AFP Led Coalition Releases Letter to Legislators on Internet Sales Tax

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AFP Led Coalition Releases Letter to Legislators on Internet Sales Tax
23 Conservative Organizations Tell Lawmakers: Don’t Tax The Internet

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Today Americans for Prosperity and a broad-based coalition of 23 conservative organizations are releasing a letter to lawmakers urging legislators to oppose the plan to force retailers to collect sales taxes on internet sales.

Americans for Prosperity is joined in signing the letter by Americans for Tax Reform, FreedomWorks, National Taxpayers Union, R Street Institute and 18 other free market organizations.

READ THE COALITION LETTER HERE

AFP-South Dakota State Director Ben Lee had the following to say:

“Our coalition letter today shows that taxing internet sales is not the conservative way forward for our state. Online sales began more than 30 years ago and after all these years, starting to collect taxes now would certainly feel like a tax increase to most people.”

“The bill picks winners and losers by favoring big businesses and online conglomerates who have the lawyers, lobbyists and resources to comply — against the small businesses, mom-n-pop’s and individual sellers who do not. If passed nationwide, the bill would require small businesses to comply with more than 9,000 tax codes while their brick-and-mortar counterparts would only have to comply with 1. Legislators should stand together to put an end to this proposal before it goes any further.”

The group said it will continue educating the public and engaging lawmakers on the issue. Its grassroots army of in-state volunteers and activists will continue writing letters to legislators, calling their representatives, and educating their neighbors about the impact of this proposal.

48 thoughts on “AFP Led Coalition Releases Letter to Legislators on Internet Sales Tax

  1. crossgrain

    Bullsh!t. As a “mom and pop” myself, I get riled when customers can go online and buy something for 6% less because they don’t have to pay sales tax. Plus those dollars for the item go out of state, never to return. Picking winners and losers? Yeah. Pick Amazon to win, Main Street to lose.

    Here at AFP, it’s in our interest to have you vote against yours!

    1. Anonymous

      Innovate, lazy arse.

      Do what you do BETTER.

      If not, stop bitchin and find something else to do.

        1. Anonymous

          I am happy about that.

          Businesses come & go–always have, always will.

          Say business genius, why not innovate your livery stable into something people want and will flock to?

          Better yet, develop an online presence, so as to better serve your customers?

          Nah! Too much work, right? MAKE the customer come to you in Podunk,. SD for their buggy and whip needs, right? Better yet, get government to tax everyone else to support your livery stable, right?

          1. crossgrain

            Talking out of your butt is what happens when you’re born with vocal chords where your intestines should have been.

            Please explain how online retailers can “exempt” themselves from sales tax, while main street cannot, and in what sort of bizzaro world that would make any sense to begin with. “It’s too hard to implement” is a BS excuse, since obviously you expect Mom and Pop Lintpockets to innovate INSTEAD of Uncle Amazon Moneybags.

            Anyhoo, I’ve provided dozens of living wage jobs for your friends and neighbors right here in Podunk, SD for over 25 years, all the while innovating, working harder, and offering better products and services than the next guy… but yeah, you go ahead and listen to the bedtime stories AFP tells you so you can sleep at night.

            1. Anonymous

              –Talking out of your butt is what happens when you’re born with vocal chords where your intestines should have been.

              Classy, hairbrained, classy.

              –and in what sort of bizzaro world that would make any sense to begin with

              Well legal genius, because states do not have taxing authority on sales transactions that occur outside their states. Law 101. Sovereignty 101. High school civics.

              –, and offering better products and services than the next guy

              Obviously not, as all your whining leads to the conclusion that you don’t think you can compete with Wal Marts and Amazons. You’re a livery stable in the 21st century wanting jet airliners to subsidize your laziness. Either die or get with the program, genius.

              –AFP tells you

              I’ve never read an AFP release.

              1. crossgrain

                Oh god. You’re one of those goofy libertarians that don’t think the gov’t has legal authority tax people. I think we’re done here.

                1. Anonymous

                  What?

                  Can you read?

                  States have plenary power to tax transactions that occur within its borders, or on transactions that have a nexus to the states.

                  Never claimed otherwise. loony bird.

