The President of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce says online retailers should have to collect the same sales taxes that brick and mortar stores are required to charge.

“Somebody selling a product who’s in your backyard pays.  Somebody selling a product who’s not in your backyard doesn’t necessarily pay,” Steve Roberts said.

The U.S. Senate is expected to take a final vote before the end of the week on legislation that would give states the authority to force online retailers to collect sales taxes for Internet purchases.  Businesses with less than $1 million a year in online sales would be exempt.

The measure does have Republican support in the Senate.  However, it is expected to run into opposition in the U.S. House of Representatives where opponents say the bill could set a precedent for further expansions of state level tax collection authority.

Roberts says House members should listen to the business owners they represent.

“The brick and mortar folks recognize that they are a visible part of the community.  They’re employing people.  Not only are they paying sales tax, they’re paying all the other taxes and fees that are required to located either in a city or a county,” Roberts said on Thursday’s MetroNews Talkline.

“They’d like to have the field leveled up a little bit.”

According to numbers from the U.S. Commerce Department, U.S. Internet sales totaled $226 billion last year.

In the same time, the National Conference of State Legislatures says states lost $23 billion in uncollected sales taxes for those purchases.

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  • Shadow

    Article I, Section 9, of the Constitution contains these words: "No tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any state." It stands to reason and common sense that if an article is sent out of a state, it is exported from that state. Therefore, the internet tax is unconstitutional. However, our Big Brothers in Congress want to pass an unconstitutional law which will be defended by the DOJ with our money while Amazon and the other internet retailers will have to foot the bill to challenge it. Is this a great system or not? It is a pure ripoff as the state receiving the proposed tax has done nothing to aid in the purchase. People will buy in the local stores what they need and order from the internet what they can't readily buy in their local stores. It is called completion and is the basis or our success as a Nation. Nothing will change except the states will get money that they don't deserve and further detract from the economy.

  • RHytonen

    "states lost $23 billion in uncollected sales taxes for those purchases."

    They can't "lose" tax revenue they don't have, are not owed, and are not entitled to.

    And I'm sure they tax the shipping companies - that's enough.

  • CaptainQ

    I'm surprised Obama and the Democrats haven't pushed this bill through Congress years before. Hey, gotta find SOME way to come up with all those extra TRILLIONS for the state to pay for their share of expanded Medicaid under ObamaCare, right?

    • RHytonen

      You're kidding, right?

      Who could be so ignorant about politics that they don't realize this is AGAINST everything Democrats stand for?

      (And remember, President Obama -by his actions- is no more a Democrat than Joe "ALEC" Manchin.)

      And BTW this bill is traitorously against everything ANY public servant, or representative of the people, should ever condone.

      As for expanded Medicaid, the bill pays for it in other ways- and the only problem with it is, it was written by and for the for-profit insurance and drug companies, and so, it isn't the ONLY thing that would cut actual COSTS, to the patient, in half - HR676, Medicare For All.

  • Keefe

    Every time politicians come up with more taxes it is always predicated on fairness. I am sure brick and mortar places could care less. The Government taxes way to much now and waste a lot of money. When will these politicians realize we want their noses and their open hands out of our business. Just an excuse to monitor online activity by using a back door strategy all in the name of taxes. Free enterprise and small time competition again will be eliminated by the Government.

  • RMC

    If the states want it "leveled up" eliminate brick and mortar sales tax!

    • RHytonen


      Anyway it's already "leveled up" - ever hear of shipping costs (and delays?)