The United States Senate is set to vote on whether online retailers should be forced to charge sales tax on all purchases, regardless if the buyer lives in a state where the retailer has a physical location or not, according to a report from Cnet. As the laws stand now, retailers do not charge sales tax on purchases made in states where the company has no physical presence. Instead, the onus falls on buyers to claim said sales tax on their government tax forms each year.
Of course, the problem comes from the fact that almost no consumers actually claim these taxes. In fact, most people probably don't even realize that they are supposed to. On the other hand, pursuing every buyer who purchases something on Amazon or any other online retailer would be a massive venture for the government, one that would hardly be worth the time.
States are reportedly losing out on $23 billion in uncollected sales tax revenue, according to estimates from the National Conference of State Legislators. This makes it easy to see why an online sales tax law is so sought after, as that is a tremendous amount of money left on the table.
This bill being passed would obviously cost consumers a lot of money, but technically, it should be a moot point, as at least in theory it is money they should have paid at the end of the year anyway. Still, as you might expect, there is plenty of opposition to this law. Surprisingly, e-commerce giant Amazon is supporting the bill this time around, and eBay's opposition is much more subtle.
With Amazon not fighting the bill, it seems likely at this point that the Senate will vote this through, but the bill would still have to pass through the House of Representatives and the desk of the President before it actually becomes a law.