat, actually said that levying Internet sales taxes on American shoppers is "one that is long overdue!" Ya know, because they need more money and everything. Half of all the money made in America isn't enough, right? Oh, and also all those "corporate sponsers" than give them money to put in new "laws" so they can make more profits.
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