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450 comments

fp? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4656139)

i think i just got a fp!

wo0t
or not.

Re:fp? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4656143)

Yes, yes you did get a fp. Mad Propz.

Re:fp? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4656152)

Sweet, and props to you for getting second post, as a reply to the fp..

So that's 2 posts, both totally useless so far. now it's 3 with mine, lets hope someone hurries up and says something meaningful

Re:fp? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4656163)

Something meaningful? on slashdot?

Re:fp? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4656174)

whenever i get a fp, i take a screenshot. just an idea.

Re:fp? (0, Offtopic)

isorox (205688) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656179)

how sad - its not like its hard to get fp

thats horrible (5, Interesting)

dcstimm (556797) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656147)

why do you think we buy stuff on the internet? Cheap prices, and no tax! Even though we have to pay shipping its still a good deal. If we have to pay shipping and tax I will never buy anything online ever again!

Re:thats horrible (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4656162)

But the states are losing money and the whole economy is going down the crapper because of it. It is for the greater good.

Re:thats horrible (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4656225)


the whole economy is going down the crapper because of it

Lemme get this straight: the entire freaking economy depends upon how much money state governments can spend?

Do you have any idea how screwed up that is?

Re:thats horrible (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4656178)

Who ever modded the parent as a troll should be bitch smacked!

Just because you stupid moderators don't agreee doesn't me the poster is a troll.

Fucking stupid mods!

BTW, dcstimm, I agree. By the time you add tax into the deal, it is cheaper to walk over to best buy (or what ever shit hole place people buy crap) and buy it!

-AC (fucking mods!)

Re:thats horrible (3, Funny)

DEBEDb (456706) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656245)

Yes you will, because the convenience beats
buying it in real life, and the taxes are
still the same.

Re:thats horrible (5, Insightful)

dnoyeb (547705) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656288)

Not quite. Buying at the local store has the advantage of being a local return when it does not work or breaks within 30 days. It also dumps money into your local economy.

Further, shipping is often no more than tax anyway.

Re:thats horrible (2)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656385)

It also means you have a limited selection; even a place like Wal Mart can't carry every variation of what you want. Heck, no downtown smaller than NYC's could. Amazon bills itself as the "world's largest bookstore" for a reason; it would take a few dozen warehouses the size of a Border's to carry every title out there.

Re:thats horrible (5, Insightful)

DirtyJ (576100) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656254)

That may be true for you, but I don't think it's true for most people. I buy things online for 2 primary reasons: (1) I can't find some stuff I want in the moderately-sized city in which I live, and (2) I'm busy (and a little lazy), so I shop online to save time over physically going to the store. I've even sunk so low as ordering stamps from the USPS to save the time I would spend going to the post office.

Adding sales tax would suck, but it wouldn't prevent me from shopping online.

You forgot one (5, Insightful)

scotch (102596) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656307)

(3) too embarrased to buy certain items in person.

Re:thats horrible (-1)

ClickWir (166927) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656377)

I partly agree. I am pursuaded to buy online because I can see more exactly what my bottom line is going to be.

If I go to an online store and want to buy something for $15, I see shipping is $5... I know I have to pay $20. Not $20 + some odd ammount. It's MUCH easier to keep track of things like what where you don't have to calculate tax on the fly in your head. That's one thing that I REALLY do like about buying online.

Yes, having a bigger selection and convineance is nice... but I think the people making the laws need to realize that there are other reasons people buy online. One of them is being able to see your total so much easier.

Some people are better at math than others. I'm not. It's much easier for me to add 15 + 5 = 20 than 15 + 5 = N then N * 0.06 = X then N + X = H. Hell, I probably have even that wrong... do you see what I mean now!?!?!

NO ONLINE TAXES, please.

3rd post!!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4656154)

yeah!!! I kick ass! yeah!!! whoooooooooooooo!!!

This might be un-populare (0)

mpost4 (115369) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656157)

but, why not. I hate taxes asmuch as the next. but why should the internet be diffent then mail order, or in a normal store. I sad but the goverment is run by taxes, if you by pass one tax another tax will go up to compansate, so pay your fair share one way or another.

Re:This might be un-populare (5, Informative)

Turing Machine (144300) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656187)

but why should the internet be diffent then mail order

Mail order doesn't have to pay sales tax. Ever notice that when you order something from a catalog it says something like "$STATE residents must pay $PERCENTAGE sales tax", where $STATE is the state where the busines is located?

Out of state residents pay nothing. In theory they're supposed to submit a report and pay taxes to their own state. In practice, no one ever does this.

Re:This might be un-populare (1)

esobofh (138133) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656230)

The country owns the land, the roads & the space you use - for that reason they can tax you. The country does not own the internet, and therefore cannot tax you for using it. That said, businesses will still be paying the tax on their income but the country/govt did not facilitate your purchasing the product, and therefore cannot tax you for the purchase.

Re:This might be un-populare (1)

mpost4 (115369) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656247)

The goverment does own the land that the phone poles are on that transmited my order. Also are not the poles maintained by the goverment?

