We’ve come to expect all kinds of theatrics during policy debates here in Washington. Now Amazon.com has taken to the stage with an act that’s all sleight-of-hand and misdirection, telling Congress that small businesses are the real problem when it comes to uncollected sales taxes on e-commerce.
Amazon wants Congress to force any small business with revenue of $150,000 to collect and file sales taxes for states where they have no presence whatsoever, claiming that, “a $150,000 exception would exempt 99% of online sellers from any collection responsibility on remote sales.”
To arrive at their 99 percent trick, Amazon counted even the most casual online seller as numerically equivalent to, well, Amazon.com. By this measure, you need only find 99 people who sold a baseball card through eBay or a dinner plate through Etsy as the statistical counterweight to every large seller like Amazon, Walmart.com, and Bestbuy.com.
A clever trick, especially since counting the number of sellers distracts attention from the uncollected dollars that state tax collectors are really going after.
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