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New York to Implement an 'Amazon Tax'

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the death-and-taxes dept.

Government 411

theodp writes "NY Governor David Paterson is expected to sign a bill requiring online retailers to collect sales taxes on purchases shipped to the state, even if they have no operations or employees working there. The so-called 'Amazon tax', which applies to Internet retailers who derive sales through affiliate programs, would end what for many New Yorkers had been tax-free shopping and generate an estimated $50M in revenue this fiscal year. Experts predict that other states could follow suit with similar provisions."

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Star Wars on spike tonight! (0, Offtopic)

moogied (1175879) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044384)

Its as if millions of 45 year old women screamed in horror and were then silenced.

they can pass it all they want... (5, Insightful)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044386)

It's not Constitutional.

Re:they can pass it all they want... (5, Informative)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044396)

My thoughts exactly. This has "interstate commerce" written all over it.

Re:they can pass it all they want... (1)

dmadzak (997352) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044582)

This has a politicians middle finger written all over it.

Re:they can pass it all they want... (5, Informative)

davetd02 (212006) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044776)

Not so fast: You're right that thanks to the "dormant commerce clause," New York can't burden out-of-state commerce or commerce that just passes right through New York without stopping. For example, New York can't tax goods that pass through New York on their way from Maine to Florida on I-95, nor commerce that happens in other states.

But, almost every state that has a sales tax also has an excise tax for people who import goods from out of state. For example, in most states if you import a car into the state then you pay the sales tax on the car even if you bought it in a state with no sales tax.

New York can very constitutionally tax goods that are used in New York. And it can reach Amazon to enforce it because Amazon has "purposefully availed" itself of the New York market by advertising there and shipping orders there. See the case Asahi Metal.

Re:they can pass it all they want... (1)

FoolsGold (1139759) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044438)

Hah! The Constitution doesn't stop jack it seems these days. They'll just find a loophole.

Re:they can pass it all they want... (1, Offtopic)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044460)

It also doesn't stop George, but I think that's what you actually meant in the first place.

Re:they can pass it all they want... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23044588)

Hey, its to stop the terrorists.

Re:they can pass it all they want... (1)

FLEB (312391) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044648)

If it was anything else but a rejection of Congress' Interstate Commerce jurisdiction, I'd have to agree. In this case, though, it gets in the way of the Feds' most useful playing card, the "mumble-mumble-mumble-INTERSTATE COMMERCE!" defense. This, of course, is not acceptable.

Re:they can pass it all they want... (2, Insightful)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044472)

You haven't been paying attention the last 7 or so years have you?

Re:they can pass it all they want... (1)

menace3society (768451) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044488)

How exactly has that stopped the government from doing whatever the hell it wants for the last decade or so? Just raise the specter of national security and every judge in the country (especially the Supreme Court) will roll over as always. Just say that the tax revenues go to anti-terrorism activities, or that the taxation is a way of regulating and controlling what comes into the state, to make sure it's not contraband.

Re:they can pass it all they want... (5, Funny)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044532)

How exactly has that stopped the government from doing whatever the hell it wants for the last decade or so? Just raise the specter of national security and every judge in the country (especially the Supreme Court) will roll over as always. Just say that the tax revenues go to anti-terrorism activities, or that the taxation is a way of regulating and controlling what comes into the state, to make sure it's not contraband.

If we don't pass this law, then terrorists will be able to buy books and other goods tax-free. It is highly probable that terrorist cells operating in New York will need to order books and electronics from online vendors. Taxing these sales means that it will now cost terrorists 8.4% more each time they order terrorism-related materials from Amazon, dealing a serious blow to Al Qaeda's finances. Imagine how furious Bin Laden will be when he sees that his sleeper cells have gone over their budget.

Re:they can pass it all they want... (5, Insightful)

superdave80 (1226592) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044516)

Not constitutional in our normal, sane eyes, but we are talking about the courts. They make crazy decisions all the time, because they over think the minutiae of these cases. It should take them all of five seconds to declare this unconstitutional, but they probably will say it is fine. Don't think so? Look at use tax.

Relevant sections of the constitution state:
"The Congress shall have Power To ... regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;"

"No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State."

Pretty much sounds like states can't make me pay a tax when passing goods from one state to another, right? Yet states have somehow subverted this by declaring it a 'use' tax, not a 'sales' tax. They claim that they are not taxing the sale of the item, but rather, the use of the item in their state. This would almost be a plausible argument, except for two tiny problems:

1. The use tax rate is the exact same as the sales tax rate.
2. The use tax only applies to all items used in a state, but ONLY items brought in from another state.

If this were a REAL use tax, every item 'used' in the state would be subject to it. The use tax is so obviously nothing more than an interstate tax by a different name. And the courts, almighty protectors of our constitutional rights, have gone along with this bullshit argument.

Re:they can pass it all they want... (3, Insightful)

killdozer3k (779295) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044758)

Precisely, Part of the problem is that the law is unequally applied. i wish I had my own right-wing/libertarian ACLU to go around suing for fun and profit all the time. int his case a use tax implies that something is used. Whats next? Taxes from ever state an item is passed across? Why not? Amazon should refuse to collect the taxes and see what NY can do about it. They cant stop Fedex from shipping items from Amazon to NY. I wonder what would happen if someone sued a state fro NOT collecting taxes on all packages shipped across its state? Why not since NY is stating taht all items shipped to it can be taxed.

Re:they can pass it all they want... (1)

Lost Engineer (459920) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044858)

Unfortunately you can't sue a state for not taxing. I've no references at the moment, but it was decided a while ago that you have no standing to sue solely by virtue of being a taxpayer. I don't believe citizenship counts for anything either. So next time you vote remember: these people can piss away your money however they please, and you can't sue them for it. Might want to trust them first, then.

Re:they can pass it all they want... (4, Informative)

davetd02 (212006) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044860)

The constitution prohibits EXPORT taxes, not import.

There's a big historic difference between the two.

New York's tax is, for all practical purposes, an import tax.