Re:This might be un-populare (3, Insightful)

esobofh (138133) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656279)

Yes, and the phone company pays for that land and it's associated taxes. Is it right to collect taxes on something twice?

Re:This might be un-populare (2)

DEBEDb (456706) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656262)

Let's except info-only goods; otherwise,
the physical stuff is still delivered to you
via country's roads, space & stuff, and so
you have no argument.

Re:This might be un-populare (1)

esobofh (138133) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656306)

So then they've facilitated delivery.. which the business pays their taxes for..

Re:This might be un-populare (1)

mark_lybarger (199098) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656398)

interesting point. this could conclude that folks would be willing to purchase their online goods for foreign countries where the tax isn't required (say canada). shipping is usually a little more from those places, but i'm sure they'll be able to make a business model out of it.

Re:This might be un-populare (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4656283)

Hey, chief, the Internet isn't different from mail order. There's a little thing called the US Constitution which specifically prohibits states taxing interstate commerce. The idea was to avoid having each state do exactly what the US as a whole does, i.e., use tarifs to implement protectionist policy.

No preference shall be given by any regulation of commerce or revenue to the ports of one state over those of another: nor shall vessels bound to, or from, one state, be obliged to enter, clear or pay duties in another

Re:This might be un-populare (1)

confusion (14388) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656308)

It was my understanding that you are already "required" declare non taxed mail order/Internet purchases on your state income tax form. I can't say that I ever remember seeing the place where you would do so, but there's probably some special form (1040e3453459345345.34) that you have to fill out for it. Doubt many people offer it up, though.

wait a minute... (1, Funny)

kingofnopants (600490) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656160)

I thought they already did that.....dammit pointytricorneredhats.com, you owe me 5 dollars!

not all bad news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4656161)

at least when the republics gain control of congress that law will suck it

Re:not all bad news (2, Funny)

prisen (578061) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656318)

Who are the republics? Are they a terrorist group bent on making laws "suck it?" On that note, how would you describe the act of a law "sucking it?"
I don't know if I would trust these so-called republics!

Re:not all bad news (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4656382)

Why would the "republics" kill this tax?

This is mainly a tax on working class families.

Republicans only care about tax cuts to the wealthy families and corporations.

You do realize the republicans hand out more money in corporate welfare in one year than all the welfare moms get in probably 10 years?

Remember the last bush? "Read my lips no new taxes" haha and then we had many new taxes. haha, he didn't get reelected.

Anyways you think the extra 50 billion to defense spending and the deptartment of homeland security and the war in iraq are just gonna pay for themselves??

Well they can always take money of the public schools and spend it on bombs instead of rasing taxes.

Do you think exxon-mobile and haliburton corp are gonna be paying for the war in iraq? no, that'll be our tax dollars getting pissed down the toilet. But who will profit, oh ya thats right exxon-mobile and haliburton.

Wouldn't it be easier and cost a lot less human lives to just take our taxes and put them directly in dick cheneys pocket instead of having to do this whole war in iraq production...sheesh...

good (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656167)

We need the revenue.

How? (4, Interesting)

bsharitt (580506) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656168)

Unless they impose a national sales tax or VAT, I don't see how this will work with all the different sales tax "districts."

Re:How? (4, Informative)

gengee (124713) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656232)

See sites like Dell.com - Enter your shipping address as Los Angeles, CA and you'll see they charge 7% sales tax. Enter your address as Portland, OR and there'll be no sales tax (Since Oregon has none...).

Note that Dell is based in Texas...(So it's not a matter of collecting sales tax from the originating state)

Re:How? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4656340)

That would be the part about a "state coalition"

Re:How? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4656341)

A national sales tax or VAT will need a Constitutional Amendment to be valid.

Re:How to implement? Trivial. (5, Interesting)

jerryasher (151512) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656359)

It's called a lookup table.

Zipcodes are five digits long right? That's a lookup table of 100,000 tax rates. The tax rate for each cell in this lookup tables comes from one of approximately 50 entities, or about 2,000 zip codes per state.

100,000 tax rates and say 4 bytes per tax rate. That's a 400K table. Pretty small table overall.

Each state probably has at most 100 different state tax rates. That I am sure is a gross overestimate. I bet it's more like 10.

This seems like a pretty easy job of data asembling to do.

You can have each state make their own particular lookup table made available from their secretary of state, or available with their digital signature available from the state website.

Then start with one zipcode to state lookup table published by the USPS and available online, signed, at some well known URL.

The rest is a smop for the sophomore programmer.

If you're a legacy (*nix, windows) publisher, you assign an intern to call up each 50 states and get their tax rates tables and stick that into your legacy app.

OR, if you're an ASP/VSP, you can make one website surf the state urls for updates and make that available as one interface (SOAP, XML-RPC)

Pretty easy. I never understood the arguments that this was too hard to implement.

