MASSACHUSETTS CONSIDERING TO IMPOSE SALES TAX ON ITEMS BOUGHT ONLINE


By Bob Katzen 

The Revenue Committee held a public hearing on several bills including the controversial one that would require the state to prepare to collect the state’s 6.25 percent sales taxes on all items purchased online if and when the federal government authorizes states to mandate that Internet sellers collect sales taxes. The committee last year recommended approval of the same bill but it was sent to a study committee where it died.
  Federal law currently only requires the sales tax to be collected by sellers who have a physical presence like a store or warehouse in the state. Amazon has had a presence in the Bay State since 2013 when it started Massachusetts residents the sales tax for its online sales.
   Supporters of the tax say brick-and-mortar retailers in the state are losing millions of dollars in annual sales and the state is missing out on millions in tax revenue. They note many consumers are using brick-and-mortar retail stores as a showroom to look at items and then buy them on the Internet to get a lower price and save the sales tax.
   Opponents say this is simply an unwarranted tax hike that will cost consumers millions of dollars. They note it would also discourage other online retailers from bringing a facility and jobs to Massachusetts.

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