Internet sales tax would deal killing blow to small businesses

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Georgia’s U.S. senators, Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, voted another tax increase for us.

As with names given to so many bills in Washington, D.C., the Marketplace Fairness Act is deceptive. There is little “fair” about this act.

For those who haven’t been following this, it is referred to as the “Internet sales tax.” If passed into law, it will mean that Internet businesses will be required to collect sales taxes from their customers for the state/county that customer lives in, even if that business is not in that state.

IN AN E-NEWSLETTER sent out by Isakson, he wrote, “This is not a new tax.” This is twisted Washington logic. Anytime a tax is imposed where there was none before, it is a new tax.

People often speak about the importance of the separation of church and state. Just as important would be if we felt the same about the separation of business and state.

It is common knowledge that lobbying is lucrative in Washington. Almost all lobbyists work for the interest of big business. Therefore many, if not most, of the laws passed by Congress are those pushed in the interest of those businesses and not citizen/consumers.

The Marketplace Fairness Act is just another example of big business leveraging the federal government to gain an advantage over its smaller competitors, to the detriment of consumers.

Businesses have engaged in mail-order sales in this country since before states had sales taxes. Internet sales are simply the modern method of doing the same. Why was Sears (just one example) not pushing this before? Obviously, it is because Sears didn’t have thousands of little competitors before.

It is bad enough that we have to worry about new federal taxes coming out of Congress. Now we have Congress doing the business of states as well?

A business in Georgia should not be required to collect taxes for any other state. Unless a business has a presence and a vested interest in a state, it should be unlawful for that state to require them to collect their taxes.

SMALL BUSINESSES will be hurt or put out of business by the burden of these added regulations. Unlike the huge corporations with accounting staffs and tax lawyers, few small businesses have the resources to collect and submit taxes to 9,600 different jurisdictions, in addition to facing possible audits by the same.

Five states currently do not have sales taxes. If you went to Delaware to make a purchase, you will not pay sales tax. If you order from the same business via the Internet, you will.

Concerning advantages and fairness: Most every business has one advantage or another over other businesses. That is how
business works. If you do not
have some advantage over your competitor, you will soon disappear. The advantage could be lower prices; better products or
services; lower manufacturing cost; better customer service; and so on.

While those pushing for this bill cite an advantage online retailers have over brick-and-mortar businesses, brick-and-mortar businesses don’t have to add $15 to $95 in shipping costs to every item they sell. How about a “Shipping Cost Fairness Act” for online businesses? This country needs to get out of this “fairness” mind-set we’ve gotten into. It is killing this country.

This bill is wrong on so many levels, but to impose it now, with the current state of our economy, is destructive. It is bad for businesses. It is bad for consumers. It will kill jobs.

Hopefully the House will reject this and that will be the end of it – until next time.

IN THE MEANTIME, Chambliss has announced that he will not
run again. Isakson will be up
for re-election in 2016. Both of these gentlemen need to be replaced with real conservative
candidates who care more about their constituents than they do big business and government bureaucrats.

Payroll taxes just went up in January. Additional huge taxes/fines for the Affordable Care Act are coming in a matter of months. We don’t need this, too!

(The writer is a small-business owner in Hephzibah.)

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Riverman1 05/26/13 - 11:15 am
Small Business Will Be Exempt

Every proposal being considered will exempt any business doing under a million a year in sales. So small business is safe. Where I differ with the bill is with the state that should receive the tax. Why wouldn’t the state where the business is located be the one to collect? It would be as if a South Carolina resident came to Best Buy in Augusta to buy something. He pays GA sales tax. Simple and easy for the business to accomplish.

Let’s discuss the fairness issue. If there is a large online store doing a booming business and another traditional store next door paying sales tax, why wouldn’t the online store have to pay, too? They both use the infrastructure of the state. The internet store won’t have customers coming and going, but it will have increased truck traffic and employees.

If the internet tax is not enacted major retailers will turn their stores into showrooms only. You use your smart phone to pay online for the product you see in the showroom. The showroom stores check online to verify you’ve paid and give you the item, sans sales tax. It’s obvious something has to be done.

faithson 05/26/13 - 10:50 am
new tax, a red herring

these taxes are supposed to be paid by law, by the buyer upon reciept of the merchandise, period. This is NOT a new tax, just a way to collect that sales tax, like we pay at the brick and mortar stores, at the time of purchase. I am a sinner and do not send my 7 % in to the revenue department like I am supposed to. This law just collects the tax at point of sale, which I have no problem with. Having listened to many of the arguments on this, I am a believer that as necessity is the mother of invention, programmers will work out the code to get the tax money deducted and sent to the proper state, there is a lot of money to be made here by the 'geeks' who will not stay in business long if it is to combersome. As river stated, over one million in sales is the threshhold, a time in a companies growth where it seems this mandate can be integrated.

Darby 05/26/13 - 11:41 am
"Both of these gentlemen need to be replaced

with real conservative candidates"

Well, we'd better start looking now, or else a last minute knee-jerk response will propel a liberal Democrat into one or both seats.

"Out of the frying pan, into the fire."

deestafford 05/26/13 - 03:00 pm
Excellent column

I strongly agree with every point made. All of "it ain't fair" talk is another way of trying to get unjustified taxes and revenue. Most people don't understand how many tax jurisdiction there are in the country and how well the writer explain them. The bottom line is keep the cotton pickin' government out of it and let the businesses compete with each other. Business owners are smart enough to come up with ways of competing. My wife has a retail shop and does not sell on the internet. Her merchandise is high end, exclusive, and requires personalize fitting. How does she survive? She remember her "why" in starting the business over a decade ago---to offer quality merchandise with personalized service which people could get nowhere else.

itsanotherday1 05/26/13 - 04:40 pm
I agree with River and faith

I agree with River and faith on this. By state law Georgians are supposed to declare on their state tax returns any purchases made out of state that taxes were not collected for. This just gives them to tools to get what is already due. ( I am one of the scofflaws who doesn't pay either, and the majority of my durable goods purchases are made over the internet)

dstewartsr 05/26/13 - 05:55 pm
Taxes are part of a reciprocal agreement

... in which governments collect taxes in order to provide services to the taxpayers; where is the benefit to the businesses not located in the state, yet paying Georgia's taxes? Who in Georgia represents them on how the funds are spent?

Answers: None and no one.

itsanotherday1 05/26/13 - 10:36 pm
It is the LAW : "Tangible

It is the LAW : "Tangible personal property purchased via the Internet and delivered to a Georgia address is subject to Georgia sales and use tax regardless of where the vendor is located. Report and remit Use Tax on Form ST-3USE. The tax rate is based on the county where delivery takes place."

So thumb that down. Dang, I hate ignorance!

SB3 05/27/13 - 01:47 pm
Taxed enough already.

This will stall spending (mine anyway) even more. Fine, I will just save more of my earnings until sane tax policies are enacted. No more Internet purchases if this goes through and even less to local businesses for accessories.

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