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Black Friday, Cyber Monday taxes

Black Friday, Cyber Monday taxes

Parrish Miller
December 3, 2014
December 3, 2014

Did you have a good Black Friday and Cyber Monday? These shopping holidays are increasingly focused on online sales (especially Cyber Monday), but thanks to the voracious appetite of government, the deals next year might come with an additional tax. The so-called Marketplace Fairness Act (a misnomer if ever there was one) is currently pending in Congress and could add hundreds of billions in taxes—and billions more in implementation costs for businesses—if it ever becomes law.

In addition to making large companies like Amazon.com collect sales tax in more states (it currently does so in 23 of them), the proposal would also require smaller and medium-sized companies to become tax collectors for the thousands of tax jurisdictions within the country. It's not hard to figure out why politicians like this idea—they get more tax revenue while calling it "fairness" rather than a tax increase.

Also pushing the idea are some large retailers as well as many in the commercial real estate industry. The less-than-subtly named Alliance for Main Street Fairness is another one of the big entities advocating this massive tax hike.

There is some resistance, fortunately, including from Texas Sen. (and possible presidential candidate) Ted Cruz whose campaign released a video on Cyber Monday promoting the idea that we should "Keep Cyber Monday Internet Sales Tax Free!" Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador has also expressed opposition to the idea.

Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch voted against a previous iteration of the bill because they wanted the small-seller exemption increased, but they have unfortunately expressed support for the general principle of an Internet sales tax. Even if the national push fails, there are some Idaho legislators who want the state to join the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement, which would have much the same effect for Idahoans.

It is important to see through the smokescreen of "fairness" and recognize the Internet sales tax for what it is—hundreds of billions in new taxes that Americans will be forced to pay the government. Even if small businesses are exempted, the cost of implementation nationwide is still astronomical and it will unavoidably be passed on to the consumer.

Rejecting this enormous tax increase should be a no-brainer, but sadly too many of our politicians seem to lack a brain when it comes to bad ideas of this nature. Let's help them remember that NO is the only right answer to proposals for higher taxes.

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