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Our view: Speed up online sales taxes

THE FIRST AMENDMENT

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Updated: January 27, 2013 6:03AM



Just about a year ago, when Indiana
Gov. Mitch Daniels sealed a sweetheart deal with online sales giant Amazon.com that let that company delay collecting
sales tax until 2014, many complained about two more years of no tax revenues for
Indiana from that merchant and others
similar to it.

The reason for the complaint: The deal gives an unfair business advantage to online commerce over what have popularly come to be called brick-and-mortar locations in malls and storefronts.

The advantage specifically is 7 percent — the amount of sales tax Indiana merchants are required to collect on in-person transactions and remit to the state.

Funds from those tax collections are then returned to local communities to provide needed services. One estimate is that between $75 million and $125 million is being lost each year from online transactions.

Heretofore, online merchants have not been required to collect sales tax from sales to Hoosiers. By law, consumers are supposed to pay the state the 7-percent sales tax on online sales — but that rarely happens. The Daniels-Amazon agreement will make that happen.

But now the Indiana Merchants for Tax Fairness Collection wants it to happen faster — on July 1, 2013, rather than in 2014. The group made that announcement on Cyber Monday, when it urged the General Assembly to pass legislation to accelerate the tax collections by six months to get money flowing into state coffers that much sooner.

Indiana House of Representatives members Tom Dermot, R-Laborite, and Ed Delaney, D-Indianapolis, plan to introduce a bill to speed up the clock on the issue. Sounds like bipartisan support.

And we can see no reason not to move on the issue quickly when the Legislature gets into the swing of things early next year.

(Terre Haute) Tribune-Star



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