Best Argument: Yes
Audience Favored: Yes (64%)
Will hurt far more than help
David Gewirtz: There can be no doubt that an Internet sales tax would be damaging to everyone: consumers, vendors, and even states. There are five key reasons.
One: in a tough economy, it doesn't make sense to force a 4- to 12-percent price increase on consumers. Two: tax revenue won't go up. Sales will simply go down. Jobs will be lost. Three: rather than more money going to local companies and state treasuries, people will simply spend less. Four: filing sales tax returns to thousands of individual jurisdictions will push small online retailers out of business. Five: many small online retailers are actually local stores, who will get further pushed out by large players like Amazon.
Bottom line: Taxing Internet sales will hurt far more than it will help. No one would benefit (not even Amazon). No one would win. It’s a bad idea.
Bring sales tax fairness to the Internet
Larry Seltzer: As a general rule, most people won't defend using tax law to advantage one business over its competitors. Yet this is a central feature of commerce today. Buy an item in the store down the street and you pay sales tax. Buy it from a business in another state and you may not have to. This is unfair to brick and mortar businesses and serves no valid policy objective.
Decades ago, the Supreme Court found that businesses couldn't be required to collect out-of-state sales taxes because it would be a complicated burden. This finding is obsolete. A system to make it easy for businesses engaging in interstate commerce to collect out-of-state sales taxes could be simple to use and little or no cost burden for the merchant.
You don't like the idea of raising taxes? Me either. But the fairness issue remains. Addressing it by creating a system in which all businesses are treated equally is the right thing to do.