Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Will More States Try to Collect Sales Tax from Online Purchases?

We all know that this economy has been tough on states. In fact, if you know someone who works for a state, give them a hug. They probably need one. Unlike the federal government, states can't deficit spend or print their own money. So when their revenues are down, they cut expenditures (often services) and try to find new sources of revenue. Not surprisingly, some states have looked at ways of taxing online purchases.

I love shopping online. I don't have to get in my car and drive someplace, I can shop in my pajamas and slippers, I can read reviews and find exactly what I need without spending hours schlepping myself to half a dozen stores, and I can usually find a good deal. A bonus to me is that often when I purchase a book for myself or a new shirt for my husband, I don't have to pay sales tax at the time of purchase (although Kansas does ask that I pay taxes on such purchases when I file every year). I love that. To me, it justifies the expense of shipping, especially because in my neck of Kansas I pay more than 7% in sales tax when I get in my car and drive someplace to shop.

But I realize that this sales-tax-avoiding (or delaying) perk might be coming to an end. Read here what Colorado, our great neighbor along I-70, is trying to do. With states having to cut spending on essential services like education, transportation, and social services, I can't really say that I blame them. What do you think?

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