Taxing Internet sales

The following editorial appeared in The Exponent Telegram, Clarksburg, on Sept. 9:

Let’s be honest: No one likes to pay taxes.

The idea that a person or company’s hard-earned money needs to be turned over to another party is a difficult concept to swallow.

But so is the absence of vital services like police and fire protection, safe highways and other services provided by local, state and federal agencies.

Without taxes, none of those services would be available at the levels they currently are.

Which brings us to efforts by state and federal officials to address what has long been clamored for: Fair taxation.

Obviously, the definition of fair can be disputed by the parties involved. And there are instances when refining the tax codes will need to be argued and debated at length.

But there are clear situations that need to be addressed — and can be addressed in more expedient fashion than rewriting the entire state and federal tax code.

One such issue deals with the taxation of sales conducted using the Internet, which has been a major sticking point for lawmakers and companies.

Currently, it is estimated that states and local governments lose $23 billion per year because not all Internet sales are taxed, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported.

There is growing support to address the issue through the Marketplace Fairness Act.

The act basically states what is already well known: “A sale is a sale” and should be subject to tax laws already in place in states.

The act calls for states to simplify their taxation of sales or to join the streamlined sales and use tax agreement. This would allow for easy collection of the taxes owed by individuals and companies.

The Marketplace Fairness Act has support from 24 states and various companies, including Amazon.

And with Internet sales only expected to grow, it’s senseless not to address this issue immediately.

We believe our state and federal lawmakers should be staunch supporters of the initiative


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