    2. Anonymous

      –buy something for 6% less because they don’t have to pay sales tax.

      Typically, that 6% “savings” is eaten up by shipping charges; regardless, the shipping is part of the sale price.

      That shipping charge funds the salaries of 1000s of truck drivers, mechanics, gas station attendants, truck dealers and on and on. So, you want to put them out of business just to save your livery stable–what a selfish sob.

      1. crossgrain

        Yeah, dumbass. Because the products I sell just magically grow on trees out back of my store. I don’t need them to be manufactured or shipped here.

        1. Anonymous

          Why do you want the customer to support your livery stable?

          Why do you want to put shippers & mechanics and fuel suppliers out of work just so that you can “survive”?

          1. crossgrain

            Why do I want customers to support me? Seriously? So Amazon doesn’t rely on customers, too? Only Mom and Pop?

            And why would shippers and mechanics go out of business? As my sarcastic comments above should have indicated easily, shippers and mechanics rely on my business and thousands of other mom-and-pops as well. FedEx and UPS stop here daily, along with semi-regular bulk freight haulers.

            Or is it that in your bizzaro world you think everyone should work for Amazon?

  2. PorterLansing

    Apparently The Koch Bros. AFP aren’t against the tax. The brothers are against the “feel” of the tax. Even “Jackrabbit Logic” would determine that a repeal of the sales tax on groceries would be favored by Americans For Prosperity. PS…there are 55 countries that call themselves American and they’re just as American as USA.

  3. Troy Jones

    I have never understood the argument of the proponents of the Internet tax. If this isn’t a tax increase shrouded by a call to equity, why is it never accompanied by a sales tax cut?

    Idea: how about we tax internet sales and increase the sales tax say .002 cents for teacher salaries instead of not taxing out Internet sales and the crazy .005 increase for six months.

    1. Anonymous

      Troy,
      By law you and everyone else are supposed to be remitting your online sales taxes to the state right now. This is not imposing a new tax on anyone; it’s simply requiring the online retailers to collect it.
      Also AFP, do you really think that this is a half baked idea that leaves mom and pop hanging without direction? Years and years of work have been done to “streamline” this process along with software that calculates the amount for them and free from miscalculation audits. And for their trouble they receive a collection which stipend which was also added to our in state retailers for the hassle of collecting the tax for the government.
      AFP-another sham organization ran by self-interested millionaires and billionaires!

      1. Anonymous

        –This is not imposing a new tax on anyone; it’s simply requiring the online retailers to collect it

        Then let’s force EVERY retailer to collect it, including crossgrain’s out-of-state customers.

        Imagine it: you go to Nebraska, buy some groceries (where the is no sales tax on food), but Wal Mart tacks on 6.5% SD sales tax based on the billing address of your credit card.

        If you want online retailers to collect sales/use tax, then ALL retailers should collect the use tax including the local “brick & mortar”. Btw ,the use tax also includes DIFFERENCES in sales tax rates between municipalities and counties and states where the goods are purchased and where they’re used–imagine the ten-of-thousands of different rates for the use tax? NO mom pop brick & mortar could afford such software, so the effect would be to put them out of business.

        Is that what you want?

        1. Anonymous

          We are referring to sales tax here. Nowhere in the streamlines sales tax legislation does it deal with use tax. I also support the software be paid for by the states. They will have a huge increase in tax revenue, they can afford to give it away.
          Use tax in my opinion should be done away with, its the ugliest tax we have in SD.
          The current legislation also exempts internet companies with gross sales of less than one million which takes care of the moms and pops of the internet i.e.Ebay and Etsy users, Grandma’s Best Jams.

          1. Anonymous

            Well no.

            One cannot collect a “sales tax” on transactions that occur outside the jurisdiction.

            What is being proposed is a USE tax (although it’s often described as a “sales tax”, and the effect is the same on the consumer) to be collected by internet retailers. The tax collected by the internet retailer is to be returned to the states or taxing authority as a USE tax.

            –Use tax in my opinion should be done away with, its the ugliest tax we have in SD.

            It certainly needs to be as low as possible.

