CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia will have sales tax revenue coming from some new sources beginning next year when a new state law kicks in.

The new law calls for those businesses that sell products in West Virginia, online or otherwise, to collect the six percent sales tax if the company itself or a company affiliated with it has a physical presence in the state.

Many West Virginia lawmakers, like those from other states, believe states are losing millions a year on items purchased over the internet because sales tax is not collected.

State Deputy Revenue Secretary Mark Muchow said the new requirement could bring in as much $10 million a year. He said it’s difficult to predict exactly how much will be collected.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently refused to hear a challenge of New York’s online sales tax law earlier this year. Muchow said that’s a much more aggressive law than West Virginia’s but eventually Congress will likely have to decide the issue.

“It’s an uneven playing field out there,” Muchow said. “It’s probably ultimately going to take some action by Congress. The U.S. Supreme Court is saying ‘This is for Congress to decide. We don’t want to get involved,'” Muchow said.

Muchow said the West Virginia change applies to large businesses online or otherwise, which may not necessarily have a home office in West Virginia, but part of its group does have a physical presence here.

“It may not be you but one of the companies affiliated with you that’s part of your group that has a physical presence in the state, then you have to collect taxes in the state of West Virginia,” Muchow said.

The state expects all of the impacted companies to follow the new law.

“As far as I know the taxpayers that are subject to that law change will be complying come January 1st,” Muchow said.  

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  • Mountain man

    Alum is correct. The large on line stores have complete departments that take care of the tax issue. We are a small business with under 20 employes depending on the time of year. I will now spend more time in my already busy day to take care of this.
    The problem is most people don't understand business. The guy in Weston, I understand if the things he wants aren't readily available at the same price in small business as the web. He needs to understand that a small guy doesn't have the purchasing power of the big guys so the small guy pays more for the item. It's not greed my friend it's called cost of sales. So please try to remember that the next time you go off on small business. Hopefully you will give some of your business to the local guys.

  • cynara

    I think that if internet sales are taxed, it should go to the state the seller is in. Why should they have to keep up with and remit to 50 states. It's not like if I drive across the border to shop at Walmart in PA they ask where I'm from and send the tax back to WV.

  • Independent View

    Uh, this seems rather simple to this poster. I purchase on-line and I avoid WV Sales Tax, but I'm o.k. paying shipping charges that typically exceed the sales tax amount??
    Sorry, I don't get that thinking. But now, I get to pay both sales tax and shipping charges and most of the posters are bashing local merchants. Go figure!

    • Dave, just Dave.

      I'm choosing to possibly pay a little more in shipping charges than total taxes simply because, yes, most local merchants suck. Now I'm even going to have to pay more because, yes, my local merchants suck.

      Want to level the playing field and me shop local? then local merchants need to step up with better merchandise and wider selection as well as access to sources they can tap to get me what I want and need in a manner competitive with what I can do for myself.

      The whole attitude of "I don't have that but I can get it for you though it will cost more than what you can get yourself" or "I don't have that, can't get that but what I can get is just as good (though it's not)" or the "I don't have that, can't get it now go pay more online in sales tax because I suck as a merchant"

      Most of WV is a dead zone as far as what's available. Merchants can either step up and compete or get out of my way.

  • Dave, just Dave.

    So now I just shop a little harder to find vendors who aren't required to collect the tax.

    I'm sick and tired of trying to shop locally. Prices are high and selection is sparse, apparently everyone get's their merchandise from the same distributor and pathetically sad little retailers are always trying to convince me that what they have is really what I want. No, it's not.

    Even without the additional sales tax I find myself paying more for an item than I'd like simply due to shipping charges but if the item is what I really want, so be it.

    This is just another burden for online shoppers. Maybe the better idea is to cut all those extra taxes the state and local municipalities stick on everything that moves.

  • Keith Yockey

    WV will see a loss of revenue rather than a gain. Just look at what happened in MO, IL, and NC. Not only did Sales Tax revenue drop, they lost on income tax as well.
    What a smart law. ... not.

  • wvtd

    the prices are so high in this area it will still make sense to buy online. I will avoid as many "local" business as I can just to save what is left of my hard earned money. maybe these mom and pop places could be a little less greedy and lot more competitive.

  • blugldmn

    Maybe the problem for small business isn't the fact that some internet vendors don't collect sales tax but rather the taxes that already exist for small business like the B&O tax, regulation, etc,.

    If it's good to give tax breaks to large corporations like Toyota, the cracker plant and others then why not small business? If it is so vital

  • Fubar

    It's about time that sales taxes will be applied to internet purchases. This will help level competition between your "local mom & pop" business and the "big box" company on the web. Sales taxes for internet purchases were exempted years ago to help start-up the .com business model. I think they have received enough help now. Shop local as much as you can and keep your money working in your town, county, and state.

    • Dave, just Dave.

      I live in Weston, our local market sucks. Stop trying to make it more burdensome for me and others to get the products we truly want and need, not simply to pay more in the guise of supporting local retailers and their over priced garbage.

  • Magic Mike.

    This is what happens when you elect democrats. They love spending other peoples money.

  • chris c

    Aren't we taxed enough already. DAMN.

  • Mountain man

    As coal diminishes in our state the tax revenue must come from somewhere. I don't see how this will generate the amount they are forecasting. Will amazon pull out of Huntington to keep from collecting & paying the tax who knows. All I know is that for a small business guy like me it's just more burden this state is adding to me.
    Thanks guys

    • tj

      If you are a small business you should be happy about the new law. For years online business have sold goods and services without charging the same taxes that brick and mortar business have had to charge their customers. Small business also pay city b&o and other state fees and taxes. This does not level the playing field but at least the state will see some revenue from it.

      • Alum

        Maybe he sells on-line and the new law adds administrative burden that he previously didn't have. Maybe he now has to dedicate time and resources to meet the requirements of the law, which will add to his workday.