ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

OUR VIEW: Support online taxes to level the playing field

Brick-and-mortar businesses face plenty of troubles lately. Main Street -- and by Main Street, we mean typical, traditional business -- has enough on its plate as it fights continued battles against shifting populations and box-store giants.

264996+our-view.jpg

Brick-and-mortar businesses face plenty of troubles lately. Main Street -- and by Main Street, we mean typical, traditional business -- has enough on its plate as it fights continued battles against shifting populations and box-store giants.

But at least those enemies can be fought. What traditional, brick-and-mortar businesses can't do is wage a fair fight against online companies that are not required to charge sales taxes. It's a loophole that gives online stores a definite advantage in today's marketplace.

It's David vs. Goliath, but this time, Goliath is invisible and unreachable.

Finally, it seems somebody might do something about it.

Legislation that would force online retailers to collect sales tax is suddenly clearing hurdles in Congress. Opposition from years past seems to be waning.

ADVERTISEMENT

Early this week, the U.S. Senate voted 74-20 to put the Marketplace Fairness Act up for debate and amendment. If it passes the Senate and then the House, online retailers will be forced to collect sales tax -- perhaps as much as $24 billion, which would then be passed on to states.

This is what it means: If this bill passes, online retailers will have to charge those extra few pennies on the dollar -- the same sales tax we pay when we purchase something on Mitchell's Main Street.

And in case you didn't know it, we South Dakotans are currently expected to pay online taxes, on the honor system. We're not kidding -- if we make a purchase online and sales tax is not charged, we are supposed to remit the appropriate sales tax to the state Department of Revenue.

Of course, we don't know of anybody who ever has done that. Even U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., admitted recently to The Daily Republic that he doesn't do it.

Meanwhile, tax-free Internet commerce is costing South Dakota approximately $60 million per year in lost revenue. Money we spend is being sent to states like California, while our local businesses are being choked to death in a fight against an unseen opponent.

It just isn't fair.

We urge our congressional delegates to support the Marketplace Fairness Act, and we likewise urge readers to understand that this bill is meant to protect business and jobs here in South Dakota.

Related Topics: INTERNET
What To Read Next
During last winter (21-22) they should have let a lot more water go down the river all winter long. It might have prevented the flooding.
As things were, once we had paychecks in hand, we carved out money for rent, groceries, the laundromat and the Sunday collection plate.
They are more interested in furthering their political ambitions and what will benefit them and their future.
We have to discuss the principles upon which the future order of humanity can be built in order to be able to self-govern ourselves.