            1. Anonymous

              I beg to differ and so does the Department of Revenue. You click and it ships to your door and by the sst act and current law, where you take possession is the effective rate. If I buy furniture in Sioux Falls and have it delivered to the country in Davidson county, it’s taxed at 4% even though I paid for it in SF.

              1. Anonymous

                Not quite.

                The SD DOR claims that the use tax covers situations where the sales tax rate of the purchase location is less than the use location (in SD), and that the possessor owes the difference as a use tax.

                In other words, to the SD DOR, it does not matter where the item is purchased: if it is used in SD, you owe the sales tax rate in SD including any municipal sales tax, OR the difference in the sales tax rates between the purchase location (in or out of SD) and the SD use location IF the rate is less at the purchase location.

                Got it?

  4. grudznick

    Mr. Jones, as purchases shift more and more to the internet are not more things being bought without tax when they used to be bought with tax when nothing was bought on the internet? Soon, when the drones are bringing us everything from our fancy watch computers there will be no sales tax at all and then what will the teachers do?

  5. Anonymous

    Who is the AFP really representing? Divert more sales tax dollars out of the state and hasten the demise of what remains of Main Street businesses. Nothing but greed to see here folks, move along.

  6. Rlm

    Well, not paying use tax feels good. So, sure, having to pay it does “feel” like a tax increase. Get over it wimps. We have all felt to good way to long.

    How in hell do you think Amazon built their customer base. They pushed back for years until they had a large, loyal base of customers that got used to the convenience, then started charging sales tax.

    1. Anonymous

      Do you understand that Amazon has no objection to collecting a use/sales tax on every purchase? Gee, why is that?

      Because with 1000s of different sales/use taxes nationwide, Amazon (and the other big internet retailers) know that small time internet retailers cannot afford the software and updates required to collect that sales/use tax–it will drive mom & pops online retailers out of business!

      An internet sales tax would be a KILLER of small businesses on the internet, many of them with storefronts in SD.

  7. crossgrain

    It also needs to be pointed out that there are plenty of software solutions out there for Mom and Pop OnlineRetailer to collect sales tax nationwide at very affordable rates. The argument that’s being made that this software will somehow bankrupt Mom and Pop is ignorant in the extreme. Would you try to put forth that same argument that every main street business has to design, develop, and employ their own accounting software? Their own shipping software? Their own workflow/order management software? Their own spreadsheets, email, and word processing software? Their own online shopping carts? This stuff is all available at reasonable cost. So for every QuickBooks, UPS Worldship, X-Cart, Shopify, Outlook, Thunderbird, OpenOffice, and Excel for running your business, there’s internet sales tax software like TaxCloud and AccurateTax out there at very affordable rates.

    To say this is somehow going to shut down main street business is ignorant and outright lies. So which is it? Are you stupid or just full of crap?

  8. Anonymous

    NONE of that software addresses the issue of collecting use taxes.

    Are you too stupid to know that?

    1. crossgrain

      Wouldn’t be any harder to implement. TaxCloud (who we use, and it’s FREE!) is building out use tax as we speak.

      I think it’s time you admit you’re not up to speed on business sales tax collection. Can’t wait for you to start pontificating on payroll taxes, accounting practices, and supply chain management. You have the mindset of an employee – not that there’s anything wrong with that, but don’t pretend you understand what it actually takes to run a successful business. You have no idea.

      1. Anonymous

        Thank you for conceding that there is no software for the collection of use taxes.

        –TaxCloud (who we use, and it’s FREE!) is building out use tax as we speak.

        I don’t see that TaxCloud is doing any such thing–I suspect you just made it up that claim. TaxCloud has been supporting SSUTA, so there would be no need to collect use taxes.

        You of course, have the entitlement mindset of “gimme mine, screw everyone else”–you have no idea what it takes to keep ahead of the curve, and I doubt you have the business acumen to work that hard.

        Can’t wait for more personal insults, business genius!

        1. crossgrain

          Oh for… NOW we’re talking semantics? Jesus. The SSUTA covers that, FFS (see that U in there?). TaxCloud sends regular updates, and have been forthright about the difference between sales and use tax, though the agreement does indeed treat s/u as rather the same thing.

          Since you’ve been forced to abandon your earlier assertion that this would somehow bankrupt main street, what exactly are you arguing against?

