Sales Taxes and the Internet

Online commerce is a big, big business, accounting for nearly one-tenth of retail sales in the United States. It is a lively and growing sector, a bright spot in our troubled economy — thus the gloomy shadow of the taxman inevitably falls upon it, in the form of a bill proposed by Republican senators Mike Enzi of Wyoming and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. A similar bill was proposed by Democratic senator Dick Durbin of Illinois earlier in the year, and a separate effort is afoot to have the so-called supercommittee institute new Internet-tax measures as part of its deficit-reduction plan.

But it’s not all about big business: The Enzi-Alexander bill would affect entrepreneurs with as little as $500,000 a year in sales.

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