iTunes May Be Forced to Charge Local Tax if New Federal Law Passes
The tax man may be coming for US consumers of digital content and other goods purchased online. US Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) is taking direct aim at the likes of iTunes and Amazon in an effort that could force them to begin collecting local sales tax on all online transactions.
Durbin, the second longest serving Democrat in the US Senate, isn't dishing many details on the proposal for now. It's believed the measure will be formally introduced sometime next week - you know, after Tax Day comes and goes. Still, the breadth of the anticipated proposal is seemingly in line with the longstanding remarks Durbin and some of his colleagues in Congress have made in recent months regarding online transactions and the process of collecting local taxes. "Why should out-of-state companies that sell their products online have an unfair advantage over Main Street bricks-and-mortar businesses?" Durbin said in February. "Out-of-state companies that aren't paying their fair share of taxes are sticking Illinois residents and businesses with the tab."
Unfortunately for lawmakers, however, simply passing a bill demanding Apple, Amazon, and others to charge local taxes will not be uncomplicated. With 7,500 different taxing jurisdictions in the United States today, no one has the slightest clue as to how Congress might smoothly implement or mandate such a sweeping overhaul.
According to CNET, The Direct Marketing Association, which filed suit against the state of Colorado in 2010 to impede a similar law from taking effect, says it will fight Durbin. "You're just giving the states a blank check to make changes without any congressional oversight," says Jerry Cerasale, the DMA's senior vice president for government affairs. "We oppose that...We think that's abrogating the authority of Congress."