Local businesses at odds over national internet sales tax
A bill moving through the US Senate could bring drastic changes to online shopping. It would require online retailers to collect state and local sales taxes on products they sell. The sales taxes would then be sent to the state, county, or city where a shopper lives.
Local businesses are on both sides of this issue. Ralph Bruno, owner of Foamation, sells foam cheeseheads to Packers fans all over the country. He says adding local and state sales taxes to what is usually a novelty or impulse puchase will eat away at his sales. "If we charge more to customers, because that's what a sales tax does... it would be pretty scary to see what happens after that," Bruno said.
But many companies that are trying to compete with giant online retailers like Amazon would welcome the change. Dirk Stallmann, marketing director for Steinhafels Furniture, says that while his store can often match prices with Amazon, it can't avoid collecting sales tax. Stallmann says not charging sales tax is an unfair advantage for Amazon, and making them collect "would level the playing field."