The PJ Tatler

eBay: Just Say No to Internet Sales Tax

Here’s company vice president Tod Cohen in today’s USAToday:

The Internet is a key part of 21st century retail for businesses of all sizes. Jon Gonzales is a great example. He has a growing computer accessories business in Virginia. Because he uses the Internet, his business sells across the country. But make no mistake, his small business is nothing like the giant national retailers that combine stores, distribution centers and Internet sites. Those businesses are located around the country so they are required to collect sales taxes in every state. Now there is a proposal to require small businesses operating out of only one state to do the same.

This new legislation would suddenly treat Jon like a giant business with teams of tax lawyers and accountants. The reality is that Jon’s sister Roceta handles the accounting and taxes. That’s the accounting and tax team. Complying with 9,600 tax jurisdictions nationwide, and more menacingly, being audited and threatened with litigation by tax authorities around the country, is daunting. The family-run business worries about its survival.

Cohen’s solution? An exemption for businesses with “less than $10 million in Internet sales or fewer than 50 employees.” But really, that’s no solution at all. All these “favors” we dole out to small business just create hurdles to them becoming larger. And big business can afford the largess, being further insulated from competition.

It’s time we stopped treating small business any differently from big business — and far past time we stopped treating any business like a chump to be squeezed.

Want to know where the jobs went? Look at Washington’s desperation to tax any and everything that moves.