Cyber sales for the state?

By: Meaghan M. Norman Email
By: Meaghan M. Norman Email

It's predicted that nearly 100 million consumers hit the Web for cyber Monday. It's another day of deep discounts after the Black Friday shopping maddness.

Retailers and consumers alike are excited about the online "holiday." Trey Rousse, store manager for Summit Sports in East Lansing, hopes that the sales so far indicate a very profitable holiday season.

"We've already [seen] over the Thanksgiving weekend, a 95 percent increase, and with Cyber Monday being the official kickoff we're expecting it to be insance and that's what we're already seeing this morning," said Rousse.

But not everyone benefits from these special deals -- in particular -- the state government. Any online seller that already has business in the state, like Target or Wal-Mart, is required by law to collect and remit sales tax. There are, however, online sellers that do not charge sales tax.

"It's important for someone who's making an online purchase to keep their receipt to note whatever taxes have been charged to them," said State Treasury Department Spokesman Terry Stanton. "It not, they have a responsibility to claim it to the state."

Each year the state of Michigan loses millions of dollars of revenue in sales tax from online purchases. Last year, 105,000 taxpayers claimed online items but the state still lost $181 million. This year, that figure is expected to rise to $210 million.

"It's a big chunk of revenue, there is no doubt about that," said Stanton. "But Michigan is not alone in that. All 50 states, or states that have sales tax on the books would see some sort of revenue loss."

There is a line on the 1040 tax form that allows consumers to claim any internet purchases.


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