Yeah, as if that will change anything. (5, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656171)

all they will do is chase E-commerce out of the country completely, or into the states that didn't sign up.

the only draw that has kept mail order and now the internet alive is the fact that you can offset the shipping costs by bypassing the sales tax (Illegal I know, you are supposed to pay it yourself in april..... prove I bought that armani sofa mister secretary of the state!)

most of the time if I find something online for cheap, I can find it within a 1 hour drive of my home for the same price. the lack of sales tax offsets the shipping (most items) and makes the buyer happy with waiting for delivery.

any state that adopts or joins this will kill the Ecommerce in their state.

Re:Yeah, as if that will change anything. (2, Interesting)

Trusty Penfold (615679) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656210)

or into the states that didn't sign up.

Sorry, from the the article

Participating states would then be free to ask Congress to approve a mandatory, nationwide online sales tax regime


When 10 states agree, they can force the remaining 40 to follow their whims.

I'm not an expert on the US constitution - anyone know what it has to say about this scam?

Re:Yeah, as if that will change anything. (5, Insightful)

b0r1s (170449) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656252)

I'm not an expert on the US constitution - anyone know what it has to say about this scam?

One of the main reasons for moving to the Constitution from the original Articles of Confederation was to give the national government the ability to regulate interstate commerce.

Initially, there was widespread, state sponsored price gouging. Items passing through one state on their way to another were taxed heavily upon entering and upon leaving. Many people saw this as ridiculous.

The Constitution gives the federal government the sole ability to tax interstate commerce. It's one of the few regulations specifically entitled to the national government: it is not now, and should not ever, be enforced by the states. It is likely that a clever lawyer could argue this either way: on one hand it's a set of states banding together to control commerce between states, on the other hand it's states enforcing commerce that either begins or ends in their jurisdiction.

If someone managed to challenge this, it's likely that a national system would be implemented. It's easier to justify a national tax than state-by-state, optional taxation.

Re:Yeah, as if that will change anything. (2)

dnoyeb (547705) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656305)

You forget. States do not like federal taxes and would NOT sign up for them in any way shape or form. the states compete for your tax dollars and are not interested in sharing them anymore than the feds are.

Re:Yeah, as if that will change anything. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4656368)

I'm not an expert on the US constitution - anyone know what it has to say about this scam?

No taxation without representation?

Re:Yeah, as if that will change anything. (1)

Uma Thurman (623807) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656405)

That's the "Declaration of Independence" and also "Common Sense".

Online Shopping similar to Catalogs (5, Insightful)

harks (534599) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656177)

I see no reason why online shopping should be taxed any differently than catalog shopping. IIRC, taxes are charged on in-state sales only. States that wish to tax differently than this should also look into taxing catalog sales.

Re:Online Shopping similar to Catalogs (2)

nomadic (141991) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656183)

The last thing I ordered online was from a place in-state; they automatically added sales tax to the total. Not sure why most places don't do this already.

Re:Online Shopping similar to Catalogs (3, Interesting)

AKnightCowboy (608632) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656290)

The last thing I ordered online was from a place in-state; they automatically added sales tax to the total. Not sure why most places don't do this already.


Most places don't do this already because it would be an absolute nightmare to figure out what tax to charge. Say you're an online retailer in California. Are you saying you think you should need to know the local county sales taxes for Ohio residents? I don't know how other states do it, but here in Ohio, every single county determines their own sales tax rate. There are at least a hundred different counties. My sales tax is 7% but if I drive 10 minutes south of my home the tax is 5.5% in a different county. The state expects me to send them a 1.5% "Use tax" in April when I pay my taxes because I somehow profited by buying my goods in a county that charges 5.5% instead of 7%. How fucked up is that? Basically I give a big old finger to them all and buy everything out of state mail order now (which you're also expected to report and pay a 7% use tax.. I of course do that.. riiight). The only way to get around this shit is a nationwide sales tax. Abolish the IRS and put a flat rate tax on all goods. Then divy that up among the states and federal government. Probably need a 20-25% sales tax for it to work though. Ouch.

Re:Online Shopping similar to Catalogs (2)

Desperado (23084) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656299)

The usual IANAL disclaimer applies here.

I believe the way the mail order ruling was arrived at has to do with the US Constitution not allowing inter-state tariffs. Sales taxes can only be levied by a state on its own citizens. Any levies on inter-state commerce would amount to a tariff.

No Tax (3, Insightful)

natron 2.0 (615149) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656180)

Of course you could just buy everything from "off shore" sites and Canadian ones. But I am sure they will have a way to tax that as well.

Re:No Tax (5, Funny)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656253)

But I am sure they will have a way to tax that as well.

They have had a way to tax that for centuries. It's called a tariff.

Local Option Taxes (5, Insightful)

ICA (237194) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656182)

This article skims over one very important fact, what is to become of the money earmarked from local option taxes?

I personally hate the fact that each city can have its own different tax, and would love to see a consistent sales tax everywhere I go.

However...the reason that most of these local option taxes exist is to fund a specialized project that otherwise would not happen. Several area towns have used this to direct money toward schools, rec centers, etc.