Re:they can pass it all they want... (1)

davetd02 (212006) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044902)

I should have put this in my last post, sorry. Here's a treatise talking about why "export" means "export." [onecle.com]

Clause 5. No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State. ...
This prohibition applies only to the imposition of duties on goods by reason of exportation. The word âoeexportâ signifies goods exported to a foreign country, not to an unincorporated territory of the United States. A general tax laid on all property alike, including that intended for export, is not within the prohibition, if it is not levied on goods in course of exportation nor because of their intended exportation.


Or check Wikipedia on the same point [wikipedia.org] :

With the grant of absolute power over foreign commerce given to the federal government, the states whose economies relied chiefly on exports realized that any tax laid by the new central government upon a single item of export would apply very unevenly amongst all the states and favor states which did not export that good.


For the purpose of this clause, "export" means really "export"--as in, export to another country.

The dormant commerce clause doesn't apply because New York can regulate goods used in New York. See my comment above.

It's already the law in Iowa (1)

jgoemat (565882) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044608)

If you read on your taxes, you are supposed to declare your mail-order purchases. If you didn't pay a sales tax in another state, you have to pay it in your state of residence. I've always thought this silly myself, but this "Amazon tax" isn't new.

Re:It's already the law in Iowa (4, Informative)

arth1 (260657) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044850)

This is called a use tax, and is a loophole that most if not all states who have sales tax use to tax out-of-state purchases. They get away with it because it applies to EVERYTHING, whether bought in-state or out-of-state, but the tax is waived if you either paid sales tax or the purchase was exempt from sales tax (like food and clothing in many states).

Why does NY want this new tax if they already have use tax? For two reasons:
  1. Most people don't declare use tax, even though it's illegal not to. Either they don't understand that they have to, or they gamble on not being audited.
  2. The state loses interest on the money for several months, because use tax is not paid until you declare taxes next year. Something you buy in January 2008 won't give the state the money until April 2009 (unless you declare your taxes earlier).


Quite frankly, don't be surprised if new taxes like these appear all over the place. The plummeting economy and rapid devaluation of the dollar means that even states have to collect money where they can.

Re:they can pass it all they want... (3, Interesting)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044632)

You know I might get flamed for this, but.....

The Constitution has nothing to do with this. The founding fathers never envisioned that a person in California (did not even exist yet) and another person in New York could so easily create a sales transaction between them, AND within such a reasonable period of time, deliver the products. I don't think that they thought, or understood, that it could become such an EFFECTIVE loophole to bypass taxes. I don't understand the logical arguments behind interstate commerce laws, but perhaps it was to protect businesses from having to compete in an unfair environment. States could tax the hell out of "foreign" goods thereby decreasing competition (bad). However, the fact that the sending state is not allowed to tax it either, creates the loophole. I dunno, it's just my thoughts on it, and I admit that I don't understand the basis for the laws. I do understand it's effects however, and that leads to the real problem...... ......It's NOT FAIR. Although, I like the idea of getting away with not paying taxes and I have done it for years, it is not fair to local businesses. Only suckers (or principled individuals) paid taxes on their computer equipment in the last 10 years. Local equipment suppliers have a very hard time competing with it, locally at least, and then must rely on out of state sales themselves. So it's kind of ridiculous if you think about it.

So you have a choice. You can:

1) Support your local economy and state by spending the money on the sales taxes there...

or

2) Bypass taxes and spend a much smaller amount giving it to FedEx, UPS, USPS, or DHL.

Which one do you want? Give the "taxes" to a corporation or to your local government where there is a small chance it might go towards something meaningful to you?

Of course, this might all be a moot point since rising fuel costs are going to close the gap between Shipping Costs (the alternative tax) and local Sales Tax.

Oh please (2, Interesting)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044772)

Your argument holds no water at all. Sales transactions have been conducted remotely via the mails since before the founding of our country.

Re:Oh please (2, Funny)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044782)

"conducted remotely via the mails since before the founding of our country"

I did not know the pilgrims ordered their canned cranberries from catalogs from outside of their "states".

You learn something new everyday I guess....

Seeing though, as we are talking about interstate commerce, can we keep the arguments to AFTER the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the ratification of the Constitution?

Or we could do it your way and talk about the Odin Express (TM) and Thor's Mighty Catalogue of Sharp and Pointy Objects in ye old past.

Re:they can pass it all they want... (1)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044784)

You start by saying the Constitution has nothing to do with this, and then you seem to argue that this is indeed unconstitutional, but the constitution is obsolete. You make a good argument for this part of the constitution being obsolete. However, if that is the case, legislatures need to amend the Constitution, not ignore it.

Re:they can pass it all they want... (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044870)

I guess I should have been more clear. I mean to say that the Constitution and it's language involving interstate commerce really has nothing to do with the "heart" of the argument for or against taxing sales derived from out of state customers in our modern times, especially ones derived from the activity on the Internet. To say it is unconstitutional and leave it at that, is really just sidestepping the argument and ignoring the problem.

The Constitution is protecting the behavior right now, but it did not intend to do so (my belief). You could say that it is an unwitting accomplice to the activities being performed. The Constitution is also not the "Alpha and Omega" of morality and ethics. The inequalities it had for non-whites and female citizens were corrected eventually, but the point is they had to be corrected. So for people to passionately refer to the Constitution when talking about this is puzzling to me, especially when they do not explain why it was good in the first place.

So I do believe that you are correct, the Constitution should be amended. If we are going to do that though, interstate commerce is the LEAST of our problems with the current taxation environment.

What I would really like is for somebody, well versed in economics and interstate commerce laws, to explain to me the benefits of protecting such behavior and giving these companies a "tax break". How is it in the best interests of the people to continue doing this?

Re:they can pass it all they want... (0)

mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044798)

The Constitution has nothing to do with this.

You are right. In fact, the only "novelty" of this law, is that the retailers are obligated to collect the tax — and transfer the monies to NY. The sales tax itself always existed. The reason, out-of-state retailers weren't required to help the state collect it was that — for the retailers without physical presence in a state — it was deemed to be too much of a burden to follow that state's tax laws. It is the state's residents duty (widely shirked, of course) to report their out-of-state purchases to their home state, calculate and pay the appropriate taxes.

