K.E.Mort’s Techdirt Profile


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  • May 8th, 2013 @ 8:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: One good thing...

    The seller is not the one being taxed. The obligation to PAY sales tax is on the buyer, not the seller.

    The seller simply collects the sales tax, and remits that to the state. It is never the seller's money, they are not "paying" the sales tax.

    That's different from a state taxing a seller on things like inventory or other corporate income tax...that is entirely different than sales tax.

    Florida's statements, which I have posted somewhere in this thread, amount to, if you buy something out of state but paid no tax on it then you owe use tax. This has been also written as if you pay a lower amount of tax out of state then you may owe the difference to FL. Generally however, if you buy something in another state, on vacation or whatever, and bring it here to FL you won't owe use tax on it since you paid sales tax on it somewhere else. It is vague however, because it does not stipulate that you paid FL sales tax. So there could in theory be a double hit. I don't believe it is being interpreted that way however. The biggest hits will come if you buy a large ticket item in a state where there is no sales tax. Then you get the big ol stick in the rear when you bring it here...such as with a car.
  • May 7th, 2013 @ 7:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Fairness?

    "If I'm physically a resident of the state of California, and am visiting Delaware - I should pay local taxes on purchases for the state of Delaware (like normal) and the state of California??"

    It's a tick complicated in the wording but the way Florida looks at it, for example for use tax, which is really what you're looking at here:

    * If you buy a taxable item in Florida and didn't pay sales tax, you owe use tax.

    * If you buy an item tax-exempt intending to resell it and then use the item in your business or for personal use, you owe use tax.

    * If you buy a taxable item outside Florida and bring or have it delivered into this state and you didn't pay sales tax on the item, you owe use tax.

    What is never clear here is whether "pay sales tax" in the last bullet means "pay any sales tax" or "pay Florida sales tax" - how I have seen this described is that if you paid sales tax somewhere else, you're good. If not, then Florida deserves use tax on the item. Or if you paid sales tax equal to or above Florida tax then you're OK. But if you paid less then you owe the difference.

    Your Delaware example is interesting...because at least here, if you say bought a car in Delaware (no sales tax there) then got yourself transferred to FL and brought the car down, when you try to register it, Florida will ask for the bill of sale to check not just for the ownership but for the tax paid. Oh no paid no tax, sorry Charlie, you owe me 6%. But if the car's purchase is over 6 mos ago then no are good. So, how long do you think you'd wait to register that car? :)

    Back a few years ago there was talk of Florida trying to tax home and business networks as "alternative communications systems"...yea.

    Locality taxes, or what FL calls a "surtax" is even more interesting. For a small business to figure that out is going to be crazy, but it'll open a whole load of new software ventures to deal with it. :) So for Miami-Dade, the sales tax is 7% instead of the regular Florida 6%.

    The big difference is that all the local retailers, the big shops...they deal with all of this locally anyway. The store's going to figure this stuff out and report to corporate, etc. There's a lot more resources that can be thrown at it.

    But I think really the issue of overall impact on b&m retail is based a lot less on tax being paid and a lot more about item price before tax. Most people don't compare prices with tax included, they just look at the price itself. I'd rather buy my new BT headset local if A. I could actually find the damn thing locally and B. I couldn't save $60 on it by going to Amazon. If price and availability were equal I'd probably buy local, and I think a lot of other folks feel the same way.
  • May 7th, 2013 @ 6:33am

    Re: Re: One good thing...

    "if you buy a product from another state, when you get that product, then that product is the PHYSICAL PRESENCE you are talking about."

    Entirely incorrect. You're mixing meanings.

    The physical presence is the vendor itself, not the product. If I sell a product out of state today I am not required to collect sales tax on behalf of that state because I am not located there. I am only in Florida.

    However, when I buy online from a company somewhere else in FL, they collect sales tax because they're located in FL. If I buy from a company in MD, with no physical presence in FL, they do not collect sales tax for FL in the transaction. However, that does not mean that I am not still obligated to pay sales tax to Florida. I am, only now they call it "use tax" instead.

    Remember the sales tax obligation is always on the buyer. The seller simply acts as a collector and then remits that to the state. The money collected in sales tax never belongs to the seller.

    And unless the bill is worded differently, and I suspect the way this is, each state will come up with their own rules...once you do one sale in a state you'll probably have to register and report regardless of the dollars collected. And once you register, you are generally on the hook to file the reports with each state regardless of whether you actually did any business in that state for the specific period.
  • May 6th, 2013 @ 8:25pm

    One good thing...

