Of All the Taxes in All the World, Yours Just Landed on My Doorstep

Amazon, based in Seattle will now start collecting sales tax for orders shipped to Massachusetts beginning in 2013. Following pressure from municipality and business leaders Govenor Deval Patrick's office put pressure on the online retail giant.
Jon B Hurst, President of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts is quoted "Our members are greatful  and relieved to know that they will not have to face another hiday sales seaon with a 6.25% tax disparity with the world's largest online seller... Although we would have preferred a level playing field this holiday season, we are grateful to Gov. Partick for his tireless work on this issue." [Input input] A level playing field? Are you a capitalist in namesake only?
Appartenly the state losing out on millions of dollars in potential sales-tax revenue weighs greater than the fact that it will hit Massachusetts consumers. When shoppers are attempting to make thier purchase/ advertising/ afficable dollars go further, one business entity crys foul on another, and recieves favorable mediation due to potential revenue for the state. This is lazy, uncompetative, and boorish.
Mom and pop shops have been hurt over the last couple of decades by the convenience of online retailers, who can facilitate trassactions for those without the overhead and can charge prices basically independent of all factors apart from the market. Beating out brick and motar stores is not what online retailers do best, it is to provide services and products over a range that would be available to them otherwise by utilizing the net, and to keep up with the trend many physical stores have had to create an online presence to meet customers where they shop.
Govenor Deval Patrick called this a "win for all sides... pleased it promises to generate millions in klong-term revenue for the Commonwealth"; unfortunately what I read was, "tax, tax, tax... tax, tax, tax, resulting in fewer online purchases and eventually stronger intrastate regulation". Shame on me, right? The taxes will be applicable on all purchase on the first of November, the beginning of the holiday sales season and host to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.


  1. Yes, unfortunately this issue looks simple on the surface but has several sides. Too often the brick and mortar store becomes a showroom for products by consumers that will then go out and purchase the item from an online retailer. Many products are no longer repairable. While you might expect this to be the first source of outrage, consumers accept this for the lower cost compared to better built items.
    The brick and mortar store must then face higher costs due to rent, electricity, salaries, insurance insurance, security, rent, and the such.
    Sales tax only add to the weight of doing business ans cost to the consumer. Oh right, back to them.
    What is forgotten is that the current generation of brick and mortar store: Walmart, Target, Best Buy,Home Depot, at one time drove the small family owned shops out of business. Those stores were owned by individuals in the community and the money spent in those stores, for the most part, stayed in the communities. When dealing with 'big box stores' the money is not often transferred to the parent office's bank account at J.P. Morgan.

    This does not bother the consumer as the 'big store' has better prices and selection.

    Sales taxes are one of the many taxes hat I despise. It is collected with no added value for the consumer on money already taxed when earned. This is not important as the average consumer does not seem to care. There is no outcry, no protest, no angry masses screaming to be heard.

    In the end many Brick and mortar stores will fail due to competition and the inability to maintain a profit in a world of ever increasing taxes and costs. Fewer people will be able to afford the new products as jobs pay less due to increased competition for the jobs (or increased personal costs as more companies move from full time employees with benefits to part time employees with no benefits other than a minimum wage.

    In time even the online vendors will face challenges as they become top dogs. When their lower costs drive more and more businesses out of business the government will likely increase their taxes by instituting fees specific to their business. (Note: look at the fees currently attached to airline tickets and gasoline).

    Articles will be written, blogs will be posted, and occasionally a group of individuals wearing masks of carrying placards will stand up only to be cheered on, then ignored, then deemed an inconvenience, pepper sprayed, beaten and forgotten.

    The world will go on, people will grumble yet still pay.

    I agree, expanding sales tax collection to online purchases irk me, but it is not something that can be easily fought. Write a letter to you legislator and support candidates that share your view, but do not obsess with what is wrong. Doing so will only make you bitter.

  2. Paragraph three should read 'too often'.