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Editorials | North Carolina is entitled to sales tax, not customer purchase records | Seattle Times Newspaper

November 8, 2010

Editorials | North Carolina is entitled to sales tax, not customer purchase records | Seattle Times Newspaper.

Good editorial and I agree with the sentiments.  But it misses a key point:  Sales tax in the US is almost impossible to figure out for anyone smaller than Amazon.com.  By allowing every county and municipality to set their own tax rates we’ve created a system that requires a database of what tax is paid at every address.  The zip code isn’t granular enough and neither is the city or town — often taxes are applied unequally across a jurisdiction. 

I agree that e-tailers should not be exempt from tax.  But I’ve helped my wife (who’s home-based craft business definitely counts as “small”) figure this out and it is complex.  If she got much larger she’d have to hire a service to do it for her… adding to her costs and potentially making the business unprofitable. 

The idea of an “internet sales tax” is a good one.  Charge a flat rate, remit amounts to the delivery address state, and let the states figure it out.  Yes their costs will be higher… but they’re the ones earning extra revenue.  And if I’ve learned anything through the years, it’s that revenue-collection teams tend to be very good at their jobs. :)

Of course we’ll have to figure out a rate… but that’s not insurmountable.

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