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Online's fair share

Published May 4, 2013 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Online retailers are able to ship millions of products every day into every corner of the country and beyond. They run huge, sophisticated warehouses and logistic centers, all run by incredibly complicated software programs.

You can buy practically everything online and have it delivered into your home the next day. Online retailing is an amazing feat of software engineering.

Yet many of the same companies tell us that it will be a heavy technical burden to collect sales taxes and remit them to the states they have customers in. There are 50 states, and 45 of them have a sales tax. That's 45 state sales tax rates, plus many more local rates.

Are we to believe it is too difficult for these tech-savvy companies to create a program that slaps on a simple percentage rate to each purchase, based on the ZIP code, to keep that money in a separate account and then to send out monthly payments to the various states? Yet at the same time they ship millions of packages every day with no problems?

Do I miss something here?

Thomas Fritz

Sandy