Internet Sales Tax Bill Passes Out of Committee

By: Josh Sidorowicz Email
By: Josh Sidorowicz Email

It takes just the click of a button.

It's no wonder so many have turned to shopping online and right now many of those online retailers like Amazon or Overstock.com don't have to charge a sales tax.

In-state business owners argue it gives online retailers a clear upper hand against brick-and-mortar businesses, according to Tom Scott with the Michigan Retail Association.

"It's a six percent price advantage which might not seem like a lot on a small item but when you're talking about big ticket items six percent is huge," Scott said.

Even if someone bought something online from retailers like Target or Walmart they were still charged a sales tax because those retailers have physical presence in the state.

Scott said this bill levels the playing field by expanding the definition of what it makes to have a physical presence in a state.

"This makes it clear that if you have an office, and Amazon has offices here, then that's a physical presence and they would have to start collecting a sales tax," he said.

State representative Vicki Barnett, D-Farmington Hills, who is on the committee which voted this through said she passed on voting on the bill Wednesday because there are still too many unanswered questions.

"It's not that I oppose this," she said. "But before I talk about taxes I need to know where the money is going."

Barnett said there haven't been enough specifics presented detailing how and where the added revenue would be spent and if it would even be treated as a sales tax.


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