Washington Libertarian Review

Political commentary from the State of Washington with a libertarian perspective.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Internet sales tax in the works

For several years, state and local governments have been in dispute who has a right to tax an Internet sales transaction. Now, according to the Tacoma News Tribune retailers will soon be asked to voluntarily collect tax money from online shoppers and remit it to the states where those shoppers live. This measure still needs state legislative approval, but given that taxes are the lifeblood of government, the chances of passage are pretty good.

Just wait until the folks at ebay get hold of this one. Anybody who has sold an old watch or a book collection on ebay is not going to want to prepare a form and mail $1.35 to Wisconsin. These guys must be dreaming.


Blogger Don Bangert said...

What's interesting is the wording of RCW 82.14.030: "The governing body of any county or city while not required by legislative mandate to do so..." In other words, if you remove the emergency imposed by the legislature (RCW 82.14.010), the cities and counties loose their authority to tax us at the time a "taxable event" occurs. By the way, "taxable event" is defined at RCW 84.14.020 (10) "Taxable event" shall mean any retail sale, or any use, upon which a state tax is imposed pursuant to chapter 82.08(RETAIL SALES TAX) or 82.12(USE TAX) RCW, as they now exist or may hereafter be amended: PROVIDED, HOWEVER, That the term shall not include a retail sale taxable pursuant to RCW 82.08.150(sales of intoxicating liquors), as now or hereafter amended.

What we need to keep in mind is that there exists in our state two very distinct types of tax. One that is authorized by legislative mandate via a declared state of emergency (see above) and one that is imposed on the privilege of doing business in this state. See RCW 82.04.220: RCW 82.04.220
Business and occupation tax imposed.
There is levied and shall be collected from every person a tax for the act or privilege of engaging in business activities. Such tax shall be measured by the application of rates against value of products, gross proceeds of sales, or gross income of the business, as the case may be.

We would do well to understand the distinction between these two types of taxing schemes.

8:23 AM  

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