          1. Anonymous

            — The SSUTA covers that,

            No it does not and if you truly were in business, you ‘d know that. Use taxes are so convoluted that even the SSUTA folks wouldn’t touch it. SSUTA simply ignores reforming & collecting use taxes in favor of a simplified and uniform sales tax collection regimen. TaxCloud mirrors that regimen. TaxCloud has NO plans to integrate use taxes into its software–you simply lied about it.

            –Since you’ve been forced to abandon your earlier assertion that this would somehow bankrupt main street,
            –what exactly are you arguing against?

            Certainly not arguing against your odd reading of what I wrote. Never said anything about “bankrupting main street”.

            Look folks, I’ve tried. This guy is on some warpath against all those evil internet retailers that he blames for the sad predicament at his livery stable. He does not understand use taxes v. sales taxes. He does not want to innovate. He does not want consumer choice.

            Grow up, snowflake.

            Nice try though…care to fly off on another handle?

            1. crossgrain

              “An internet sales tax would be a KILLER of small businesses on the internet, many of them with storefronts in SD.

              Oops. I must have read your above assertion to mean exactly what it says. Silly me. I should have anticipated you’d move the goalposts… again… and again, I think we’re done here.

              1. Anonymous

                –somehow bankrupt main street,

                –An internet sales tax would be a KILLER of small businesses on the internet, many of them with storefronts in SD.

                Small biz on the internet, MANY of them with storefronts is not “bankrupting mainstreet”.

                Only when you’re a raging maniac does “many storefronts” become “bankrupting mainstreet”.

                But, such rage is understandable when you were caught lying (TaxCloud… is building out use tax as we speak.”)

                1. crossgrain

                  You’re killin’ me, Smalls.

                  Since we’re on the subject of lies, care to expound on your whopper about the loss of truck driver and mechanic jobs since businesses like mine obviously don’t ever send or receive freight and our products just magically appear out of thin air? Or are you going to move the goalposts yet again?

                  1. Anonymous

                    –Since we’re on the subject of lies, care to expound on your whopper about the loss of truck driver and mechanic jobs since businesses like mine obviously don’t ever send or receive freight and our products just magically appear out of thin air?

                    One cannot “lie” about events that have not yet occurred. I PREDICTED that a tax on internet sales would result in fewer jobs in the transportation area. I could be “wrong” but not a “liar”, logically speaking (but that’s a foreign language to you)

                    -Or are you going to move the goalposts yet again?

                    No, I’ve learned to kick winners at wherever you place your raging goalposts.

                    — I think we’re done here.

                    –again… and again, I think we’re done here.

                    Lotta thinking about being done, but not yet done!
                    Aren’t those lies too?

  9. Troy Jones

    There are good arguments for having sales taxes collected by internet retailers and there are good arguments for not doing so. These are not good arguments:

    1) “An internet sales tax would be a KILLER of small businesses on the internet, many of them with storefronts in SD.” If a business can afford to put up a website, they can certainly afford the add-on to collect sales tax. And, if they are a storefront, they already collect sales tax, do payroll. The incremental work is nothing compared to what Obamacare compliance did to them.

    2) Allowing internet sales to be untaxed places local stores at an economic disadvantage. To very large degree, these are two distinct markets. What I buy locally is done because of one type of convenience (I don’t have to plan and i can touch-feel) and what I buy on the internet is done because of another type of convenience (I don’t have to leave my home and it is delivered to my door). Making the decision over a 6% tax discounts the respective conveniences.

    I would be inclined to support taxing all internet sales except AFP is right as it “would certainly feel like a tax increase” because it is a tax increase as it is never accompanied by tax relief someplace else.

    1. Bill Fleming

      Troy, I think it’s more like collecting the taxes that are actually due but not being collected. According to the State, use tax is due on all the items you buy online. It’s just that they’re not auditing people to make sure they’re paying it (too expensive?). So it’s not really a tax increase, is it? Just a different, less voluntary 😉 way of collecting taxes that are currently due.

  10. Anonymous

    This statement is not accurate, and thus, not a good argument.

    “According to the State, use tax is due on all the items you buy online.”

