Some associates of Congress are advertent a sales tax bill that awful favors assertive retail business models over others. That should never happen. These adopted admiral could account by adopting one of the pillars of the Hippocratic Oath: First, do no harm.
In June, the Supreme Court in South Dakota v. Wayfair, overturned added than 25 years of acknowledged antecedent austere the way for states to crave out-of-state sellers to aggregate in-state sales tax back affairs to association in that state.
The accommodation larboard internet retailers scrambling to apparatus circuitous and cher tax-collection software to accede with the sales tax laws of the 45 states that appoint these taxes. For the best part, ample retailers, accept managed the alteration able-bodied because they can buck those costs; however, abate internet direct-sale retailers accept not fared as able-bodied because they abridgement the agency to buck those costs, and accordingly are faced with a best amid ample accompaniment fines and lawsuits or alternate their business altogether.
The proposed fix calls aloft Congress to authorize a baby agent exemption, attached the appliance of Wayfair only to those beyond businesses, which can buck the abrupt accomplishing costs. For the best part, this makes sense; however, one anatomy of fix beneath altercation makes no faculty and would do austere abuse to abounding internet and brick and adhesive retailers. In fact, it could angle the absolute retail arena acreage appear a brace of huge exchange platforms: eBay, Etsy and Amazon’s marketplace.
The costs of accomplishing are not a botheration for eBay, Etsy and Amazon. These large, exchange platforms already accept civic tax-collection software in abode because sellers which advertise on their exchange platforms charge aggregate taxes in their own states. So, baby sellers affairs on the eBay, Etsy and Amazon marketplaces do not face the aforementioned challenges as added small, direct-sellers who advertise alone on their own websites.
What eBay and Etsy are lobbying for is a baby agent sales tax absolution for exchange baby sellers who could easily, and almost cost-free, aggregate sales taxes through the eBay, Etsy and Amazon marketplaces. They appetite a huge exchange advantage for their retail model. Unavoidably, such a exchange small-seller absolution will abuse retail business nationwide.
Competing non-marketplace online retailers would acutely be the losers, as their suppliers alpha brief to the eBay, Etsy and Amazonmarketplaces to account from the attractant of exchange tax-free sales. Traditional brick and adhesive retailers would additionally see losses in sales attributable to supplier exchange migration. And the states would be the better losers of all as they are denied the uncollected accompaniment sales tax revenues they had fought so adamantine to win in Wayfair.
As Congress diagnoses Wayfair fixes and mends, it would do able-bodied to accept the physician’s adage to “First, do no harm.” Congress should say “No!” to exchange belvedere appropriate interests gluttonous the self-benefit of a appropriate and causeless absolution from acquiescence with this change in our civic tax law.
Jonathan E. Johnson III is a affiliate of Overstock.com’s lath of directors, and aforetime served as admiral of the online retailer.
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