Now NY just wants to require (major) out-of-state retailers to familiarize themselves with the NYS' tax code and help it collect their taxes. I didn't think, they can enforce this requirement legally, so it would be interesting to follow...

......It's NOT FAIR. Although, I like the idea of getting away with not paying taxes and I have done it for years, it is not fair to local businesses.

You don't owe diddly squat to "local businesses" (or, to pick on another illiberal cliche, "mom and pop shops"). They exist to provide you with superior selection and/or service, and if they can't beat Amazon (or Walmart or whatever) — too bad. But if you really feel so guilty, do send them a check every time you buy something from their out-of-state competitor...

What makes them so dear to you, anyway? An incident of geography — that they happened to be located next to you? Why is the shop in your state any more deserving of your business, than the ones elsewhere? Do you also forget the old ones and make new friends, when you move — to keep your friendships "within a community"?

Which one do you want? Give the "taxes" to a corporation or to your local government where there is a small chance it might go towards something meaningful to you?

It is a no-brainer, really. To a corporation, of course. Especially, to a good one like FedEx (UPS is union-infested and DHL is government-owned)... According to the article, the State of New York is "deprived of $50mln per year". Guess, who is getting this money? New Yorkers, that's who... This is not even about getting Amazon to pay up (for something?) — it is simply to secure their cooperation in taxing New York residents.

Re:they can pass it all they want... (1)

Lost Engineer (459920) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044908)

Let's be real about it for a moment. This is just another attempt to take even more money from poor New Yorkers. Poor as in unfortunate not penniless. Whether or not they were supposed to pay the tax before is largely irrelevant.

TAXED TO DEATH (1)

Tuoqui (1091447) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044806)

Someone needs to tell the government to fuck off and stop double, triple and quadruple dipping into the Taxpayers pockets.

1) INCOME TAX (Both Personal and Corporate)
2) SALES TAX
3) $$$ GAS TAX $$$
4) Assorted 'Fees', 'Service Charges' and 'Fines'.

If they were doing their job right they'd only need to tax income only tax sales. Clearly the system is busted because its got its hand out to you on payday, grocery day, garbage/recycling day, even the day you die (Estate Taxes) etc... It is precisely because rich people are utilizing loopholes to avoid taxation like purchasing land and such which gives tax breaks and/or functions as an efficient tax shelter, swiss bank accounts, investments, etc...

Re:they can pass it all they want... (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044964)

Yeah because New York's local economy is in the shit compared to the rest of the US. I sympathise with those poor new yorkers.

Re:they can pass it all they want... (1)

holywarrior21c (933929) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044668)

Very similar law has already been practiced in Korea. The government sends you a bill: up to 10% as "income tax", even if you are a normal person and sells things in large quantity or large amount of money. I personally sold USD $15,000+ worth of furnitures and other items via one of the major auction sites and the government has successfully sent me bills, about $600 total so far. i say, shit! wait its "sibal" in korean. This doesn't seem like a attempt to revive local economy by discouraging such purchases from other states. Why are they doing this?

Re:they can pass it all they want... (2, Informative)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044750)

How so?

It's basically two things: a use tax, and a scheme to collect it.

The Supreme Court cases on State use taxes are clear: they are Constitutional.

So that just leaves their scheme to collect. The obvious problem here is the Quill case, but they seem to have found a somewhat plausible argument to distinguish from that, so I could see this go either way on that.

How does this work? (2, Interesting)

The Ancients (626689) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044408)

I'm not an American, so I don't know how the system works.

My guess is a sales tax is charged (we have GST - Goods and Services Tax - here in New Zealand) on goods sold within the state. Now I presume the purpose of this consumption tax is to pay for goods and services beneficial to the residents of that state.

Hence I guess the argument lies with whether the burden of payment for this tax (and reaping the benefits of such) comes down to those producing said goods and services, or consuming them.

Anyone care to clue us non-Americans in on how this is supposed to work?

Re:How does this work? (4, Informative)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044432)

The tax is supposed to be collected where the purchase is made. So, if you are in NY and order something online, you are supposed to pay the NY tax on it. However, if the retailer does not have an actual presence in the state they are not obliged to collect the tax in behalf of the state, and in that case the consumer has to declare it when filing for state taxes. I guess they have noticed that not many people declare their purchases to pay tax on them...

Re:How does this work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23044448)

Right. Nobody actually pays those taxes.

Re:How does this work? (5, Informative)

doktor-hladnjak (650513) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044510)

Courts have determined that when you buy something through the mail, the sale takes place at the seller's location not the buyer's location. Hence, when a NY resident buys something from Amazon, the sale takes place where Amazon is based--in WA. The exception is if the seller has a "substantial business presence" in the buyer's state, in which case the sale is considered to have taken place there.

It's not even a question of the seller not being obliged to collect the tax. In the example, NY has no authority to tax sales completed in WA.

To get around this, many states have so-called use taxes that are typically equal to their sales tax rates. Use tax is collected when a resident brings a good bought out of state back into their state of residence. The rationale is that the use of the item is being taxed, not the sale of the item. In practice, states only routinely collect use taxes on cars, because it's typically part of the process of registering and titling a car in a new state.

Personally, I can't see how NY is going to be able to enforce this law. They can't compel businesses outside of their jurisdiction to collect and remit these taxes without some sort of federal law.

Re:How does this work? (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044680)

Courts have determined that when you buy something through the mail, the sale takes place at the seller's location not the buyer's location.

Not quite that simple -- the seller doesn't have to pay taxes on out of state sales, which is different from brick and mortar stores. If you travel out of state to buy something from a brick and mortar, you pay that store's tax. If you travel via the web to an out of state web site, you don't pay taxes based on where the web site is, you simply don't pay any taxes.