All in all, seems as though the government is trying to stuff their large, greedy paws in the cookie jar, and they may not even come away with anything except crumbs. The administration of the plan, and the sharing of profits with vendors that is mentioned in the article may in fact eat up most of the profits that the government thinks they would see.

My $.02

Re:Local Option Taxes (1)

DJayC (595440) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656277)

"I personally hate the fact that each city can have its own different tax, and would love to see a consistent sales tax everywhere I go."

What about those of us that live in a sales tax free state like New Hampshire? I would love NOT to see a consistent sales tax in my state.. unless it's zero. If they start taxing purchases on the internet, I guess I'll just buy more stuff in New Hampshire.

Speaking of that.. imagine the oddity in this scenario: I buy a product online from a vendor based in New Hampshire. There is no sales tax in New Hampshire, but this view would be in favor of taxing my purchase. I think this idea is going to backfire in a flurry of loopholes and problems of the penumbra.

Taxes (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4656186)

Surely I can't be the only one who feels taxes are offensive. Sales taxes are some of the worst since they're generally a flat tax. Flat taxes hurt the non-wealthy more than anybody else since the wealthy can stand to pay the tax on purchases, but most below-poverty-level families are deeply hurt financially by taxes on basic goods such as food. Granted, most people below the poverty line aren't going to be buying these things on the internet today, but what about 20 years from now when even the poorest have internet access? This should be nipped in the bud before it can hurt anyone 20 years from today.

Re:Taxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4656196)

But that's the American way! The poor get poorer and the rich get richer!

Re:Taxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4656274)

We the type a people make the club get crunk.

Re:Taxes (1)

cyril3 (522783) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656256)

Tax is the way governments get the money they use to do stuff. What they do with the money might be offensive but most people will accept that there should be government and that tax is a way that government will raise general revenue. Discussion on either of those points will not be entered into in this forum.

Having accepted that as a premise, flat taxes have the beauty of simplicity especially if its a tax on everything with no exemptions.

General income levels can adjust to the new cost of living. Social welfare benefits can be adjusted for any disproportionate tax hit on lower incomes.

But even flat sales taxes have some non flat effects. Rich people buy $50,000 cars and pay $5,000 in tax and lower waged people buy $25,000 cars and only pay $2,500.

Re:Taxes (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4656356)

i accept no such premise and you're a freaking idiot...

what kind of bonehead loser are you?

"social welfare benefits"? what the f**k are those?

there should be no "social welfare benefits".. what a loser you are!

and i'll discuss anything i want in this forum, you idiot...

Re:Taxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4656302)

Not to mention any of the really wealthy families in America all have foundations in their name that let them make sales tax free purchases.

So when they buy a Picasso at auction for 6 million if the foundation buys it then they don't have to pay a penny of tax. Actually they may get atax break for "supporting the arts".

But you go and buy your kid a mountain bike so he can tool around in the wilderness and get some fresh air and blame tax all over your ass.

America is all about taxing the poor and giving it to the wealthy corporations so they can use it to pay their CEOs who hire lawyers to get them through tax loopholes so they don't pay any taxes. Woohoo!

America is like the inverse of robin hood or something haha.

Re:Taxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4656352)

America is all about taxing the poor

You're a real jackass. Do you understand that the top 1% pay 36% of all income tax? That means that the wealthiest 1% pays over 1/3 of all taxes! Not only do truely poor people pay NO income tax, but they're rewarded for their lack of success by getting money back.

You fucking mush-headed socialist puke.

Re:Taxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4656407)

Duh they don't fucking Pay 36% of their income you tard.

Damn you no good at math fall for dumb rush limbaugh fuzzy math yes yes?

They have what 90% of the wealth but they only pay 36% of the total taxes?

Guess what they means genius? The working class pays a higher portion of their salary to the government.

Duh of course someone who makes a million dollars will pay more cash than someone who makes 30,000.

But if the person who makes thirty thousand pays 5000 dollars taxes and the guy who makes a million pays 20,000 taxes, genius can you figure out who paid a higher percent of their income in taxes?

Gee who's standard of living will be more effected by the taxes?

Re:Taxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4656344)

Well a flat tax is a lot more fair than the current system where the middle and lower classes pay the most taxes...

Re:Taxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4656375)

Well a flat tax is a lot more fair than the current system where the middle and lower classes pay the most taxes...

Hey dipshit! What made you think the lower classes pay most taxes. See the posting above...

There already is a sales tax, no need for double! (5, Interesting)

Gandalf_007 (116109) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656188)

Sales tax is levied at the state level. There is no need for any federal law on this. As it stands, if you buy something from an online store, and they have a business presence in your state, you pay sales tax to your state.

That's why I have to pay Texas sales tax on my crucial.com purchases even though they are not in Texas. If, on the other hand, I buy something from NewEgg.com, which is in California, I pay no sales tax because they do not have a business presence in Texas. California residents do pay sales tax.

Internet sales are just like mail-order catalogs, and the same tax rules apply. We have no need for new laws on this.

