Executive Briefings

E-Tailers Seem Strangely Quiet Over Pending End to Tax-Free Online Sales

Arkansas's Amazon tax went into effect on April 1, making it the fifth state to require e-tailers with in-state affiliates to collect sales tax. The PR battle in support of such laws has been amazingly effective, especially when you factor in that the state politicians' bosses-consumers living in those states-are the ones who will have to cough up much of the extra cash.

Never before has a tax increase-a sales tax increase, to be precise-been so easily accepted by taxpayers, with hardly a newspaper editorial or a consumer group protesting. Consumers in those states have been avoiding paying state sales tax and that's about to end. We would have expected at least a whimper from consumer groups.

But even more surprising than the silence from consumer advocates (including newspapers and politicians seeking re-election) is the remarkably muted defense from the e-tail community.

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Arkansas's Amazon tax went into effect on April 1, making it the fifth state to require e-tailers with in-state affiliates to collect sales tax. The PR battle in support of such laws has been amazingly effective, especially when you factor in that the state politicians' bosses-consumers living in those states-are the ones who will have to cough up much of the extra cash.

Never before has a tax increase-a sales tax increase, to be precise-been so easily accepted by taxpayers, with hardly a newspaper editorial or a consumer group protesting. Consumers in those states have been avoiding paying state sales tax and that's about to end. We would have expected at least a whimper from consumer groups.

But even more surprising than the silence from consumer advocates (including newspapers and politicians seeking re-election) is the remarkably muted defense from the e-tail community.

Read Full Article