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Colorado should rethink its tattletale tax reporting law

There is a lot of talk in the state Legislature these days about taxes — from tax hikes on marijuana and new taxes for improved transportation to reduced taxes on business personal property and even eliminating taxes on some personal hygiene products.

However, lawmakers may want to add one more tax-related issue to this robust debate — a re-examination of rules that would make the Department of Revenue privy to the personal online shopping habits of Coloradans.

Six years ago, state lawmakers addressed the internet sales tax issue through legislation. It was a fatally flawed law, aimed at increasing collection of sales and use taxes for purchases made online or through catalogs. Lurking in that bill was a dangerous intrusion into the private lives of Colorado citizens.

Read More at the Colorado Statesman

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Hoosier Internet sales tax bill is ill advised

The U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court precedent protect Indiana’s businesses from the scourge of Chicago and New York tax collectors.

Today, Indiana businesses, whether selling online, over the phone or via catalog, only must collect sales taxes for purchases to Indiana consumers. The businesses only must file taxes with the Indiana tax collectors and face audits from Indiana auditors.

As a result, Indiana’s main street businesses, such as Burton’s Maple Syrup in Medora, easily can use the Internet to reach customers across the country.

But it appears some lawmakers in Indianapolis are prepared to upend these protections and expose Indiana businesses to tax collectors from across the country.

Read more at Northwest Indiana Times 

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Op-ed: We now collect enough internet sales taxes to cut the tax rate

By Jonathan Johnson, Chairman of the Board of Overstock.com

Utah’s Gov. Gary Herbert and other internet tax proponents proclaim Utah’s uncollected e-commerce sales tax has reached $200 million a year. It’s a large number. And it’s largely wrong.

Supposedly, the shortfall results from out-of-state e-commerce retailers not collecting Utah sales taxes. But is $200 million the number right? It doesn’t seem to add up.

Here’s a back-of-the-envelope calculation of all 2016 e-commerce sales taxes due in Utah:

• The 2016 total U.S. retail e-commerce is $392 billion (estimates from Internet Retailer and eMarketer).

• Utah’s e-commerce visit share is 0.84 percent, based on the assumption e-commerce sales are proportionate to visits (Source: Hitwise and Connexity); coincidentally, that figure approximates Utah’s population proportion of about 0.9 percent.

• The average Utah sales tax rate is 6.53 percent (https://www.salestaxhandbook.com/utah).

• Therefore, Utah’s total e-commerce sales tax due — collected or not — would be $215 million: ($392 billion x .0084) x 0.0653 = $215 million.

If this calculation is correct, then either Utah is not collecting more than 90 percent of its e-commerce sales taxes, or the governor’s $200 million figure is wrong

READ MORE at Salt Lake Tribune

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State Tax Notes Names NetChoice as Organization of the Year

This week State Tax Notes named NetChoice and NCSL as “Organizations of the Year.”

In a world in which federal and state officials are debating ways to regulate and tax online commerce, NetChoice is at the forefront of the loyal opposition.

State Tax Notes recognizes NetChoice for its role in fighting proposals that fly in the face of its goal of “promoting convenience, choice and commerce on the net.

In the state remote sales tax arena, NetChoice moved quickly to sue South Dakota even before S.B. 106, the state’s remote sales tax bill, took effect May 1. On April 29 NetChoice joined the American Catalog Mailers Association to sue the state on the basis that S.B. 106 is facially unconstitutional.

NetChoice has been a consistent presence on the remote sales tax issue. It has fought diligently against efforts to pass legislation such as the Marketplace Fairness Act, a proposed federal law that would allow states to require remote sellers to collect and remit sales tax. Read more

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The Lame Duck Is No Time to Cripple Internet Commerce

Online and catalog retailers around the country have made it clear to Congress that a radical remote sales tax mandate would cause severe hardships for their businesses and consumers across the United States.

As we enter the “lame duck,” the post-election session of this Congress, we are likely to see an effort to pass the Marketplace Fairness Act, even though this bill has not been on the floor of the House or Senate and has never even had a committee hearing. Our leaders in Congress should resist any effort to move MFA in the lame duck or attach it to must-pass legislation.

READ MORE at Morning Consult

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Retailers unite! Counter divide-and-conquer tactics on online sales tax

If other states copy a South Dakota law, businesses would face sales tax audits from across the country and costly software changes.

Divide-and-conquer is a tried-and-true strategy to defeat a superior enemy. It works in war and in business, but perhaps nowhere more so than in politics.  When it comes to online sales tax, state tax administrators and legislators managed to divide the retail business community in their drive to gain new tax powers at the expense of consumer choice and small business growth.

READ MORE at Internet Retailer

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ACMA and NetChoice File Legal Challenge against South Dakota’s “Blatantly Unconstitutional” Internet Sales Tax Law

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Internet Sales Tax DelBianco v Bramble

Debating Internet Sales Taxes – Steve DelBianco (NetChoice) v UT Sen. Curt Bramble (NSCL)

 

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Why this tax bill is unfair

April 15 is one of the least liked and certainly the most expensive days of the year for many Americans. It is Tax Day when we all must ensure that we have paid our fair share. But, if big-box retailers get their way, every day will be tax day for small online sellers.

At both the federal and state levels big box stores are lobbying for new unfair taxes on our nation’s small internet retailers.

Read More at CNBC.com

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Utah Citizens: Internet Sales Tax System Works Fine, Don’t Mess With It

Sixty-seven percent said that imposing sales tax obligations on businesses that have no physical presence in the state would amount to a statewide sales increase.

Sixty-seven percent of Utahns said the “issue has largely solved itself and requiring small merchants to collect and send taxes to 46 states is overly burdensome.” Only 16 percent said there “should be federal or state laws that require merchants large and small to collect and pay taxes to tax collection agencies in nearly every state.”

Utahns support the current online sales tax system. An overwhelming 78 percent said that the current system is “fine, I like it as it is.” Only 8 percent said “it needs to change. More purchases should be taxed.”

Read the Polling at NetChoice.org/UtahTaxPoll