Senate to Vote on Internet Tax Proposal this Week

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Thank you to CNET for keeping us informed on tech and Congress. Earlier this week it was law enforcement and text messages. Today it’s Internet taxes.

According to the story:

Sens. Mike Enzi (R-Wy.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) are expected to offer an amendment to a Democratic budget resolution this week that, by allowing states to “collect taxes on remote sales,” is intended to usher in the first national Internet sales tax.

Assuming it passes and gets through the House of Representatives, it looks like we’ll be paying sales tax on our Internet purchases. However, don’t despair yet. Congress, as usual, is playing games, and those games could backfire. According to the CNET story:

Enzi and Durbin sponsored the separate Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 (S.336), introduced last month, which has 25 other Senate supporters and would authorize state governments to collect taxes from remote sellers with more than $1 million in gross receipts.

The Enzi-Durbin amendment takes a similar approach, but lacks mandatory simplification and is non-binding. It appears to be intended as a clever political hack: secure plenty of votes on a non-binding Internet tax amendment, then use those vote totals to argue there’s sufficient support for S.336 when it’s up for a binding vote later.

Sneaky, isn’t it? As always, you can reach out to your Congresspeople and make your feelings known. However, I think taxes on Internet purchases are inevitable. Well, okay, we are already supposed to pay taxes on our purchase, but most of us don’t. So I guess it’s more accurate to say that collection of Internet sales taxes are inevitable.

And I’m not sure it’s a bad thing in the long run. Annoying, yes, but it really is the right thing to encourage business in our local brick and mortar stores. As much as I enjoy the convenience of online shopping, I would miss my local Best Buy if Amazon completely drove them out of business. Just like I sometimes miss our old tradition of the weekend browse at Borders.

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