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Should Items Bought Online be Subject to Sales Tax?

As more and more people turn to the Internet to do their shopping, the State of Minnesota is gaining nothing in sales tax. Is this right?

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When the nonpartisan House Public Information Services (HPIS) conducted its 2012 opinion poll during the State Fair, more than 9,000 people participated.

Among the issues considered was that of collecting sales tax on products purchased over the Internet.

The State of Minnesota would traditionally collect millions of dollars in annual sales tax on items like books, movies and music, but on the Internet, these things are not subject to state sales tax.

Is this fair? Forty-seven percent of Minnesotans polled said 'no.' In other words, 47 percent of people said sales tax should be collected on digital purchases. 

As the 2012-13 holiday season approaches, more people than ever are purchasing gifts, products and services online. 

Despite the 4,200 people that agreed that digital purchases should be subject to sales tax, another 4,006 people (44.6 percent) disagreed. 

So where do you stand? Should items bought online be subject to state sales tax?  

Diane Baum November 17, 2012 at 01:07 PM
I would sure love to know which 47% said this was unfair! I purchase many things online, including a mattress from a well known dealer that I did not have to pay sales tax on. However, the few things I ordered online from places like Best Buy and Wal-Mart I still did. If the government can find it and do it, you can bet that they WILL eventually make it a law as well. Just more of our money to fritter away!
Rob Clucas November 20, 2012 at 04:13 PM
"As more and more people turn to the Internet to do their shopping, the State of Minnesota is gaining nothing in sales tax. Is this right? " It it "right" that the state of MN should even need to collect a sales tax? A much better question, I think.
Steve November 22, 2012 at 06:05 PM
If you don't pay sales tax, then you do owe use tax. You are simply not following the law. The issue of fairness is this: the companies that have to charge sales tax are the very companies that have made an investment in the local economy, by paying property tax here, hiring employees here, and more. We should be encouraging more companies to do just these things. By allowing internet sales to not collect sales tax, we are giving them a price advantage over the ones that do, which discourages local investment. Taxes that are not collected, have to be made up somewhere else, icluding higher income taxes. That is unfair for the local business put at a disadvantage, but it is also unfair for us.

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