Re:There already is a sales tax, no need for doubl (2)

subsolar2 (147428) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656291)

Internet sales are just like mail-order catalogs, and the same tax rules apply. We have no need for new laws on this.
This legislation is aimed at both mail-order and online sales. The reson they want a federal law passed is that only the federal government can force companies to participate.

The reason in the past that they have not succeded in the past (and so far now) is that it's impossible for any company to follow all the rules for the 7000+ different taxing athorities in the U.S. The idea is that the 30 states will pass laws setting the sales taxes for the whole state to be the same and the same accross participating states. They would then get congress to pass a law forcing all e-tailers and mail-order houses to collect taxes when shipping to somebody living in a particpating state.

I still don't think it's fair or easy, especially since they are suggesting strict requirments on only using approved tax packages.

subsolar

Re:There already is a sales tax, no need for doubl (2)

Otter (3800) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656296)

Huh?

Unless I'm totally missing the point of the article, this is about charging you tax on transactions with out-of-state vendors, whether or not they have a physical presence in your state.

As far as mail order goes, that's what I was wondering. would this apply to telephone or mail orders, as well?

Two random political thoughts: 1) The Jake Garn quoted here must be the son or grandson of the former Utah senator, right? It can't be the guy himself. 2) I never expected to see ultraconservative Grover Norquist worrying about the security of my purchase of sex toys...

Re:There already is a sales tax, no need for doubl (1)

Shenkerian (577120) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656301)

Internet sales are just like mail-order catalogs, and the same tax rules apply. We have no need for new laws on this.

Actually, as I believe was mentioned in the first /. article about this, this measure was introduced primarily for sales from mail-order catalogs, the number of which still (?) dwarf the number of sales from the Internet.

I'm curious whether Michael Dell's campaign contributions will be affected by this measure at all. I imagine Dell Home, unlike Dell Business (which already collects state sales taxes), will suffer from the sudden $50-$200 effective price hikes this measure would create.

In Soviet Russia... (0, Troll)

p_rotator (617988) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656193)

...The internet taxes YOU!

An opportunity for free software? (2, Troll)

yerricde (125198) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656198)

Under the states' plan, online sellers would be required to purchase approved software to compute the appropriate state and local taxes or to certify with the state any in-house calculation systems already in place. E-tailers could choose to outsource tax collection to a certified third-party under the states' plan.

So far, participating states have conducted only one tax software pilot, involving four states, three technology vendors, and one online seller. Of the technology vendors participating in the pilot, just one -- Salem, Mass.-based Taxware, working in conjunction with Hewlett-Packard -- managed to get a system up and running.

I hope that the states don't go with a "trusted client" model that requires a specific piece of proprietary software in the point-of-sale system, and possibly a monopoly publisher. Write your state legislatures and ask them to consider the use of free software [gnu.org] in this interstate catalog/internet sales tax measure should it pass.

Federal Gov't? (4, Insightful)

gerf (532474) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656208)

The states banding together for a common based law? isn't that called the Federal Government? I'm not a historian, but i thought that it was the Federal government's duty to create nationwide laws and regulations...

Estimates schestimates (5, Insightful)

silvaran (214334) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656211)

The U.S. General Accounting Office has estimated states lose nearly $13 billion each year on untaxed Internet transactions.

Yeah, and I lose several grand a year by not skimming funds off a local company's treasury. "Lose" is too misleading. It's like buying a can of beans with a coupon and saving 49 whole cents.

who "loses" what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4656315)

the freakin' govt (ANY govt entity) should consider itself lucky if it gets one stinking red cent more money out of my pocket than is due...

what amazes me is the sheep-like constituency that feels "it's OK" to pay taxes...

fsck taxes!

here in Virginia we're supposed to pay sales tax on ALL out-of-state catalog orders... but you'd have to think i'm some freakin' idiot if i'm going to pay a dime, as

I PAY TOO MUCH IN TAXES AS IT IS! i pay tax on food, take-away, restaurants, booze, cigarettes, clothing, gas, telephone, electric, county, state and federal govt...

SCREW TAXES! CHEAT! CHEAT! CHEAT! CHEAT!

Not sure what the point is... (4, Insightful)

(H)elix1 (231155) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656216)

I'm not sure what the point is - here in Minnesota you pay Use tax [state.mn.us] when you buy it out of state. If you bought it over the net or used a postcard, buy over $770 of hardware as an individual you (should) pay Use tax...

I'm sure every state is different - thus the proposal. But as a customer, now I need to know if the other state is charging taxes, what the rate is so I can get credit, blah... It just puts the burden right back on my sholders.

yay socialism! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4656222)

YAY! Now more money can be drained from hard working Americans and put into various social, corporate and foreign welfare programs... but wait! if you act now you also get this guarentee that your money will be utilized with about a 8 cents to the dollar rate, with the vast majority being spent on "administration" and the rest funneled to programs that the government has no business (and no qualifications) to be getting involved in. So basically my good man, you get to pay for me to break your legs and rob you blind. Then I will offer a reduced rate for these shoddy crutches. Now you should thank me!