    When I buy things online for my business, the lack of sales tax really doesn't factor into it.

    If I can get it at the same price but get it local, i.e. faster then that's a route I'll go.

    The overall price of the item and speed of acquisition as well as buying the item online because I simply cannot locate it locally are the bigger factors.

    At least if this tripe passes I don't have to worry with "use tax" anymore - which nearly no one pays anyway.

    Having said that, I do find it distasteful that a company will have to collect tax (and register in that state of course, and remit the forms whether they have any sales there or not for that quarter/month/year) on behalf of a state they don't have physical presence in.
  • Apr 19th, 2013 @ 8:02pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Correct, retailers COLLECT sales tax. They are doing this on behalf of the state, and then remit what is actually the state's funds back to the state treasury.

    If I am paying sales tax on something I buy online, then that retailer must have a brick & mortar presence in my state. If not, then I pay no sales tax. However, in that case I still owe USE TAX which most people either do not know about or do not pay. And if you're a business you're going to have to register with the state to pay it, and once you do...you're on the hook to report it regularly even if there's nothing to pay.

    In Florida if you collect more than $1000 in sales tax you must report/remit it monthly. If only $100 then annual. There's a nice little chart for that which I am sure most states have.

    The big problem is that unless the bill manages to normalize all sales tax code nationwide, it's a failure because despite what you think, it's going to be a nightmare for smaller outfits to set up to collect & remit the taxes, not to mention all of the various filing requirements. Sure eventually there might be software for that but for a small outfit, trying to account for tax changes in 50 states? Come on.

    So while it does matter where the transaction takes place, it is not just a matter of IF there is a sales tax in play at the customer's location, as that's true in all states but 5 IIRC, there is also the matter of the actual business having a presence there.

    I sell a software license to someone in a state I don't operate in, I am not required to collect sales tax for that state.

    What they'd do in this bill is essentially kill that, so no matter where you sell you are required to collect it. IF it is made simple enough that A) Remit only once or twice per year B) Only collect the primary state tax (no munis etc) then it could possibly work. It is still a burden on the retailers, so you can expect prices to go up or discounts to thin.

    I know you don't think it's much of a burden, but it is.
  • Apr 19th, 2013 @ 7:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Unfair burden?


    If you paid sales tax in the other state and that sales tax was equal or greater to your state's tax then usually the law would be that you do not owe anything in USE TAX to your state.

    Since groceries aren't generally taxable, there's no burden of use tax there.

    However, if you buy a new hard drive at a store in Ohio and pay 5% sales tax on it, but use it at home in Indiana and the sales tax is 6%, then generally it'd be written you owe Indiana the difference in the sales tax but they'd call it "use tax" instead...although it's the same darn thing.

    Now, think about them apples when it's a car and you move from say Delaware to Maryland...yea...Oops.
  • Apr 19th, 2013 @ 7:32pm

    Re: Unfair burden?

    Yes, you mail an extra 49 checks a year"

    HAHA! This is great. More like the truth would be you're sending tax statements to the states, every quarter.

    See you're going to have to register to collect sales tax in each state. Here in FL it is the same form you are supposed to use to report "use tax" which is basically sales tax.

    Oh and if the city you are in, or presumably the city the buyer is in, you could end up paying a muni tax as well - but this varies widely state to state.

    See once you do that registration they have you, and you are required to file every quarter no matter if you have any sales tax to remit or not.

    So yea it isn't just once a year. Get that notion out of your head right quick.

    I would argue if you put this law into place then no state would really have the standing to also demand use tax as well. Which, by the way many if not all states have - and yes us lowly consumers are technically supposed to pay it on all of our online purchases since by buying out of state we've robbed our poor home state of that tax revenue...at least in their eyes.

    But alas, I'd think the states will still think you owe another tax even if this does pass.
  • Apr 5th, 2012 @ 8:56pm

    Large scale fail

    First off let's just acknowledge that SCOTUS got the obscenity ruling wrong in the first place.

    Any ruling which depends on "know it when I see it" cannot be solid jurisprudence. I don't care what court they sit on.

    The community standard fails because it isn't based on the community. It is instead based on the standards of a group of individuals who generally are supposed to represent the community but that in this case simply cannot know what the community really thinks.

    That is unless they are either snooping on my internet and TV viewing, or they've gone around asking everyone what they think.