Re:How does this work? (3, Informative)

flabbergast (620919) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044720)

Most states have Sales and Use tax. The use tax is for goods purchased for use within the state. So, the GP is correct: in most states you're supposed to pay taxes on goods purchased over the Internet or through catalogs or if you purchased it from a state with no sales tax.

If you look at most state personal income tax forms you'll generally see an area for calculating tax on goods purchased from other states or over the internet. I know off the top of my head that Wisconsin, Illinois, Colorado, Ohio and Utah all have some type of line for calculating Use tax on their personal income tax forms.

Re:How does this work? (1)

StopKoolaidPoliticsT (1010439) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044650)

the consumer has to declare it when filing for state taxes. I guess they have noticed that not many people declare their purchases to pay tax on them...
NY State, Income Tax form IT-201 (the main tax form, like a federal 1040):
Line 59: Sales or use tax Do not leave line 59 blank:

Now... you can either keep track of all of your out of state purchases and pay the exact amount or you can just go by the income range table:
up to $15,000: $5
$15,001-30k: $15
$30k-$50k: $21
$50k-$75k: $27
$75k-$100k: $40
$100k-$150k: $56
$150k-$200k: $72
$200k+: .0361% of income (.000361) or $200, whichever is smaller

If you don't fill in the line or enter a 0, you're basically begging for a state audit

So, the state is effectively already charging for out of state purchases and has been for a couple years now... but that's never enough for NY, we need even more taxes. We're $90 billion in debt (if you count the NY State Authorities debt), and are still seeing double digit budget increases every year despite us running in the hole every year. Upstate has been destroyed economically with business fleeing left and right to other states and countries while the state just keeps squeezing more and more. But I guess that's a rant for another day.

Re:How does this work? (1)

Lost Engineer (459920) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044928)

But I guess that's a rant for another day.
I'd say that's a rant for this day, considering how close we are to returns' due dates. And so I say, right on! Keep ranting. The bigger the forum the better.

Re:How does this work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23044546)

Anyone care to clue us non-Americans in on how this is supposed to work?


It's quite simple. The government simply declares that the constitution doesn't apply to whatever law they are passing.

Re:How does this work? (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044622)

I think one reply already gave the genreal idea, but was fairly wordy/roundabout... so, to summarize:

In the US an interstate sale legally occurs in the seller's state (unless the seller has a "presence" in the buyer's state). US states are Constitutionally not allowed to create laws regulating interstate commerce, so for example if someone in New York buys something from a company in California, the state of New York can't force the California company to collect sales tax.

To answer your question - the burden of tax payment definitely resides with the buyer if the buyer's state is the one imposing the tax. This is not new, in fact - many states' tax forms already have provisions for Internet purchases into the state... it's just that no one actually fills those out :)

Re:How does this work? (2, Interesting)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044664)

The US political divisions can all levy their own sales taxes. There is no national sales tax, but there are state, county, and city taxes, not to mention all sorts of special tax districts -- mosquito abatement, hospital, etc -- which all have their own sales taxes, altho I think these last have to be given permission by the states, cities, and/or counties -- those details escape me.

If you have a brick and mortar store, it stays put and your sales taxes don't change from one sale to the next, only when the governments change them, and so it's a simple matter of looking up the tax on a chart or reloading the cash register.

The trouble begins with out of area transactions. If amazon in Washington state sells to someone across the country in Virginia, how are they supposed to know what that local Virginia tax should be? It's not just the varying state taxes, it's all the little divisiosns, and especially counties and all the mosquito abatement districts, since no one puts those down in their address, yet the tax depends on that. There are some horrendously complicated programs to determine county and tax district from the street address, and not only do they not work well even with perfect data, people misspell names and use Street instead of Avenue all the time. Thus the principle was established that the out of state retailer doesn't have to collect sales tax unless they have a physical presence in that state, and then I don't know the details of how they compute it, but presumably it is supposed to be easier. So Starbucks, for instance -- if they have a web store, they presumably have to collect sales tax based on the buyer's location, not any of their stores.

This whole thing could be cut like the Gordian knot if they changed the rules to say that every retailer, like amazon, collected taxes based on where the seller is, not the buyer -- after all, that's how brick and mortar taxes work. If you travel across state boundaries to buy something, say on vacation, you don't show an id to the clerk to establish your address so they can figure out the taxes -- they charge based on the store's location.

Imagine how much simpler it would all be. Of course, amazon would have to charge sales taxes on every thing they sold, not just things sent to Washington state addresses. That would lead to bidding wars, with states even offering special reduced sales tax rates to entice busienss to their area. The loser states would complain that this was unfair, as if the current situation has any resemblance to fair. Customers would also gripe and moan. But I personally wish someone would take the bull by the horns and push for this change, just to get rid of all the bureaucracy that goes along with the thousands of different tax rates.

Re:How does this work? (1)

davolfman (1245316) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044692)

Let's not forget that it would mess with the appliance delivery business. This precedent is also applied in that case where living in the suburbs can make a delivered appliance cheaper than a in-store appliance by being outside an incorporated city tax district.

It's actually a very deep issue (1)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044676)

Since you aren't an American, I presume you don't know, interstate and intrastate commerce and taxes were actually a very big factor in the American civil war just over a hundred years ago. Although it seems like more stupid greed and politics, this issue was settled at gruesome cost a century ago, and we shouldn't even touch this topic with a ten foot pole. Ever. IMHO.

To belabor the point... (sorry!)
This also relates to the state vs. federal rights which declares that federal law overrides state law, which is why you can be arrested for something that is legal in your state, but illegal at the federal level; many cultural and socio economical come to a head at this junction.

Someone please correct me if I've got my history wrong... I'd rather be made a fool here than on a date with a history major :).

Re:It's actually a very deep issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23044836)

Actually it was the Revolutionary war where taxes were a very big issue. The British empire was trying to impose taxes and other laws on the colonies without their consent, and the Colonies revolted - hence the Boston tea party.

