States seek to impose sales tax on e-commerce

SC lawmaker wants to get a piece of eBay, Amazon's action, hopes that Democratic Congress will be willing to change the law.
Written by Richard Koman, Contributor

All that money flowing through eBay and Amazon and so little of it is taxed. In a growing movement, state legislators want to find a way to tax that revenue, reports the Charleston Daily Mail.

Delegate John Doyle, a Democrat, who serves as second vice president of the national Streamlined Sales Tax Project executive committee, is looking into ways to implement a cyber-shoppers sales tax. He believes now that Congress is controlled by Democrats, there is a greater chance that a cyber tax law could pass.

As it stands now, most Internet shopping sites do not include state sales tax in the final cost of a purchase unless a buyer lives in a state where a store is physically located. Catalogs, however, are subject to the same 6 percent tax charged by other retailers.

Requiring Internet retailers such as eBay and Amazon.com to pay a cyber-shoppers sales tax won't be easy, as there are no real legal guidelines in place to enforce retailers to charge a state sales tax.

One study conducted by the University of Tennessee found that state and local governments nationwide lost up to $16.1 billion in 2003.

Already, more than 1,000 nationwide retailers already have volunteered through the multi-state Streamlined Sales Tax Project to collect states' sales taxes from online and mail-order transactions.

Editorial standards