The U.S. Supreme court refused Monday to hear a case by Amazon and Overstock.com challenging the state of New York’s ability to collect sales tax on items sold online. Good for them — and especially to do so on Cyber Monday.
Those that have lived through the technological revolution have watched the world change faster than at any other time in history.
Twenty years ago, when common Internet usage was in its infancy, it was reasonable to give Internet business a pass. Internet is no longer in its infancy. It is a mature, fast growing segment of society and expanding exponentially. Back then, it was hard to imagine where we are today with smart phones, tablets and thin screen monitors.
Our brick-and-mortar businesses should not have to carry the burden of collecting sales tax while Internet-only businesses get a free ride. It is difficult to compete with Internet businesses because they have no showrooms and no sales clerks, and no staff to calculate, collect and remit sales tax. Huge businesses like Amazon have tremendous volume, which allows them to purchase products at a lower price.
States are missing out on huge sums of money that rightfully should be collected.
Amazon collects sales tax currently in 16 states, including Kansas. However, it should not only be Amazon that is collecting sales tax in Kansas, it should be all Internet businesses. Those funds should be remitted to support schools and communities, just as our Main Street businesses do.
In addition, with the incredibly complex algorithms that are being written today on targeting consumers based up on what sights they view and purchases, computing the tax should not be a huge burden.
These Internet businesses are already using computers and Internet. Computing sales tax for each state should be a relatively simple procedure.
Karen La Pierre