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Should You Pay Tax When You Buy Online?

A bill to let states impose sales tax on big online retailers passed the U.S. Senate Monday. Minnesota Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken voted for the Marketplace Fairness Act, as did many Republicans.

Why should online shoppers pay sales tax? Why or why not? Leave a comment below.

You could pay the same sales tax for online purchases as you do for shopping at a physical store if a bill that passed the U.S. Senate Monday becomes law.

The Marketplace Fairness Act would allow states to collect sales tax from retailers with more than $1 million in annual gross sales to out-of-state customers. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken (both DFL-MN) voted yes, joined by 67 other senators including 21 Republicans.

Minnesota Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans praised the Senate action in a press release:

"This legislation levels the playing field for all those Main Street businesses in Minnesota and across the country. It also helps large retailers like Best Buy and Target that serve as 'showrooms' for shoppers who test products at local stores then buy them online without paying sales tax."

Also backing the online tax are owners of smaller businesses—such as Roberta Bonoff (pictured), president of Creative Kidstuff, with stores in Maple Grove, Southwest Minneapolis, Edina, Wayzata, St. Louis Park and St. Paul.

But collecting taxes for 50 states would be "a nightmare," one online retailer told NPR

"Something gets exchanged and it's sent to another state. Then we have to figure out how to refund the taxes from the first state, collect our refund from that state, then charge the customer the new tax."

Should you pay tax for what you buy online? Why or why not? Leave a comment below.

Nick May 20, 2013 at 06:57 PM
Actually, a great number of online companies are small businesses here in America. Amazon Marketplace is mostly small businesses, and there is Ebay, as well as many, many small businesses that sell through their own websites. It is much easier for an entrepreneur to start an online business as opposed to a brick-and-mortar business because of the very low overhead and the dropshipping that they do allows them to have no warehouse and to not buy any stock they haven't already sold.
mike savick May 23, 2013 at 03:50 PM
The new practice is to go to a local vendor, view the product & take the sales staff's time and then buy on the internet. The local business sthe internet show room. How well does that work for small businesses?
Nick May 23, 2013 at 05:09 PM
That is a form of theft and it is morally wrong. It can't possibly be made illegal, but being that most people nowadays seem to be sociopathic little narcissists, I'm not surprised they don't realize or don't care what they are doing.
J.P. June 03, 2013 at 10:48 PM
I don't do a lot of internet shopping, but some of my recent purchases have been taxed by online businesses that are outside of my state. It can be done.
Mike B. June 24, 2013 at 08:59 PM
The system wouldn't be "out of whack" except for the fact that Democrats and liberals will go to a retail store, see a product, then buy off the internet. Why? Because Democrats and liberals have no idea of how free enterprise and the challenges of the small businessman.

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