Re:It's actually a very deep issue (1)

Lost Engineer (459920) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044938)

Yeah well unfortunately they settled it wrongly way more than a century ago so we're still going to have to debate it today. I'm glad, however, that someone else realizes that our civil war wasn't entirely about slavery.

but I repeat myself (5, Insightful)

suck_burners_rice (1258684) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044418)

This sounds like some kind of serious hogwash to me. The laws applying to Internet sales should be no different than those which apply to catalog sales. If you order something out of a catalog and you have it shipped to the same state where the catalog company is, then you pay the sales tax in that state just as if you had gone to a store in that state and bought the item. But if the catalog company is in Maine and you are in Florida, then you don't pay Jack Schitt for taxes. An internet site that sells stuff is nothing more than an electronic version of a page in a catalog. Amazon is nothing more than a vast catalog of products, as are most other electronic retailing sites. So if you're in the same state where Amazon is, it makes sense that the sales tax should be added to the price, but if you are in any other state, there should be NO tax of any kind on the purchase. Amazing and incredible that every time politicians are faced with a spending problem, they just invent more taxes, instead of reducing all the unnecessary spending. Or as Mark Twain said, "Suppose you're an idiot. And suppose you're a member of Congress. But I repeat myself."

Re:but I repeat myself (5, Informative)

digitalbeing (84400) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044436)

Whether you order from an out-of-state catalog or an out-of-state internet retailer, you owe local sales tax on the purchase, at least in each of the three states I've lived in.

However, the out-of-state business is not obligated to automatically collect it - that's the interstate commerce part. You are supposed to self-declare it. How many people do you suppose keep detailed enough records to calculate this on their state income tax form? Or bother to declare any of it?

Re:but I repeat myself (2, Interesting)

davolfman (1245316) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044702)

I'm pretty sure it varies from state to state. CA does it, but I don't think CO does for example. As I explain to the occasional european there are legal differences between states because of the fact that the US is a union of states rather than a state with provinces.

Re:but I repeat myself (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044760)

(I sure hope I understand this.)

This is a problem, what New York is doing. I don't think they have the legal authority to do this. I'd guess this could potentially reach SCOTUS.

From what I understand, a commission is like paying someone for hawking their product. But the key difference is this. Unlike a sales person earning a commission for selling cars at a car lot, these people who are earning a commission aren't located at/employed by Amazon.com.

I think affiliates are more like people who would be paid to wear t-shirts advertising someone's artwork, but instead of getting paid an amount to wear the t-shirt, they are getting a portion of the money generated from those who "mention" they are buying because they saw the t-shirt.

What happens when someone skips the affiliated link and buys direct from Amazon.com?

At the very least, perhaps Amazon.com should collect sales tax based on the proceeding money going to said affiliate, if said affiliate is indeed located within New York. Of course, that would be incredibly minor, and not worth it.

What we need is to get retailers to agree to collect sales tax when they don't have to, out of the sure moralness of it all. I, for one, pay my state's sales tax when I purchase items from a retailer, who has no physical presense here. Although I'm sure my government would never find out if I never were to pay said tax, given these are minor purchases.

I don't know the details of the Streamlined Sales Tax Project. I don't know if it solves the issue of some/all states have complex sales tax codes, given that even if we always use shipping destination, there are many local sales tax locations.

I feel we need to consider making a national sales-tax database, accessible via the Internet, in which the shipping location could be entered and the sales tax could be determined, along with the address in which to send the tax to be remitted. Ideally, a business should have no problem figuring out how much to tax, in doing such, all they need to do is record the amount of tax collected, tie it to a given location, and send it to the state's department of revenue.

Things we might want to consider is changing the law so businesses don't have to send in sales tax but just once a year. Some states require the tax to be remitted monthly, and that may prove to be a problem for small businesses.

Re:but I repeat myself (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044492)

This sounds like some kind of serious hogwash to me. The laws applying to Internet sales should be no different than those which apply to catalog sales.
They should, yet people fear the internet because pedos use it while not fearing the postal system they also use.

I'm afraid rational reactions don't apply to the internet.

Paterson can't see a problem with that. (1, Funny)

Fear the Clam (230933) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044422)

Thanks, folks, I'll be here all week. Try the veal.

As much as I hate taxes . . . (5, Insightful)

TXISDude (1171607) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044424)

This is an eventuality, and a needed leveling of the playing field. Why should a multi-billion dollar company get a competitive advantage over local businesses? Hate taxes all you want, but hate them fairly, not just those on your local small businesses. If e-commerce continues to grow, and is not taxed equitably with other businesses, this becomes a tax break for the big internet based merchants, and they need it the least. Consider this another play on the idea of a fair tax - one that levels the playing field for all businesses

Re:As much as I hate taxes . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23044440)

Two wrongs make a right, you say.

Re:As much as I hate taxes . . . (1)

SirGeek (120712) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044458)

So.. Since I live close to New Hampshire (No Sales Tax), I shouldn't purchase from there regardless of them having the lower sale price ?

Let NY do what Mass does, Says if your income is $ X, then pay $ Y as an assumed sales tax (usually much less than what I've purchased out of state).

It gives them their money and I still save money over all.

Re:As much as I hate taxes . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23044778)

Let NY do what Mass does, Says if your income is $ X, then pay $ Y as an assumed sales tax (usually much less than what I've purchased out of state).

Massachusetts has made a clever move here. That's not an 'assumed sales tax' in anything but name. It's an income tax!

It's a shame that they couldn't just bundle all sales tax into the 'assumed sales tax'. This would simplify transactions and keep folks such as yourself buying stuff in-state rather than out-of-state.

Re:As much as I hate taxes . . . (1)

Jeff321 (695543) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044462)

This is an eventuality, and a needed leveling of the playing field. Why should a multi-billion dollar company get a competitive advantage over local businesses? Hate taxes all you want, but hate them fairly, not just those on your local small businesses. If e-commerce continues to grow, and is not taxed equitably with other businesses, this becomes a tax break for the big internet based merchants, and they need it the least. Consider this another play on the idea of a fair tax - one that levels the playing field for all businesses
I disagree. There are small businesses online, too.

