I'm predicting this week's breaking news of the State of South Carolina officially filing suit against global Internet giant Amazon for a reported amount of $500 million will precede major increases in online sales during the onset of the 2017 holiday buying frenzy. Online merchants can expect to see even greater numbers than the usual 15% online sales increase this year, due to many states jumping on the bandwagon to grab their piece of the pie as Americans strive to save hard-earned money by shopping online and thereby saving the expense of paying their state's sales tax.
Since online sales became an official 'trend', many states' have typically claimed an annual loss of revenue in the neighborhood of $15 - $17 billion due to shoppers eagerly avoiding elbow-to-elbow crowds vying for products in brick and mortar stores, opting instead to shop from the comfort of their keypads, coffee in hand. Retailers are happy to return the favor by offering free shipping promotions with minimum purchase requirements, hassle-free returns, and guaranteed delivery by the holiday of your choice.
Online sales tax has long been a 'gray area' for many states. Although consumers are required to pay sales tax on purchased items (those items vary from state-to-state), the law has not been enforced.
With South Carolina's lawsuit filed this past Wednesday and now Massachusetts following suit (pun intended), states are revving up for courtroom battles to grab those lost revenues where consumers shop online (and more often than not, out-of-state) and avoid paying state sales tax. It's often been the rule of thumb in online ordering that if a retailer doesn't have a physical presence in your state, there is no sales tax collected. Consumers manage to save reported billions a year by shopping online.
Savings on any front scores points with your average family but not so much with legislators attempting to run a profitable state government while paying salaries, maintenance, upkeep, and cutbacks in public services.It's said, "To the victor goes the spoils". We'll eagerly await the winner in this battle--the state or the consumer? Visit us today for the latest sales tax news in your state!