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Post Partisan
Posted at 04:48 PM ET, 07/16/2012

PostScript: Editorial on Amazon loophole

Happy Monday in July, folks! PostScript is thrilled to get to talk today about an issue very near and dear to her heart: online sales-tax avoidance. Today The Post Editorial Board opined in favor of a proposed law changing the way state and local taxes are charged on Internet purchases. They’d be charged automatically to the consumer at the time of the purchase and sent to the appropriate local, state, city, etc. government.

PostScript is happy about this. Frankly, she is tired of being the only person in existence who carefully keeps track of all her online shopping (which is not otherwise directly taxed because of a legal loophole) and then submits a list thereof to her various local governments and writes them a check for the amount she herself has calculated she owes. Because it is The Right Thing to Do.

Okay, obviously. Nobody would bother to do that. That’s absurd.

Wait, what? That’s ACTUALLY THE CURRENT LAW?

SMS45 says yes:

This is definitely not a tax increase. It is merely enforcement of existing state tax laws. If I buy a 65” flat screen TV on the Internet from a seller in NYC who has no nexus in Florida, I am still required by Florida statute to pay sales tax to the Florida Department of Revenue. Does the FDR have a record of the purchase? NO! Am I likely to voluntarily fork over the $300 plus sales tax to the state? NOT LIKELY! Obviously, what is going on is sales tax evasion.

. . . wh . . . I mean . . . WHAT?

R. David L. Campbell also says this is current law:

When remote retailers fail to collect sales tax due, most citizens fail to voluntarily report and remit the tax due — and this behavior is generally not their fault. Most citizens expect that if sales tax is due, it is collected at the time of sale, just like it is collected today at their corner store.
Sadly, this misunderstanding has millions of consumers unknowingly committing tax evasion — this is bad public policy. The States do not have the power to fix this situation on their own — they need Congress to recognize this issue and allow the States the option to correct.

Erm. Obviously PostScript obeys all laws, even the stupid ones. So if this is really, legally, her responsibility, she has always done this and just forgot.

PostScript means, though, REALLY?

Dona Dunsmore knows all about it:

I live in a very rural area. It’s 70 miles to shopping for books, and many things our small town just doesn’t have. I don’t mind paying the tax. When I lived in Colorado, the mail order company sent a form that I could send to the state with the sales tax.

Well. Well. PostScript obviously never engages in online shopping — she makes her own Amazon Instant Video episodes of Breaking Bad, out of hemp — but she feels extremely sorry for the people who had no frickin idea this is what they were supposed to be doing.

And this isn’t the only civic responsibility persons similar to PostScript might be dodging. Jaygatsby27 has been buying presents for the local police department!

That’s the money I’m spending on speed cameras at the moment.

PostScript knew we’re supposed to be doing that.

Robo volunteers to pay extra taxes:

Voluntary taxes are what’s needed and the only thing that will rein in the federal beast.

PostScript is in awe of Robo’s patriotism and wonders if you can buy some like that in this municipality.

By Rachel Manteuffel  |  04:48 PM ET, 07/16/2012

 
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