Legislation Would Force Online Retailers To Charge State Sales Tax

Tuesday, July 10th 2012, 9:21 am
By: Dave Davis

Many Oklahomans turn to the Internet to shop for everything from clothes to household products. But now, the federal government and big retailers are trying to step in and add sales tax - which would end up costing you more! 

A few U-S Senators have introduced what amounts to an Internet sales tax bill that will go before a Congress in a couple weeks.

It would allow states to force out-of-state retailers to collect sales tax.  

In Oklahoma, we already have a use tax which means, you're supposed to pay taxes on out-of-state purchases when you fill out your tax forms.

The proposed bill would give states the power to force online retailers to charge you tax -- just like traditional stores have for decades.

For example, if an Oklahoma shopper buys a shirt from an online store in Texas, they would now have include Oklahoma sales tax in the final price.

Neal Osten is with the national conference of state legislatures. He says tax-free online shopping is costing states $23 billion this year. 

"Look at California, California has a great deal of problems," Osten said. "This would mean $4.1 billion in revenue for California, that they don't have right now. That could mean more teachers, police, more firemen." 

Many Internet retailers are against this bill saying it's unfair to small businesses. The bill does allow businesses with less than $500,000 in annual sales an exemption.