NetChoice in the News
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.
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.
Twenty-five years ago, Seinfeld warned us of the dangers of double-dipping. However, double-dipping is not relegated only to hors d’oeuvres and sitcoms. In the real world, Ticketmaster has perfected the double dip, reaping billions of dollars by managing events and selling tickets on the primary market.
For years, Ticketmaster has dipped into the revenues of bands and other acts via its Live Nation Entertainment Group and then dipped into the discretionary income of consumers, charging fees per ticket sale on the primary market.
Now, the company has its sights set on a new challenge: the triple dip.
The FTC has said time and time again that “consumers don’t read privacy policies.” They’ve been doing this for nearly a decade. In 2007, then-Federal Trade Commissioner Jon Leibowitz declared that “in many cases, consumers don’t notice, read, or understand the privacy policies.” Likewise, study after study has substantiated this fact.
Of course, it doesn’t take an FTC chairman, or a researcher to tell us this, we all know that we rarely, if ever, read the privacy policies we’re presented.
BNA Bloomberg – Overstock, Others Will Report, Not Collect Colorado Tax
By Tripp Baltz
Two major internet retail companies said they will comply with Colorado’s reporting and notice law, but won’t go further to collect and remit the state’s sales and use taxes on remote sales.
High-ranking executives at the companies—Overstock.com Inc., one of the top 50 online retailers in the country, and Colony Brands Inc., one of the top 200—told Bloomberg BNA they wouldn’t be coerced into collecting and remitting sales and use taxes in Colorado, a state where they have no physical presence. Some interests had thought the reporting requirement might motivate companies to go ahead and collect the taxes as well, but the executives said otherwise.
“Overstock will not be voluntarily collecting and remitting in a state where we don’t have physical presence,” Jonathan Johnson, chairman of the board at Overstock.com, told Bloomberg BNA Jan. 19. “We’ll report to the state and give notice. We’re not going to do something voluntarily that we think is wrong.”
“It’s pretty black and white to us this is blatantly unconstitutional, and flies in the face of the interstate commerce clause,” said Don Hughes, chief financial officer at Colony Brands Inc. in Monroe, Wis. “We’re not going to comply with taxation without representation.” Read more
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
Part 1: We’re losing the battle for online taxes and consumer privacy
Part 2: The ongoing war for privacy and security in the cloud
Part 3: How much online freedom did you lose in 2016?