Hey! I know... lets form another TASK FORCE to investigate this problem. Then they will take a 5 year period to basically tell us either what we all already know or simply say, "we need more time" but either way nothing will change. YAY! Self perpetuating machine that goes against EVERYTHING our country was founded on! YAY!

Well, I can't get to the article already. (5, Insightful)

Jin Wicked (317953) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656224)

I did hear about this news story on Marketplace/NPR at work tonight. I already have to collect state sales taxes for stuff I ship within Texas, and it's complicated enough keeping track of and filing monthly for the little tax zone that I'm in. I understand that's the cost of doing business, but for someone who does an extremely small volume in a sole proprietorship this is quite frustrating. This just adds another (probably) half-inch thick stack of paperwork I have to deal with at tax time and year-round, more forms I have to fill out and more opportunities for me to get confused, screw something up, be audited and be fined or worse. I can't afford to hire an accountant or a tax attourney, so I have to learn all this myself.

Not to mention the fact that people are not going to want to pay sales tax for something after they're already paying $10-20 plus for shipping costs. Unless they plan on making sales tax an even amount for all counties, cities and metro areas across the country, I don't even see how this is possible -- nor can I see how it will serve any purpose except to hurt online sales that are already hurting to begin with. This just seems so unwise and poorly considered to me, both from the point of view of a small online business owner and as a person who orders many things online myself.

Yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4656231)

"This is a 21st century system that will dramatically improve the morass that currently exists,"

Does this mean sexier pr0n? Cause i'd like to see mor improved ass out on the internet!

Sign me up (3, Insightful)

gengee (124713) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656244)

Rather than going after use taxes, all of the participating states plan to entice online merchants to collect sales taxes voluntarily by sharing with them a portion of the tax revenues that they remit. Currently, one-third of all states share sales tax revenues with online retailers, with reimbursement rates ranging from a half percent to 1.75 percent of the total taxes collected.


Hmmm...If online retailers want to levy a 10% fee for me, I'll gladly give them 9% back.

I say we rebel! (3, Insightful)

Dejohn (164452) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656248)

Might be about time for another Boston tea party. If the states can't operate on their current budgets, should we just be forced to pay more to make ends meet? I think not. Maybe their breadth is already a little too inflated.

State Budget Deficits (5, Interesting)

Detritus (11846) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656258)

Living in a state that spent money like a drunken sailor in a whorehouse when the booming economy artificially boosted tax receipts, and now has a 1.7 billion dollar hangover, I might suggest that they spend less money.

Re:State Budget Deficits (1)

cronus42 (624403) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656358)

*GASP* That's Blasphemy!!! He's a witch!! BURN HIM!!

And for the rest of the world...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4656260)

So what happens with non-US residents such as myself? And wouldn't this put US etailers at a disadvantage with those from other countries?

Quite frankly, I doubt this idea is going to get far. One of the Internet's greatest strengths (and weaknesses) is that it isn't an easy target for legislation. Most politicians don't seem to have worked this out yet, thank goodness.

This is unconstitutional! (5, Interesting)

ibirman (176167) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656265)

According to the US Constitution:


Clause 2: No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it's inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.


States can tax sales within their borders, but interstate commerce is up to the federal government. States have no right to do this.

Re:This is unconstitutional! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4656281)

Whatever you say, Your Honor.

Re:This is unconstitutional! (0)

Kip Diamond (620384) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656292)

If you haven't noticed, the Constitution is basically useless.

Just throw it in the fire as Powder Toast Man did on Ren & Stimpy!

Re:This is unconstitutional! (4, Informative)

subsolar2 (147428) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656324)

Clause 2: No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it's inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.
States can tax sales within their borders, but interstate commerce is up to the federal government. States have no right
The key phase is No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress,. The states are seeking the consent of congress to do this by making the sales/use taxes the same accross them rather than the 7000 different sales/use taxes we have now.

subsolar

Re:This is unconstitutional! (5, Informative)

fritz_269 (623858) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656337)

You're right. But the Supreme Court decision (Quill Corp. v. North Dakota [cornell.edu] ) that exempted us from interstate sales tax was based upon the fact that the myriad of seperate state/county tax laws would create an "unfair burden" on interstate commerce. Furthermore, they strongly suggested in the ruling that the US Congress should make new law regarding this issue.

Once the states "simplify" their tax codes, there is no impediment for Congress to make a new law requiring interstate sales taxation. In fact, as representatives of the states, your representatives might be pretty encouraged to do just that.

Re:This is unconstitutional! (1)

confusion (14388) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656351)

Others have said that the constitution is useless. That's not entirely false. The great thing about our republic is that the whole of the constitution is subject to interpretation by the courts. This allows the law of the land to change with the times without requiring actual changes to the document.

