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The Retail Association of Maine recently came out in support of a South Dakota lawsuit filed against Boston-based online home goods retailer Wayfair and similar companies that asks the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit a 1992 court case allowing retailers to be exempt from collecting sales taxes on behalf of states in which they have "no physical presence." The association estimates that Maine loses more than $40 million in sales tax each year to online retailers that are exempt from collecting it under the 1992 ruling. It also says the exemption gives online retailers an unfair competitive advantage over Main Street brick-and-mortar retailers. But small-business owners who sell goods online say registering and keeping track of taxes for every state in which they make sales is too burdensome and would be impossible to manage. They also say consumers, ultimately, are responsible for reporting online tax-free purchases and paying an individual use tax that's equivalent to the sales tax rate.
Should online retailers continue to be exempt from collecting sales taxes on behalf of states in which they have "no physical presence"?
Comments

03/15/18 AT 12:36 PM
It would go a long way in leveling the playing field to give local businesses a chance to compete with the online e-tailers.

03/15/18 AT 12:11 PM
Yes, I am willing to collect Maine sales tax on every order and if Maine wants to give it to Texas who has 18 different City, County and State income taxes so be it. Also remember people are supposed to pay "use"

03/14/18 AT 04:20 PM
With the computerized economy, especially online retail sales, collecting and paying sales tax would be an added burden; but we should not exempt them from paying it and thereby equalizing the playing field with local small businesses.

03/14/18 AT 04:19 PM
It is a sales and use tax. The goods purchased online are subject to the use tax but it cannot be collected because the buyers don't even think they owe it. As modalities of commerce change so must the modalities of taxation. The government haters and the tax haters will have their predictable objections to every tax but if it's not a sales and use tax it will have to be an income tax or a property tax or some tax. You know, so DHHS will have enough child protective workers so no more kids get beaten to death in their own homes.

jebswebs

Augusta
03/14/18 AT 02:44 PM
I thought this had already been resolved.

03/14/18 AT 02:44 PM
Times have changed! They need to collect sales tax!

03/14/18 AT 01:33 PM
I think they should be exempt from tracking sales tax for every state because it would be too cumbersome. But maybe they could pay a certain fee to each state in which they do business based on their gross sales.

03/14/18 AT 01:22 PM
This so called 'advantage' is off set by shipping costs.

03/14/18 AT 12:40 PM
Can we please stop imposing rules that will make it hard or impossible for small businesses to operate in this state?? As if it wouldn't be hard enough for them to keep track of it all, once they are sending in returns, the time to go through a sales tax audit would throw them over the edge. Support small businesses and let it alone.

03/14/18 AT 12:20 PM
No physical presence, no strain on state resources, no tax.
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