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MMD > Archives > August 2001 > 2001.08.11 > 03Prev  Next

Collecting State Sales Tax on E-Commerce
By John A. Tuttle

Hi All,  It looks like the issue of collecting taxes on Internet
sales is going to get to Congress pretty soon.  As some of you may
know, the payment of a sales tax [on an Internet transaction] is the
responsibility of the person making the purchase.

In some states, the collection of the sales tax is an integral part
of doing business in that state.  However, at present it is not the
responsibility of the business owner to collect state sales taxes
unless that business has operations in that particular state.

In other words, if I operate a business in New Jersey and make a sale
to a person in Montana, I'm not required by law to collect the sales
tax (if Montana has one).  What is required by law is that the person
receiving the goods is required to pay what's known as a Use Tax.
(Those who prepare their own state income tax returns know about
this tax.)

The reason for this posting is not to debate the issue of whether
or not e-commerce businesses should be required to collect taxes for
states other than the one where the business is located.  The purpose
of this posting is to let you know that there is a place where you can
go and voice your opinion.  Once you vote (either Yes or No), your
vote, along with thousands of others, will be sent directly to the
President, your Senators, and your Congressman.

To vote on this very important issue, which concerns everyone who
buys or sells items via the Internet, go to

(By the way, for those who are concerned about privacy, the only
identifying information you're required to submit is your email
address, and, if you want, your Zip Code -- so your vote can be
sent to your Senators and Congressman.)


John A. Tuttle

 [ The web site says:  "Though 'remote sellers' aren't required to
 [ collect [state] sales taxes, buyers are technically required to pay
 [ these taxes directly to the state.  Since few consumers actually do
 [ so, states are losing billions and on-line merchants have an unfair
 [ pricing advantage."
 [ Thus the battle lines are drawn: the Internet merchants versus the
 [ states and the non-Internet merchants.  Usually the states raise
 [ an uproar when the federal government mentions sales tax, but now
 [ it seems that the states want the feds to help collect their taxes.
 [ It will be an interesting battle, with lots of political smoke.
 [ -- Robbie

(Message sent Sat 11 Aug 2001, 13:27:32 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Collecting, E-Commerce, Sales, State, Tax

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