this week’s poll

Should Rhode Island be collecting state sales tax on all online transactions?

Yes, online retailers enjoy an unfair advantage on their brick-and-mortar competitors 36% | 53 votes
No, the lack of online sales tax is a boon to consumers and spur to the economy 45% | 67 votes
No, small online retailers do not have the infrastructure to collect the tax easily 18% | 26 votes
I don't know 1% | 2 votes
Posted 10/7/12

Massachusetts State Treasurer Steve Grossman recently said that the Bay State could see a $339 million windfall by collecting state sales tax on online transactions, according to the Statehouse News Service.

He said that collecting the tax from online retailers was a matter of fairness, noting that Main street retailers were at a disadvantage when compared to online sellers, including Amazon.com, that are not required to collect the tax unless they have physical operations (what is termed a nexus) in a given state.

There is talk in Washington, D.C., of passing a law that would require all online transactions to be taxed as those performed made offline.

Do you think Rhode Island should be collecting sales tax on online transactions?

2 comments on this story | Add your comment
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Mister_Smithers

One more brilliant way to prevent high-growth companies from wanting to locate in RI. Very short sighted and dumb...which is why RI will approve it.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012 | Report this
Anita

There should have been another option to vote for. RI can of course try to collect sales tax on online transactions. But even if I'm paying sales tax, I'm going to shop online, and I believe that online retailers have an advantage over brick and mortar whether they charge sales tax or not:

1) When buying online, one frequently has the advantage of checking other buyers' reviews - of both the item and the seller. More 5-star reviews = more sales.

2) When buying online, I can much more quickly compare items made by different manufacturers, different brands, or different items made by the same company -- and again, see how satisfied buyers were, and how prices vary.

3) Buying online opens up a worldwide marketplace that operates 24/7. It's not limited by my available time, distance I want to drive, parking availability, etc.

4) Malls are small versions of Hell in my book: parking is tedious, confining, expensive, and doesn't always feel safe (e.g., I NEVER go to the Prov Place Mall!); I get to rub elbows w/rude teens and ineffective parents with out-of-control children; and then I can start to actually look for what I wanted to buy. Good luck finding it on the rack in the size, color, and price I wanted!

S0 - online sellers have many advantages over brick and mortar, but avoiding sales tax is waaaayyyy down the list!

Finally, why doesn't the State try to live within its means, instead of constantly trying to pick the pockets of its citizens? (I'm sure there are a number of hack jobs at the State House and otherwise, that could be done away with - and should be before the GA and the Gov even begin to think about any more taxes!)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012 | Report this
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