Introduction

A controversy has been raised over the last few years related to the collection of sales taxes on purchases made over the Internet. There are people with views of varied prospective, each looking out for their own best interests. The central theme for everyone seems to be based on fairness and money.

Retailers with only an Internet presence, known as the “pure plays”, love the competitive advantage given by not collecting sales taxes, which translates to lower prices. Traditional retail, often called “brick and mortar” stores, want a fair playing field. Retailers with both Internet and physical outlets, known as “click and mortar”, feel the pinch by having both the loss of the “no sales tax” discount and the complexity of filing sales taxes with an abundance of state, county and local governments.

On the legislative end of the controversy are federal and state governments. The federal government takes pride in the fact that they have invested in Electronic Commerce by disallowing the collection of new taxes from Internet retailers. States, counties and cities feel the pinch by not receiving the revenue needed to provide the proper streets, schools, protection services and other infrastructure required for modern living.

The final viewpoint comes from the people themselves. While consumers love to save money on their purchases, they also are dependent on the services provided by government. People also do not want to see an erosion of all local businesses that may be owned by their friends and neighbors because some huge company was able to win a price war simply by not charging sales taxes.

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