Re:As much as I hate taxes . . . (1)

DaedalusHKX (660194) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044618)

From personal experience, I'm willing to bet 50 bucks that the only businesses that will be hurt, will be the ones that get taxed heavily... and they'll outsource or close, depending on how small they are.

And then the dickheads who liked the tax will go crying to government goons to "stop the evil outsourcing"... and the government will yet tax them even MORE to be able to hire more worthless, unproductive bureaucrats to shuffle papers and "prevent the evil outsourcing".

And who's to blame? Well obviously the small businesses who had to operate on yet a smaller than profitable margin in order to stay competitive with the huge businesses which didn't pay the taxes or weren't subject to them in the first place. Call it the Amazon tax, but realize that it will hit the small online shops... not the big ones. The big ones will not even notice it.

Nothing new. Government creates problems, it never solves them.

Re:As much as I hate taxes . . . (4, Interesting)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044538)

It's not that simple. The Supreme Court placed specific requirements on states and cities before they are allowed to do this, and I don't think any of them have complied yet.

I have a problem with governments being able to reach beyond their jurisdiction to demand out of state / out of city companies collect their taxes for them.

I sell things online, and I don't want to be liable for collecting taxes for 30 states and maybe hundreds of cities. I've heard that the big internet retailers are fine with these taxes, because it's a burden they can easily absorb while hurting smaller internet retailers.

Re:As much as I hate taxes . . . (4, Informative)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044552)

There's this part of the US Constitution granting sole authority to regulate interstate commerce to the federal government. Person A from State A buying goods from State B is an act of interstate commerce, and states have no authority to interfere in said transaction. Additionally, one state's laws cannot be applied to an entity that has no presence in that state. Without an entity having presence in a particular state, there is no jurisdictional authority.

There is little in the law that is "fair" when multiple separate legal entities all have sovereignty within their respective borders. Particular states are always able to compete for the dollars of other people by creating more favorable business environments.

I'm usually not in favor of defending federal control of something, but in the case of interstate commerce it makes a lot of sense to prevent individual states from denying access to their citizens of all the benefits of living in a confederation. If people go outside New York to shop, maybe it shows there's something wrong with the priorities of the New York legislature, rather than being "unfair" to local businesses.

There's this thing called the Constitution (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23044554)

You should read it sometime.

Re:As much as I hate taxes . . . (1)

menace3society (768451) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044558)

Then the solution is to lower or eliminate local sales taxes, isn't it? Or at least reduce them to the point that the difference between local sales tax and S&H is negligible. You can think about it in terms of big businesses not being taxed enough, or you can think about it as local small businesses shouldering an unbearable tax burden.

In fact, in a place like New York, you might bring in more revenue with a lower sales tax, more people staying local for big-ticket purchases instead of hopping over the border.

Re:As much as I hate taxes . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23044690)

Fair tax for small businesses? Amazon and other online retailers sell products from thousands of small businesses, nationwide, giving them far more advantage than they'd get from some tax increase. A tax on those sales is only going to hurt those small businesses and the consumers buying their products. Nothing fair about that. If anything those small offline businesses need to evolve & get an online presence of some sort.

To answer the question why should they have an advantage, a few things come to mind. They have no store front so they don't take up land communities could otherwise use, people can shop 24/7 instead of 9-7 without directly employing anyone in NY, no electricity/gas/water from the state of NY will be used by Amazon, etc. In other words NY would be taxing something that is not hindering or limiting any of NY's resources, as a small business would.

Re:As much as I hate taxes . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23044704)

You do realize this means all businesses (not just the bigwigs like Amazon) outside the state of New York will suddenly have to deal with filing sales taxes with New York (ie. dealing with an entirely different state's tax laws) if they happen to receive an order from a customer residing in that state?

"So what?" you say? "It's just one extra thing businesses outside New York will have to deal with if they want to ship their products to New York!"

Ok, so what happens when other poorly managed states hop on this bandwagon to prop up their failing fiscal policies? It means even small online businesses (again, not just the bigwigs like Amazon) will have to a) register for sales tax ID in another state, b) modify their systems to accommodate sales tax for another state, c) file sales taxes with another state, and d) keep up with sales tax law for another state .... for MULTIPLE states.

"So what?" you say? "Online businesses with a nexus in other states already do this anyway!"

Ok yeah, but there's a reason why: chances are if they have a nexus in another state, they're already big enough (read: have the money and resources) to deal with the red tape in other states. The little guys though (you know, those thousands of people who run online businesses out of their homes across the country) don't have that luxury.

I have a great idea for New York and any other state thinking of getting in on this scam: how about you get your public spending under control instead of forcing people outside your damn state to fix your problems?

Re:As much as I hate taxes . . . (1)

LM741N (258038) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044730)

Bull. Amazon has an advantage because they have excellent service, are convenient, and have a wide variety of goods. It has nothing to do with taxes.

Re:As much as I hate taxes . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23044802)

For some people the prospect of not paying sales tax is pretty enticing (unless you're in one of those 4 or so states), but I think it weighs in equally alongside the other factors you mentioned (service, convenience, product variety) and then some (price, special offers, clearance items, promotions, etc).

Take NewEgg. I live in one of the states in which NewEgg has to collect sales taxes (TN). I order pretty much all of my computer parts from them certainly not because I don't have to pay sales taxes (because shit, I have to), but because I have yet to find another computer parts retailer that can beat all three of the most important factors to me: service, price, and variety.

This whole "level the playing field" thing just sounds like some local businesses whining to the government about new competition instead of taking steps to stay competitive in the face of it, which to me says they shouldn't be in business in the first place.

Re:As much as I hate taxes . . . (1)

amiga500 (935789) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044748)

Actually, it's easier for the multi-billion dollar company to keep it's tax rules up to date than it is for the small sites. It's only the largest merchants who can keep tax rules on all states up to date, and send the tax revenue onto the appropriate state.

