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Online retailers may have to charge sales tax if Senate vote passes

By Dave LeClair · 27 replies
May 6, 2013
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  1. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,507   +2,299

    Are you so self involved or oblivious that you think it will be difficult for ANY retailer, large or small, to have access to a national data base of retail sales tax rates?

    For God's sake, Google can return millions of results in a split second on almost any random query.

    Now, exactly how hard would it be to provide a data base of state and local tax rates, then cross index it with the buyer's shipping address and/or Zip Code?

    You could probably do that function free using SQLite for the data base software.

    Let's take Philadelphia PA as an example. First PA (the entire state) has a retail sales tax of 6%. Philadelphia has a 2% excise tax on top. If we've been following along, that means 8% would be added to your purchase.

    Now, the entire city of Philadelphia's Zip Code has the prefix "191". So every address in PA with that prefix (191), would be billed 8% sales tax.

    And look, I figured that out without the benefit of a server farm or data base.

    I'm reasonably sure that each sales tax collecting entity has a single address for its collections. and then we cross index.....
  2. cmbjive

    cmbjive TS Booster Posts: 777   +138

    I'm going to assume that you never studied tax law of any kind. It isn't just enough to know the rates, which can be changed at any time. Retailers will be required to understand the law and apply it accordingly.

    To use your example, here is the Pennsylvania Code as well as the sales and use tax guidelines:


    Mind you that isn't even including Philadelphia's sales tax laws (ironically, it is also one of the few cities that imposes an income tax).

    Additionally, it may be easy for US to pay the tax, but retailers are required to file sales and use tax returns with the various taxing authorities where they operate.

    It is not as cut and dry as you're making it out to be. Consumers only pay the percentage tax rate: But the businesses are burdened with collecting and filing those taxes. It is not just a simple change that these businesses will be expecting to make.
  3. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,507   +2,299

    Perhaps, but a quick perusal of the PA tax code tells me that many sections could be ignored en toto. (Like the part about building bridge foundations. When is the last time you had part of a highway delivered by UPS)?).

    If or when the dust settles, I see a massive opportunity for accounting firms to undertake this on behalf of small business. You hand your gross receipts to your accountant and he fires you up a percentage to disperse the funds.

    Certain items are going to be non taxable across the board. I freely admit I don't know tax codes nationwide, but I suspect that most food, clothing, and medicines are exempt in most, if not all states.

    In other words, I don't pay tax on milk in PA, and if I remember correctly, I don't in New Jersey either. And just so I don't post anything too silly, Wiki backs me up on that: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxation_in_New_Jersey

    Not to mention this crap hole of a mayor we have, tried to float five bucks a bag for trash pickup along with it.

    Now he's on to having the BRT go out and create imaginary, inflated real estate values on every building in the city. Got a burned out shell? it's gotta be worth fifty grand!

    And the school board is still broke. That's because every body collecting entitlements has a half dozen kids, and every body with a job has one or two

    But, even if the situation isn't a cut and dry as I say, it can still be developed into a complete data base, and these states with their hands out for taxes, should be made to cough up free licenses for the collection of such taxes. Put that in their """""" bill and pass it.

    And even if things such as foods are taxed in certain states, then since these states are crying for federal assistance, make it against the law to charge tax on retail foods shipped across state lines,. These useless mutts we have in DC need to do something for their constituents for a change.

    A >>compromise< uniform code for collecting state taxes across states lines. That's why we have a "Feceral Government", isn't it?

    (Yeah, I know that should be "Federal", but the typo I s funnier, so I left it in).

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