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Senate Passes Bill That Would Allow Online State Sales Tax

By Natalie Potts
By npotts@wbbjtv.com

JACKSON, Tenn.- The days of tax-free shopping online may be coming to an end. The U.S. Senate passed a bill that would empower states to collect sales taxes for purchases made over the internet by a vote 69-27, Monday.

Internet shoppers told WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News that they have anticipated a sales tax for some time now. They said if this bill ever made it into law it would drastically chance their shopping habits.

"It's easier because you don't have to go out and you feel like you're paying the same price because the shipping kind of counts as tax in my opinion," said shopper Anna Garrett. " If I had to pay for taxes and shipping, I wouldn't shop online."

Under the current law, states can only require stores to collect a sales tax if the store has a physical location inside the state. Retailers said as a result many online sales are tax-free. Retailers for brick-and mortar stores said the bill could bring equality to sales tax.

"Yes, because it gives them (online retailers) some sense of responsibility if you are going to do business in this area then you should be subject to the same taxes that we are for the people that are actually here in the community," said retail manager Reginald Hobson, of Jackson's Lookin' Good and Stylz.

Shoppers said putting in place a sales tax for online shoppers is not fair due to the shipping fees.

"They come up with a new tax every time we look around it's just more money we are going to have to pay out of our pockets," said shopper Yolanda Adams. "Every dollar counts right now everybody is trying to save their dollar save anything they can."

Hobson said it has been an ongoing struggle over the years finding ways to keep customers off of the computer and in the door to make a face to face purchase. Retailers said it is a battle every local brick and mortar store faces.

"It's a growing trend especially with younger people younger people always want to get what's new and hot and different and they think that just because they go online they are going to get what no one else has," said Hobson. " It's simple either you're going to be ahead of the curve, in the curve or catching the tail end of the curve in fashion, being the future of fashion that's been our survival mechanism over the past few years."

The bill must pass through the U.S. House of Representatives then go through President Obama before it is signed into law.


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