Intrastate Commerce (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23044430)

In a sense, I've been waiting for this to happen. Ever since nearsighted liberals defined the surveillance between a U.S. telephone party and a foreign one as "domestic spying," I've been anticipating our spend-happy state government leftists to define intrastate commerce as between their state and another. There's too much money on the table and political power to be had to ignore minor details like laws and logic.

I can't wait for all the follow-along regulations on "intrastate" commerce, like bans on pornography, deviant speech, oppression of people we don't like, etc. If we're gonna tax it, we're sure as hell gonna control it. Deviance like boingboing, foobies, voyeurweb and ebay will be eliminated as soon as some county in Ohio decides these sites violate their moral code. Since local and state taxes transcend Internet boundaries, so will prescriptions on the freedom expression.

It's not like we libertarians warned you all...

I don't know about other states (3, Interesting)

MarchTheMonth (1232442) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044456)

but i know in Ohio, we're supposed to report any out of state purchases that arrive in Ohio (like all the computer stuff i get from newegg) on our 1040s. i say supposed to because i haven't reported any of my purchases any year. god i hope no one from the ohio tax office is reading this...

Re:I don't know about other states (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23044594)

We are.

New York took down license plates from people... (4, Interesting)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044464)

...shopping in PA malls just over the border, and sent them notices that they had to pay NY sales tax. NY also is trying to force Seneca store owners on sovereign indian land to collect NY sales tax.

Ohio will love this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23044466)

Ohio already [ohio.gov] charges tax on internet purchases with their Sales and Use tax, expecting consumers to keep tabs of all internet and tax-free out of state purchases and then pay a lump sum of it at the end of the year.

Of course, such a useless [buckeyeinstitute.org] tax is currently unenforceable. Here's hoping they don't put the pressure on the vendors like NY will.

Sounds like an extension of existing policies (2, Interesting)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044474)

It doesn't sound too irrational to me. States can already tax you for making purchases out of state and bringing them within state borders. If you buy a car in a state where the sales tax is only 5% and your state's sales tax is 6.5%, the state can charge you a 1.5% import tax. I know that imported liquor is subject to excess taxes in Minnesota if it surpasses a specified volume. I'd be surprised if this didn't apply to other states as well.

Re:Sounds like an extension of existing policies (3, Interesting)

Dogun (7502) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044534)

Those are called Use Taxes. IMO, they should also be ruled unconstitutional in some cases:

INIAL, and I may be woefully incorrect about all of this, but, IIRC, the supreme court has ruled in the past that an interstate commerce tax is unconstitutional if it fails to violate either of the following:

1) must be compensating for an identifiable a tax burden. Decreased revenues due to 'lost sales' in other states do not count - clearly the NY interstate book tax would fail here.

2) The inter-and-intrastate taxes must be approximately equal. (You can't jack up the taxes for interstate commerce beyond what you demand of your own intrastate commerce. NY is probably okay here.)

The Use Taxes on vehicles /might/ be okay, provided the vehicles have a tax burden associated with them. And, vehicles do, though the burden probably ought not to be measured by the sales tax inside the state, but rather whatever vehicle-specific surcharges the state has.

HAHA Kiss My Ass Amerikanos (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23044490)

Like a freaking tax is going to hurt. Come to this side of the pond if you want to see taxes that would make you cry like a little grrl.

Re:HAHA Kiss My Ass Amerikanos (1)

calawain (1152387) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044496)

Yeah only if we get the same benefits you do...

Re:HAHA Kiss My Ass Amerikanos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23044606)

Peon pays little but I pay very much more total. These 'benefits' are the same for the peon as they are for me. The rich do not get richer by default, but wars help.

and the retailers respond... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23044504)

You know what online retailers will do?
Simple, they will change their shipping policy to something along the lines of 'Will not ship to new york'.

Re:and the retailers respond... (4, Interesting)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044640)

Then we'll see a bunch of businesses pop up in New Jersey and Connecticut which will forward packages to New York. They're not the buyer or the seller, so they'd have no obligation to tell New York what they shipped to whom and when.

-jcr

If I was a Online retailer (1)

VEGETA_GT (255721) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044514)

I would say fine, guess what you live in NY, I don't sell to you. As in the end every online store needs to add this sort of thing in at there expense and is something that is a joke to begin with. So Hey take Newegg, anazon and a few other major ones say nope no NY, to bad, the backlash would be nough to get somthing roling in getting this joke removed as again how can NY state tell me in Michigan what to so.

Re:If I was a Online retailer (1)

happymellon (927696) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044796)

but wouldn't this mirror the insurance laws in Florida? For those who don't know, Florida is the most expensive state due to the number of natural disasters for insurance companies. The local government decided that it didn't like the insurance companies jacking up the prices so made it illegal without their approval to have any price increases (guess what, they don't approve any increases). Now it is almost impossible to buy insurance from anyone other than a couple and the state run insurance company which was created due to all their residents being denied. Florida doesn't look like it is going to back down and it is all the citizens who are going to pay when they bankrupt the state insurance due to a major hurricane. Just because insurance companies deny residents insurance because they can't charge then even the same amount as they would for any other state (which are less likely to have a disaster) doesn't stop them screaming like children and doesn't introduce sanity.

Amazon should already have the software in place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23044522)

Amazon should already have the software implementation that allows them to collect a tax to the authorities of the recipient's home state because the EU already requires them to do it. It sounds insane, but as a European I can't order anything from the US site of amazon.com without being charged the value-added tax of my home country. I have no idea how the EU manages to force this on foreign companies.

How about a levy on DRM? (1)

Homer's Donuts (838704) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044524)

If you must prevent servers from storing local copies of copyright material, you should pay for sucking up the extra bandwidth.


A DRM tax could help our government offset the cost of the infrastructure required by these "anti-theft" measures.

The Power to Tax (2, Interesting)

kilodelta (843627) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044526)

I thought that only the fed could levy taxes on interstate commerce.

Rhode Island gets around it by having what they call a Use Tax. Ask me if I've ever paid it. I haven't. I don't think anyone ever has.

