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back to article Senators propose permanent ban on internet sales and access tax

Two members of the Senate Commerce Committee have introduced a mini-bill that would permanently block both taxes on internet access and "multiple and discriminatory taxes" against e-commerce. "E-commerce is thriving largely because the internet is free from burdensome tax restrictions. Unfortunately, tax collectors see it as a …

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I don't get it

So would the laws in California and New-York keep existing, or would they be made illegal by the change?

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Re: I don't get it

The Federal law won't affect state law. The Federal law already exists, but has an expiration date. Really. all they're doing is removing the expiration. Since the state taxes already exist and are not challenged/overruled by the existing federal law, there will be no change there.

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Anonymous Coward

I hope this bill becomes law...

...but states will fight it tooth and nail as they believe they are entitled to taxes that they are not.

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Paris Hilton

Re: I hope this bill becomes law...

Hmmm ... looks like civil servants worldwide just want other peoples money?

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Evaorating Tax Revenue, Evaporating Jobs...

"states will fight it tooth and nail as they believe they are entitled to taxes that they are not."

They will also fight it because the tax-free status of most internet purchases puts locally-owned businesses at a considerable disadvantage. And if you consider how the internet is dominated by a very small number of companies, you will understand that we are talking about a considered number of local businesses throughout the country being driven to bankruptcy or near-bankruptcy for the sake of a few large online retailers. Obviously this effects the job market by reducing employment opportunities in retail sales and merchandising.

And it is not only and not merely and most of all, not really the problem they they can't impose a new tax, it is that the sales tax they now impose and on which state and local governments depend, are collecting less and less money.

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Silver badge
FAIL

And nothing of value was lost

The local businesses make the 3 stooges look like geniuses.

Barnes'n'Noble no longer stocks anything interesting, and now clutters the place with wooden puzzles, My Little Pony crap, and other stuff that's pushing out the actual books I want.

I had someone at Best Buy laugh at me for wanting an ethernet card, as "everything's wireless now, and we haven't had wired stuff since July" so one of my work machines had a borrowed card until I could get something from NewEgg.

The Craftsman tool department in either local Sears don't have any metric tools, or anything but the cheapest torque wrenches.

Lowe's/Home Depot stock the cheapest crap, like lawnmowers that'll survive one summer if you're lucky, and shovels with cheap plastic handles that bend.

My New Year's resolution was to buy as much as possible online.

"Fail" icon because that's what I hope happens to all these places.

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Irk
Black Helicopters

Re: I hope this bill becomes law...

Not really, state taxes aren't dictated by the federal government, hence California and New York's taxes remaining in place. Some states such as Oregon have no sales tax at all so it won't really be an issue there. This policy is all about the federal level of taxation. Republicans are eager to put more weight on states' rights than federal rights so this legislation is no surprise to anyone.

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Silver badge

Re: And nothing of value was lost

Everyone of the places you named are national chains so its hard to truly call them local businesses. Unfortunately often times they killed the true local businesses and many brick but at least many mortar chains are in the process now of being killed by the internet. Payback.

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Facepalm

Re: And nothing of value was lost

The one that kills me is Wally World. Why are items cheaper to buy from Walmart online than going to purchase at the local Walmart? If I walk into the local store to buy X it often comes at a higher price than buying X online and, get this, picking it up at the very same local store. Even the lass at the counter was flummoxed and couldn't explain it. When I asked about their price matching policy all she could do is say it was their own price so how could they match it. This is reason # 23 why I no longer shop at Wally World.

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Re: And nothing of value was lost

"The Craftsman tool department in either local Sears don't have any metric tools, or anything but the cheapest torque wrenches."

How the mighty are fallen... I remember back in 1988 or so standing near the checkout in the tool department of my nearest Sears, and hearing this conversation (paraphrased slightly):

Employee: How can I help you?

Customer: My father bought these [Craftsman] pliers from Sears in 1953, and as you can see, they have recently broken. I'd like to claim on the warranty.[1]

Employee: Goodness me. Unfortunately we don't have that model anymore, but I'll help you find the current equivalent, and do the swap.

[1] For those who don't know: Sears Craftsman hand tools (except power tools, IIRC) were covered by an unusual warranty: if the tool ever broke, even like in this case after 35 years, Sears would replace it for free. The tools themselves were historically of sufficient quality to justify such an ambitious policy.

Another thing: around the time I heard this conversation (late 80s, remember?) I bought a Craftsman socket set - two ratchets and a huge pile of sockets in a wide range of inch and metric sizes.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Evaorating Tax Revenue, Evaporating Jobs...

Please,

I could pay twice my local tax and I wouldn't change my online buying habits because it's far cheaper. Even with the shipping costs. I don't waste any gas. No more going to a store that may not have what I want, even though their website claims that it's in the store (poor inventory management). It also removes one more layer of people handling the product and 'throwing' it on the shelf and half a dozen customers messing with it. I also get a better selection.

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Internet taxes

The internet doesn't exist in a vacuum. Internet commerce should be taxed to pay for the infrastructure that supports. Just like brick and mortar establishments. That said, it's much easier to say than do. Brick and mortar can simply send to their local/state tax agency. The internet doesn't have that simplicity, never mind that communities can create local tax authorities for their soon to be shinny thing to make the community proud.

There needs to be a tax clearing house, like Visa/Master card to track the existence and particulars of the many overlapping tax authorities. It's more a matter of doing it rather than new tech requirements. The post office has been tracking the public's moves and changes and has been directing mail to it's proper destination for many decades. I hear the US post office is concerned about it's business model, maybe they could use another revenue stream.

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Silver badge

Re: Internet taxes

What? Are you saying that none of the backbone providers pay for their own network?

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Black Helicopters

Re: Internet taxes

Well, not completely. They didn't pay for the utilities infrastructure they use (power stations, water processing plants), for the education of their staff, for the infrastructure that enables them to cheaply ship things around the country and internationally, for the fire departments that protect them from disaster, for the military, for the courts and police who enforce the laws and for the politicians who make them. Thus they need to pay taxes. Although, I'll give you that they seem to be keen on paying for the politicians.

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A bit more complex...

Me thinks that this is raising its ugly head to try and head off any possibility of the Marketplace Fairness Act (google it for more info) ever becoming law.

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Anonymous Coward

Taxes

Is that near Mexico?

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This relates to internet access only—not sales tax.

This has got to be the most misunderstood law over the years. This law only prevents states from taxing your internet access fee that you pay to your local cable or phone company. It has nothing to do with whether a state can require an online retail to collect sales tax on purchases of goods and services over the internet. This issue of sales tax collection for online purchases is also being currently debated with the Marketplace Fairness Act the most likely bill to pass. This bill, if passed, will generally require online purchases to be subject to sales tax collection.

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Coat

Acronym of bill - PITFA

I know what PITA usually stands for, who knows what the F could be...

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