The down side is that tax matters are, for the most part, the jusidiction of a court system run by the IRS. "Thems not good odds"

Just so we're clear... (2, Redundant)

handsomepete (561396) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656280)

[from the article]

The voluntary program would take effect when at least 10 states representing 20 percent of the U.S. population have amended their laws to implement the program. Participating states would then be free to ask Congress to approve a mandatory, nationwide online sales tax regime. It's unclear, however, if Congress would go along with any online sales tax proposal.
a.) This isn't the U.S. Congress doing this. It's the states being greedy and (unintentionally?) destroying their online commerce.
b.) It requires a small but not obscenely small representation of states to go along with it before it will even be presented to Congress (if I'm reading this right).
c.) The "Streamlined Sales Tax Project" might be the worst taxing idea I've ever heard:

"Under the Streamlined Sales Tax Project proposal, states would be required to establish uniform definitions for taxable goods and services, and maintain a single statewide tax rate for each type of product."
Now, establishing any sort of national taxes, especially those of the mandatory kind against the collective will of the states who didn't want to participate, wouldn't that interfere with some portion of our other laws? I thought it was our state's perogative to tax us however the hell they want. Anyone?

Supreme Court (5, Informative)

fritz_269 (623858) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656286)

From this site [newrules.org]
The tax exemption for remote businesses arises from two U.S. Supreme Court rulings (National Bellas Hess, Inc. v. Dept of Revenue of Illinois in 1967 and,
Quill Corp. v. North Dakota [cornell.edu] in 1992), which concluded that states and cities cannot compel out-of-state companies to collect sales tax. To do so would amount to an unconstitutional interference with interstate commerce. Only those firms that have a physical presence, or nexus, within the state are required to collect sales taxes.

The Court, however, noted that Congress has the power to change this policy. It could enact legislation authorizing states to require remote businesses to collect and remit sales tax.

A better solution (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4656300)



I don't buy anything online from within my own state due to the sales tax issue. Everything is out of state. If this passes, I won't buy anything online anymore. There is little incentive when you are paying sales tax AND SHIPPING.

I just wrote a lengthy email to the TigerDirect CEO on this. You have to contact Senator George Allen, and any Senators that are not pro tax, pro big government, pro heavy social spending. And contact the CEO's of the online companies you use to make purchases. Think about my take on this, then contact them if you think it is good:

Internet sales tax collection is coming, and soon. The states will be demanding bailouts from the federal government for all of the deficit state budgets. This will be a bone that the federal reps will throw them, instead of having to hand out money from the federal kitty. The fight on this will be more ferocious this coming year than in the past because of the slowdown in the economy.

Shipping charges make up a large percentage of an online purchase. Excepting some of Amazon's sales (and they are not profitable yet), shipping is not free. You are either charged for it outright, or it is built into the price. Or the company doing the selling is a house of cards that will collapse sooner rather than later.

The brick and mortar stores cry that the online sellers have an advantage because they don't charge tax. But I get charge shipping on my purchases. Further, returns are a hassle. I still have items here because I didn't return them in time, including a power supply/ups that was incorrectly described in catalog and is useless to me, which cost over $100.

My solution, something that I could live with? Make the shipping costs directly deductible from the tax owed. $20.00 shipping cost? $35.00 tax? $15.00 gets remitted. $20 shipping cost? $15.00 tax? nothing gets remitted. The states will get more than they are getting now, but less than they want now. I'll be able to stomach making an online purchase, and most business will still remain. Otherwise, if this tax plan goes through, why would I buy anything online anymore? I'll go to my local computer shop, and buy everything there. I already do that with my hard drives, due to the ease in changing them when they fail (lots of GXP failures here). I have to pay taxes now on out of state purchases? Forget it.

I contacted TigerDirect today about my idea on deducting shipping costs from the taxes owed. Anyone else want to step in, help save our internet purchases by contacting your favorite reseller, and your Senator and Congressman? Don't bother with the tax loving, high spending, union backed, reps, stick with reps that consistently vote against tax increases. After all, if the rep likes spending, they'll support anything that doesn't come out of their spending kitty.

Please help by emailing your reps and online management today with this idea, or with a better one if you have it. I'm contacting another one of my online sellers now. Please do the same. Thanks.

Gee great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4656303)

As if it isn't bad enough they screw us internet shoppers by raising the charge of shipping every 10 seconds.

Remember when stamps used to cost about 20 cents? I picked up a book of stamps today at 37 cents a pop. Last time I bought them they were 34 and that was a few months ago.

I used to order music from an indie distro that gave you free priority shipping. They can't afford it anymore.

And you know whatever difference the retailers charge they simply charge back the consumer 150% of it. When I saw priority go from $3.50 to $4.50, I noticed sites suddenly increase priority shipping to $6. Hrmmm...

I'm just waiting for a luxury tax to be added for the convenience of not having to leave your house.

Why should the Internet be different? (2, Interesting)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656317)

Why should the Internet be different? If it's so cheap to do business online, what's the problem with the tax???

We don't have to pay taxes (3, Insightful)

dnoyeb (547705) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656325)

Why is everyone forgetting that WE the people make the rules. If we don't want to pay taxes we don't have too.

People act like its inevitable. Its not. Quit being so damn powerless.

Re:We don't have to pay taxes (2, Interesting)

fritz_269 (623858) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656372)

Really?
Why don't you stop paying your income tax and see what happens in a year or so?

Better yet, just refuse to pay sales tax next time you drop by the grocery store.