Re:The Power to Tax (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044578)

Washington State has the same thing. I'll bet they collect less than $100 a year on it.

Let your government know what you want (2, Insightful)

CityZen (464761) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044548)

Okay New Yorkers, it's time to talk to your governor, your state senators, and your congressmen and let them know what you want, or don't want.

Did you ask to be taxed more? No? Well, your politicians seem to be confused. Please set them straight.

Remember, they are supposed to represent you. It's not as if the government should do whatever it wants to do and you have no say in the situation. It's only that way when you keep quiet.

Re:Let your government know what you want (1)

dmadzak (997352) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044596)

Thats OK, they will say its for the children, elderly, schools, homeless people and then will blame the boogyman from the other party and then everyone will fall in line and pay the tax happily.

Lenovo anyone? (1)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044590)

Has anyone recently ordered a Lenovo laptop? I just bought a pretty sweet x61 and they charged me tax!

I live in Arizona and any time I've ordered anything online (including Amazon), I've never been charged tax.

Even with the tax, they were cheaper than everything else, but calling something "tax" when they are obviously not paying the taxman seems crappy to me.

I wonder if anyone else has seen Lenovo do this in their state?

Re:Lenovo anyone? (2, Informative)

Kufat (563166) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044628)

From Wikipedia:

Arizona has a transaction privilege tax (TPT) that differs from a "true" sales tax in that the tax is levied on the gross receipts of the vendor and is not a liability of the consumer. (As explained in Arizona Administrative Code rule R15-5-2202, vendors are permitted to pass the amount of the tax on to the consumer, but remain the liable parties for the tax to the state.)

And Lenovo does have an office in Phoenix, so...

Re:Lenovo anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23044638)

Lenovo has a facility in Arizona, thus if you live there you pay tax on it. The point of this is that Amazon doesn't have a real facility in NY.

Re-election (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23044646)

I guess this governer isn't worried about his re-election.

washington state residents have always paid (1)

sentientbrendan (316150) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044656)

Amazon is based in Seattle, so Washington state residents already have to pay the roughly 8% sales tax on Amazon goods. I've always wondered if it would be ever worth it to ship expensive items to an address of a friend outside of Washington, and then just have him ship it back. This would potentially work for small items.

Since you already have to pay for goods shipped in from other states at traditional storefronts, it only makes sense to allow Amazon to be taxed.

That said, I'm generally opposed to sales taxes, as they are regressive, and think that progressive income taxation is the way to go.

Would Elliot Spitzer have to pay? (1)

snow2go (1271790) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044674)

Hypothetical: If Elliot Spitzer arranges for goods or services (or good service as the case may be) in New York State and then has the aforementioned good service delivered to another state or territory (say Washington, DC), would he still be liable to pay NYS sales tax or could he apply to Albany for a rebate?

Just askin'...

More info, thoughts of an internet retailer (me) (2)

asackett (161377) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044710)

See also: State Taxation and Regulation: the Modern Law [justia.com] . Although it's not a gimme in this fascist dicatorship in which we now live, the Supreme Court has already established precedent that would overrule the state legislation.

As it should. I, as an internet merchant, ship my products "FOB here", which means that from the moment the article is delivered to the carrier, it belongs to the buyer. The transaction legally happened here, not in New York. If New York can get away with an import tax, fine... not my problem.

We've had this for a while... (1)

CompMD (522020) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044714)

We have a "destination tax" in Kansas. Anything we buy we're supposed to pay tax on, regardless of where it comes from. We're supposed to pay tax on online purchases when we do our taxes every year. If you make a mail order purchase from a company that has no existence in Kansas and is aware of Kansas destination tax, they will charge you Kansas sales tax based on your location, not theirs.

Now, does anyone actually volunteer to pay those taxes? That's a different story...

For all of you IANAL types... (1)

deblau (68023) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044738)

Who think the Commerce Clause gives Congress exclusive and complete control over interstate commerce, read up on the Dormant Commerce Clause [findlaw.com] . Or if that's too dense, go to the Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] , although that's more confusing.

How to simplify the sales tax collection process (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044742)

Collecting sales tax is horribly complicated. It's not just a simple percentage for each state. There have been some attempts to simplify it, but they have so far failed (to come up with something basically simple). Even if they did simplify things enough to have a known percentage for each state or zip code of delivery, what about electronic delivery (stuff you pay for then get to download)? I once suggested states be required to standardize tax rates based on zip code (or just one percentage for the whole state). But some internet sales won't have a zip code of delivery.

I suggest a major change to the way the taxes are collected. Instead of the retailers collecting it, have the credit/debit cards and other payment handlers like PayPal collect it. That way there would not be a million retailers for all the states to have to deal with. And these payment handlers know where most of their account holders live (for those cases where the retailer doesn't need to know). The retailers would simply include as part of the charge to the payment handler, a breakdown of the amount into the various standardized classes of product and service categories that might have different tax rates.

Stick with the coke and broads Gov. (1)

Ottair (1270536) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044822)

Unreal.

Extapolate this trend... (1)

WoollyMittens (1065278) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044862)

I can only see them maneuvering this to a destination where you would be paying double taxes. At the point of sale and at the point of purchase. Offcourse, at that point both parties will also have indirectly paid income tax over it.

Free Lunch is Over? (3, Insightful)

DigitalisAkujin (846133) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044886)

I fully expected this to eventually come about. There's a huge chunk of commerce in the US done through the Internet which drains a lot of possible Tax Revenue from the states when before people would just go to the local electronics store.

I don't believe it's right to tax us this way however, nor do I think it's truly enforceable at this time since tax rates in various states are so complicated and if this actually passes it will be a big precedent for other states and local governments the follow suit, further complicating the situation.

It will be interesting to watch this play out. Sadly, the American people are gonna have to start paying taxes from somewhere. We have a huge debt and a lot of immediate things the government simply needs to take care of.

Sounds like gender discrimination to me. (1)

fellip_nectar (777092) | more than 6 years ago | (#23044926)

Wonder Woman is going to be pissed off by this.
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