    In some areas of the country I am sure that a strict standard might fly. But in most, it really wouldn't if you put it to the test for real.

    Honestly it isn't up to any government to stop me from consuming porn if I want to, and I'd argue they shouldn't be putting out of business an entire industry which isn't any more harmful in the hands of a normal sane person than tobacco or alcohol, and is arguably FAR less.

    Given the obsession some people seem to have with limiting all things sex, it seems that they protest too much! The ought get their heads out of the gutter and leave mine there if I want it there! :)
  • Feb 9th, 2012 @ 3:43pm

    Premise is wrong to start with...

    First, SCOTUS got it wrong with the obscenity standard. Any time a justice says "I know it when I see it" it isn't good law.

    Prurient interest or not, the notion of what is or is not obscene has changed dramatically over the years. A simple nude would have been obscene some time ago, and this even varies to the community standard.

    As to promoting the useful arts, well what arts do you consider useful? Playboy is porn by most people's view, but it can be argued to contain the same simple nudes which were painted and photographed years back and which enjoy protection.

    Photography and videography are art forms. Sure, the subject matter of the average Vivid Video production isn't what you'd call classy or tasteful but it is film making and that's an art form.

    The obscenity standard itself is bad policy and any matter of pieces can fall into that category. Fetish takes on many forms.

    Elimnate it altogether instead of going after the creators and trying to make connections from them to terrorists (which has been attempted). Rest assured the next "conservative" in the POTUS role will be sure to take action on this issue...you know, for our own good...oh yea and for the children too. :)
  • Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 8:00pm

    (untitled comment)

    The ACs are so sad.

    The content on my TV isn't free. Not by a long shot.

    Comcast inks a deal with content owners to provide said content on its network. Comcast then recoups that cost by charging me a monthly fee.

    There is no free now matter how hard you want it to be.

    If you're looking at this as only an over the air discussion then fine you'd be correct 20 years ago, but that's not how it is today, sorry. The content is paid for. Many times over as it turns out.

    I can watch HBO series and get no commercials. I can listen to my Sirius radio and get no commercials. Somehow they all survive. Shocking.

    Look, people hate change as a general rule especially when it threatens a comfortable existence. Business is no different. The MPAA and their members need to compete and evolve. Arguing now that the VCR decision was wrong, please, the motion picture industry would be nowhere they are now without the home rental market they so feared and then wildly profited off of.

    Why did there need to be subsidy paid to the recording and motion picture business on blank media...just in case it was used for piracy? Remember they wanted the same of hard disk drives? Seriously. The industry can survive. It can be as popular and profitable as ever, but it has to learn to evolve, and it doesn't want to.

    I personally have no stomach for regulation being created to buoy an industry that refuses to innovate and evolve. Just like the buggy whip industry. Evolve or die. That's how this works. There is no entitlement to profit or survival as a business. You earn it. Artists get that. The MPAA companies and RIAA companies don't. Simple as that.
  • Aug 2nd, 2011 @ 8:40pm

    The joys of copyright law and big media

    Well heck all you have to do is look at the fact that "legally" I can rip a CD but oh we've put their CSS on the disc so now it's encryption cracking and "illegal" if you do it with a DVD.

    Sorry about your luck if something happens to the disc and your kid decides to ruin it. Guess you get to buy another one.

    And that's what it's all about. Buying more copies. They'd have you buying a new license for every device if they could.

    This is the stupidity we live with in dealing with Hollywood content.

    It is what drives many to find a way to rip the DVD anyway while waving a middle digit at the industry. No you aren't getting another $35 from me to buy a digital copy of Mad Men to watch on my iPad. Nevermind it's for personal use.

    Which does beg a question too on public performance. Watching a DVD on a player you bring on an airplane flight would be a performance and you'd be breaking the law there too, heck probably have been.

    They really have no idea how to interact or work with their customers other than treating them as criminals right from the start. And the more of these restrictions and demands they get made into law the more often they can claim damages for us not paying them every time we watch a movie.
  • Jul 13th, 2011 @ 7:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No, my right to be paid for my movie trumps your right to get it for nothing.

    Sorry friend but you have NO "right" to be paid for your movie. You have the right to TRY to be paid for it.

    There's a difference that you types don't seem to ever get.

    And try again but he's not saying he has a right to get it for nothing. However, the MPAA/RIAA have for years among others gamed the copyright law system to make sure nothing ever reaches the public domain. And that was never the intent of copyright or patent law.