    A use tax is due on goods & services purchased in one taxing jurisdiction and used or installed in another jurisdiction, and where the applicable sales tax rates differ.

    A use tax is not due on goods purchased and consumed or installed in the same taxing jurisdiction. For example, if I buy potato chips in NE (no sales tax due), and consume them in NE, I owe no use tax to SD (nor does the seller of those chips). Another example: No use tax is due to SD if a SD resident purchases construction equipment used in NE only. So no, internet retailers are not obliged (never have been by US Sup Ct ruling) to collect use taxes (or sales) taxes on items purchased and used in foreign taxing jurisdictions.

    Online sales: if a SD online retailer sells goods to a SD resident in SF, but only charges a 4% tax (the STATE rate), a use tax of 2.5% (the municipality’s added sales tax) is supposed to be paid by the SF consumer.

    It is nice to have Bill back, although he’s probably been here all along.

    1. Bill Fleming

      Yes, my note was admittedly sketchy. Per your example, if I were to buy a bag of Doritos online in some state where they’re not taxable, and then drive to that state and eat them, I wouldn’t really feel overwhelmingly obliged to send in any use tax. 😉

      1. Anonymous

        That’s the stupidity of the use tax, and thus…

        the retort that this proposed “internet sales tax” is a tax that’s already on place and thus it’s not a “new tax”–an absurdity based on a convoluted and rarely collected use tax.

  11. Anonymous

    It has been posited her that SD businesses with an internet presence can easily purchase and maintain the tools to collected nationwide internet sales taxes. Besides the obvious lack of knowledge from one who has never having run a SD business and hasn’t a clue on where to begin, the additional burden to collect and remit these funds to 1000s of taxing jurisdictions is likely to shut down many if not most of those SD business’ internet operations. The non sequitur of referring to other administrative burdens does not obviate that consequence of an internet sales tax.

    The so-called “advantage” of internet retailers not having to collect and remit a sales tax to 1000s of taxing jurisdictions is again, based on a fantasy. Amazon and the like have poured millions into marketing and selling goods (but not too many services) to consumers whose local access to those goods is largely restricted or nonexistent–the difference in sales tax is inconsequential if one cannot find the item locally. In other words, Amazon’s consumer base and Podunk, SD’s consumer base are largely discreet. Amazon sells a lot of books. Podunk, SD NEVER had a bookstore. Amazon sells a lot of entertainment. Podunk, SD NEVER had much entertainment. Podunk, SD sells a lot of groceries. Amazon cannot do so feasibly. Podunk, SD has a handyman. Amazon does not. There’s no “level playing field” because the teams don’t play AGAINST each other, and an internet sales tax will do NOTHING to bring those discreet teams to the same field–an internet sales tax will only increase the expense to ONE team’s fans while doing NOTHING for the other team’s bottom line or improving the playing field. It’s like MN taxing Viking fans from SD in the name of improving the prospects of the Coyote football fans. It makes no sense.

    Granted, what Amazon offers may overlap with what Podunk, SD may offer but that not Amazon’s business model, target, or profit base. Crossgrain has angrily and bitterly posted here, but I doubt whatever he offers to his customers is available through Amazon (assuming that he/she is not lying about running a business)–thus, an internet tax on Amazon’s customers will have no effect on his offerings, BUT will affect Amazon;s customers in SD in that they will have LESS to spend in Podunk, SD. Moreover, I predicted that another consequence is that SD internet buyers will spend less on the internet, thus less shipping ,thus fewer transportatin & associated jobs IN SD.

    If crossgrain’s offerings do overlap with Amazon’s, then he/she needs to innovate to offer her customers something unique to Podunk, SD. Otherwise, quite bitchin’ that you’re running a livery stable in a jet airliner age.

    (throughout, I’ve used Amazon and Podunk as symbols of the respective arguments)

    I sum, the “counterarguments” posed are nothing more than random musings by some anonymous and uniformed lady–even worse than being uniformed is the ongoing refusal to listen, read and learn.

  12. Anonymous

    It must also be pointed out that the ACA does not affect small businesses with fewer than 50 employees.

    So, not only a non sequitur–wholly irrelevant.

    typical.