Still too early... (3, Insightful)

Quaoar (614366) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656338)

It's definitely waaaay too early to begin taxing Internet business. Most e-commerce sites are barely clinging to life after the dot-com bombs. The government needs to wait a little longer before they start taxing these transactions when the companies can afford to lose some sales. Otherwise, we're going to see another mass closing spree.

Like we need... (1)

venomkid (624425) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656342)

...another drag on the Internet economy.

How about this, fund me some high speed access, then maybe I'll pay an Internet tax.

What about phone sales? (1)

maunleon (172815) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656348)

Does this mean that if you go to a website, choose your product, then call their 800 number, you can get around the tax issue? Could be as simple as dialing up and entering your item # and CC into an automated voice system.

As far as I know, mail order purchases are not taxed if there is no business presence in the buyer's state, so I would imagine this would be a loophole.

Maybe they should.. (3, Funny)

munition (212134) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656367)

...Just tax pr0n. That would be enough to pay off national debt in a few years!

In other news (1, Offtopic)

dh003i (203189) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656376)

The Congress has approved the new jerk-off tax. For every 10 jerks, one jerk must go to the government (you're governor). This bill was suggested by Bill Clinton. Additionally, for every 10 squirts, one squirt must go to the government.

If you're penis is 10 inches long, you owe one of those inches to the government.

Oregon has no sales or use tax (1)

n6jpa (595426) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656381)

Well we here in Oregon don't allow the government to tax the sale or use of anything. It help keeps the government small and helps by letting businesses sell items for lower cost.

The part that really sucks... (5, Interesting)

pjrc (134994) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656392)

...is this little bit:

Under the states' plan, online sellers would be required to purchase approved software to compute the appropriate state and local taxes or to certify with the state any in-house calculation systems already in place. E-tailers could choose to outsource tax collection to a certified third-party under the states' plan.

My little website [pjrc.com] is just one of thousands of tiny little businesses that are run part-time, or just barely pay the bills for one person to run it.

It's absolutely unbelievable what a lot of companies charge for "e-commerce" software. How likely is this to be a $49.95 turbo-tax package? Nope, it'll be targeted at businesses and a few blood-sucking companies will see this as a big opportunity to rake in the dollars from every on-line merchant. We've seen lots of this mega-expensive software, and we manage to get by and make customers happy without any of it. It's unheard of to be _required_ by law to purchase some particular (extreemly expensive) software. And with some special gov't appoval/certification process, you can be sure it'll be plenty expensive...

But for the little guys (like me), that money just isn't there. We can't spend thousands on software, or just about anything else for that matter. It looks like the company these states are working with is Taxware [taxware.com] . Go visit their site and take a wild guess at what they're going to charge for this sort of software. It ain't gonna be cheap.

The fact is that there are many thousands of very small on-line merchants. VERY small. Filing 45 tax returns is going to suck. Paying for expensive software, or consulting fees to some "approved" company will only add injury to the insult. Our accounting software budget includes a new version of Quickbooks for next year. That's about all we can afford software-wise.

And it goes against all other tax paying practice to require specific approved software. You don't need special software from a specific "approved" vendor to file taxes. You do need to know how to do it, of course. My partner is a CPA and she knows ordinary sales tax very well (even though we live in Oregon where there is no sales tax). Why should we be held hostage to purchasing special software? Why does it need to be from specially approved vendors?

If the tax can't be paid by a company with an ordinary CPA, and some special software is required, and that software is so special that vendors need to be certified by some special approval process, they certain't haven't made great strides towards making this a simple enough process. Special software isn't required for paying normal taxes, and requiring a special certification process for tax calculation software is totally unheard of. It reaks of a back-room deal between GovOne (the makers taxware) and these states... if some complicated certification process is required for anyone else trying to enter the market for this new software that every on-line merchant is compelled to buy, guess what the prices will be in the first year when Taxware is the only product available and everyone is REQUIRED to buy it?

Well, enough ranting for one day. Maybe it won't be so bad. I'm just in a bad mood because a customer refused to pay the tax/duty on a package we shipped to the UK (and now we need to do something about it, and all the options suck....)

Complicated... (3, Insightful)

confusion (14388) | more than 11 years ago | (#4656403)

I see some complications here. Aside from the constitutional problems, there are matters such as 'which state gets the revenue?', 'should actual internet access be taxed to make up for the revenue that we know is being lost?' and on and on.

Other problems are collections. It's easy to say that retailers will just collect it at the time of purchase, but consider the case where you as a shopper live in a place where you have to pay state sales tax, county sales tax and city sales tax. The permutations are surely too much to reasonably expect retailers to be able to support. Now, I didn't think this would be a problem until I moved to Georgia last year. I know better now.

Technically, this would also affect auctions as well. Imaging trying to unload your wife's stash of rubber stamps and having to try to collect the tax and send it off to the proper collector. My head hurts...

One final thought... if all the other problems are resolved, what will happen if micropayments and microcharges ever get off the ground? You have to pay 3% of $.0005?

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