    Another fact that is so often ignored.
  • Jun 13th, 2011 @ 9:25am

    Intent is obvious

    Sure, they are poking fun at Best Buy. Just like lots of other commercials have done the same to competitors who use something like a blue shirt as part of their image.

    Big freakin deal. No basis for a suit unless they really used a BB type logo somewhere which they didn't on the guy's shirt etc.

    The store actually looks more like the old CompUSA or TigerDirect stores before they changed them around.

    The t-shirt thing...yea ok whatever I've seen that kind of logo used before in the electronics space. This is just BB trying to scare NewEgg into pulling the spots and the shirts with a threat.
  • Jun 13th, 2011 @ 9:08am

    Trouble is...

    When copyright was allowed to be assigned to corporate entities instead of individuals, where the "life" of the "author" or "inventor" ends up being limitless.

    That and of course corporate lobbies to extend the definition of "limited time" so that they'd never have to see their inventions actually subject to the intended terms of the Copyright and Patent provisions.
  • Jun 13th, 2011 @ 8:46am


    So now on the GPS, yea if the car was owned by him then there's no issue. It's his property. Just like LoJack or heck OnStar...they can track the vehicle. Perfectly legal.

    Now if it's her car, owned entirely by her then that's a different matter.

    Interesting though the affidavit pretty much covers any matter of sins. It basically says anything I say is likely untrue, but doesn't mention the GPS issue at all.

    It really was a brilliant plan, akin to entrapment on her part really but he turned it around. Pretty sweet.
  • Jun 15th, 2010 @ 8:53am

    Back to the lab

    Looks like I need to restart work on my e-voting system that would blow these clowns out of the water once & for all.

    Enough idiots designing systems just to make a buck from the government.
  • Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 9:09am

    Re: fraud

    "If they really believed the market didn't want it they wouldn't be making it, now would they."

    SawStop believes the market wants it. Not every manufacturer is in agreement.

    There's a difference.
  • Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 8:59am

    Re: Re: Really a watershed case, or...?


    It really has nothing to do with disliking inventors or patents. That's your red herring.

    The issue is having the patents abused. Thus is the case here. Nothing about patent law is intended to force the marketplace to implement your idea. You are not, by default, guaranteed to actually make money off of that patented idea. If the idea is so great, then it's up to you to sell it and get the market to agree it's great. Being forced into it isn't "public acceptance" or acknowledgment.

    In this case, there is no previously issued regulation which compels a table saw maker to include this SawStop technology. None whatsoever. I believe there might be some regulation regarding cutting guards for example, which all makers include to some degree.

    Whether Delta/Porter Cable or Jet or whomever else would decide to partner with SawStop to implement their patented technology is the choice of that company. Certainly they would have a unique marketing message to make there if they were, and if the marketplace honestly feels there is value in SawStop's technology.

    However, a jury ruling which essentially (as was already mentioned) creates guaranteed revenue for SawStop by either: a) rendering all other vendors open for lawsuit, or b) by creating a de facto requirement for licensing is completely and utterly in violation of the spirit and purpose of patent law.

    There is no defense for this action, and Ryobi should certainly appeal. As a 30 year user of table saws of various brands. SawStop technology's existence has been for only a scant few of those years. Personal responsibility should be the order of the day here, full stop. No woodworker, professional or hobbyist with any respect for the industry would file such a suit. Pathetic attempts at a money grab aren't part of properly implemented patent law.

    If there is to follow some sort of actual regulation, then SawStop's patent must be invalidated, or licensing must be at a fair price. If SawStop is going to win over business from the likes of Delta/PC or Jet, or any other major maker, it should be on market acceptance of their technology as superior, not a jury de facto mandate they pay extortionate prices to license a patent or get sued.

    One also should understand that the saw this fellow was using is most likely one of the "cheap" homeowner variety you can purchase for just a few hundred bucks at a local home center. This isn't even a "contractor" grade saw that runs $500 or so, and it certainly isn't a UniSaw type unit that can retail for several thousand dollars. Even SawStop's own units cost several grand.

    I certainly understand your passion for inventors and protection by patents however, where I think you fall short is in not understanding when and how they are abused. You seem to be of the opinion that it never happens, or that "any action necessary" is OK. As in anything balance is necessary.

    Certainly you cannot believe the type of activity we're seeing in this case is beneficial to patent holders or inventors?

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