by Mike Masnick

Online Sales Tax? No Big Deal

from the won't-matter dept

For all the whining and complaining by online retaiers saying that forcing them to charge sales tax would destroy their businesses, a new study says it won't make a big difference. It turns out that, no matter how loud the debate has gotten in some circles, most consumers have no idea that they can avoid sales tax by buying online, and very very few actually make buying decisions based on whether or not the site collects the tax. This doesn't surprise me, actually. While I remember it being a big deal early on, most people I know never talk about the sales tax issue. I think most people are now accustomed to all the various fees that get tacked on to all our bills that we almost expect additional charges to show up at the final stage of a purchase. So, the addition of a sales tax may be annoying, but I doubt it would change too many shopping habits. Of course, that doesn't answer the question about what justification states have for charging taxes on companies that aren't actually using any state resources.

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  • identicon
    dorpus, 5 Feb 2003 @ 11:31am

    Just did my CA tax return yesterday

    They want you to fill out a "Use Tax" form, which says that you must retroactively pay the sales tax for any internet or mail-order purchases you made during the year from out-of-state vendors. I'm not sure how they're going to enforce this though, so I'll let them catch me if they can.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Feb 2003 @ 7:48am

    No Subject Given

    Think you're wrong about people caring Mike. One of the reason's that amazon keeps it's free S/H is that it simples things for folks who are buying things. We (I) like to know the price I'm paying early on in the process. Not the final page which suddenly adds and additional 10% to 15% to the cost for ship and handling (and now tax ?). It may become easier to buy at the store than on line.

    Seen the commercial that has the line that goes something like "80% of all internet customers don't complete the transaction ...." it is/was a fun (and true) commerical. I think those 80% who are/were bailing are the ones who watch their 50 dollar purchase suddenly costing 60+.

    All that said, I'll see whether or not it deters my internet shopping. May or may not. Only time (and statistics) will tell.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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