Nothing Certain Except Death And (Online) Sales Tax (?) – Or is it?

Freeman Evans, Pattiby Patti Freeman Evans


As we reported back in May, online retailers should prepare to charge sales tax in certain markets, even if they do not plan to do so across the country. Cash-strapped states are looking to tap any potential source of revenue (California, for example, has been working through an onerous $26 billion budget gap) and have in recent months been proposing legislation to require online retailers to submit tax in states in which they deliver.

Since the report’s publication, however, the governors of Hawaii and California have struck down the requirement for retailers to collect online sales tax with strokes of the veto pen. As a result,, which had dropped its online affiliates in California and Hawaii when the legislation still had a shot, reestablished its ties with its Californian and Hawaiian affiliates.

What all this boils down to is that the precedent that New York established by requiring the collection of use taxes on goods purchased by online shoppers within a state doesn’t appear to be gaining real traction at least, not at present. Forrester will continue to monitor these debates, inarguably intensified by the current recession, and their potential impacts on eBusiness & Channel Strategy Professionals in the months to come.


re: Nothing Certain Except Death And (Online) Sales Tax (?) – O

Some see this as "no new taxes"... others simply see it as collecting what's due. While some e-tailers cite the difficulty in assigning accurate tax jurisdictions for address and municipality, geo-coding tehcnology (like PBBI GeoTax) has advanced greatly and linking a software application into a shopping cart to calculate the appropriate tax rates. Will be interesting to see where this goes, especially if state budgets stay in the red.

re: Nothing Certain Except Death And (Online) Sales Tax (?) – O

Most countries in the world have sales taxes or value-added taxes or several of the national, state, county or city government levels .