In the Sunday, Oct5, 2014 Argus Leader, Jonathon Ellis has a column titled "Playing Chicken with state sales Tax". He as a little fun with the idea that South Dakota is seeking ways to tax breast milk since it is a product that is unfair competition for the commercial replacements. But, he also mentions that Sen. John Thune wants to make the sales tax exemptions of internet sales permanent and notes that will do away with South Dakota's grandfathered-in tax collection.
Thune's idea is better than the SD Revenue Departments plan to join a 30-State consortium to share sales information, buyers and sellers addresses, etc. This would be a monstrous data collection and sharing system which could be very intrusive.
A better idea is a federal tax on all distant transactions not just internet transactions. Collect a federal sales tax that is the average of all state sales taxes. Let the feds keep 10% of it and refund 90% to the states based on population. No need to keep track of who bought viagra or chastity belts or wine or whatever or where they were obtained or where they were shipped. Taxes would be paid with individual income tax filing.
But don't expect petty bureaucrats and timid congress critters to do anything which might be both efficient and sensible.
I also note that the idea of "fairness for main street" is hogwash. A few percent tax added to distant transactions will not help local businesses which charge two, three, or four times the going rate for products on the internet or miles away by the post office. And mostly, my guess is that those buying stuff via the internet are only buying products that are just plain not available locally.
Anyway, the Jonathon Ellis column was readable and might make a few more people think about the issues. I have no idea how long the link will work.
**** Stay tuned and be happy you aren't paying tax on what you read here-- That is a whole nother can of sales tax worms--- Doug Wiken