Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Business

December 2, 2012

Indiana legislators want to speed up collection of online sales tax

INDIANAPOLIS — A coalition of bricks-and-mortar retailers in Indiana want to speed up the collection date for the Internet sales tax, arguing the online giant Amazon.com is already scooping up sales tax dollars in other states.

At a press conference at the Statehouse on “Cyber Monday,” representatives from the Indiana Merchants for Tax Fairness Collection, called for a quicker end to what they call an unfair advantage enjoyed by online-only retailers that escape the state’s 7 percent sales tax.

“Retailers don’t mind competition in the marketplace, in fact they thrive on it,” said Grant Monahan, coalition member and president of the Indiana Retail Council. “But they need competition on a level playing field.”

The coalition called the press conference on what’s considered to be the largest online shopping day of the year to announce legislation that would make Amazon and other online-only retailers start collecting and remitting the Indiana sales tax by July 1, 2013.

If passed, it would accelerate a deal already cut by Amazon earlier this year with Gov. Mitch Daniels, in which the online retailer had agreed to a sales-tax-collection start date of Jan. 1, 2014.

Amazon, which had long fought the online sales tax both in Indiana and nationwide, has cut similar tax-collection deals in other states, but the time frame was quicker. Amazon is already charging state sales tax on purchases made by residents in California, Pennsylvania, and Texas. It’ll start collecting sales taxes in Virginia and New Jersey next year, months ahead of the start date in Indiana.

A report by the Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute earlier this year estimated that Indiana was losing $75 to $125 million each year in lost sales taxes — a revenue stream that helps pay for schools and public safety. Some legislators think that estimate is low, since online sales are growing.

The proposed legislation, to be carried by Republican Rep. Tom Dermody of LaPorte and Democrat Rep. Ed Delaney of Indianapolis, would impact all online-only retailers with a physical presence in Indiana, including Amazon, which has several warehouses around the state.

The law would have the biggest wallop on Amazon, the whale of online retailers. The company pulled in more than $17 billion in revenues in the fourth quarter of 2012 – a number expected to be even bigger this year as online holiday sales overall grow.

Amazon critics like Jeff Kinney, owner of Kinney Dancewear in Indianapolis, argue those billions made by Amazon have been made by undercutting merchants like him – bricks-and-mortar storeowners who are required by Indiana law to tag on the sales tax to purchases.

The law’s loophole that allows online-only retailers to skip that step, “does nothing but discourage people from shopping in the brick-and-mortar stores,” Kinney said.

Amazon officials couldn’t be reached for comment, but the company has long argued that shoppers come to its site for both convenience and deeply discounted prices that are minimally affected by no sales-tax loophole.

Amazon’s often-stated position is that its sales are just as strong in states where it does collect the sales tax as in the states where it doesn’t.

That’s all the more reason to speed up the online sales tax collection date here in Indiana, argues Bob Kraft of the Indiana Farm Bureau, which backs the Dermody-Delaney bill.

“It’s not just merchants who are interested in tax fairness. Farmers are as well,” said Kraft. “When you’re talking about losing $75-to-$125 million a year in revenues, that’s an important number. If we can recoup that to go into the state’s coffers, that’s beneficial to everyone in this state.”

It’s unclear what the chances are for the legislation to move ahead in the next session. But it reflects a shift in how the state Legislature views a much earlier deal that it made with Amazon, back when it was courting the online retailer to build warehouses here.

In 2007, Indiana lawmakers agreed to a change in some tax language that created a loophole for Amazon. In return for building warehouses here, Amazon got state lawmakers to agree they wouldn’t push for the online sales collection.  Legislators defended the deal at the time, saying it was a way to bring more jobs to Indiana.

Maureen Hayden can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com

1
Text Only
Business
  • BIZ GN0420 car talk image Beetle marks 65th year since entry into U.S. Sixty-five years after the first Volkswagen Beetle arrived in the United States as a distinctively shaped, little car, the Beetle keeps attracting buyers with its more-spacious-than-ever, flexible interior, turbo engine power and modernized iconic lo

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • BIZ GN0420 tech talk image Mistakes businesses make with their home page Mistakes businesses make with their home page

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ben's Pretzels adds three franchises GOSHEN — Ben’s Soft Pretzels will open three new franchised pretzel bakeries in the next 45 days. According to the company, leases have been signed and construction has begun on the stores. The Madison, Wis. location will be in the West Towne Mall. T

    April 18, 2014

  • BIZ GN0419 target breach image Cyber cops: Target hackers may take years to find WASHINGTON — Secret Service investigators say they are close to gaining a full understanding of the methods hackers used to breach Target's computer systems last December. But the agency says it could take years to identify the criminals who stole so

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thor buying K-Z Inc. ELKHART — Thor Industries Inc. is purchasing recrecational vehicle manufacturer K-Z Inc. of Shipshewana for $53.4 million. In an announcement Thursday, Thor said the deal will be completed May 1. “We are pleased to welcome K-Z to the Thor family. Wi

    April 17, 2014

  • BIZ GN0417 spring planting image Spring planting starts slow ST. LOUIS — Most years about this time, northern Illinois farmer Monty Whipple, like so many Midwest growers, would be riding high in his monstrous planter, kicking up dust while sowing corn in hundreds of acres. But this spring has kept him sideline

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • BIZ GN0416 401(k) fee image High fees hammer 401(k)s WASHINGTON -- It's the silent enemy in our retirement accounts: High fees. And now a new study finds that the typical 401(k) fees -- adding up to a modest-sounding 1 percent a year -- would erase $70,000 from an average worker's account over a four-d

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • BIZ GN0413 tech talk column image 5 keys for businesses to succeed on Facebook With Facebook becoming such a normal and assumed part of daily life for the average American, most businesses recognize the value of using Facebook to increase their business visibility and brand reputation. Retailers and local businesses are no exce

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140412 new biz toy barn 01 Luxury, exotic car dealership set to open GOSHEN — Exotic car lovers in and around the Goshen area will soon have something to smile about with the arrival of the Toy Barn of Goshen, a certified pre-owned luxury and exotic car dealership set to open in downtown Goshen next month.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drew Industries sells extrusion division ELKHART — Drew Industries, through its subsidiary Lippert Components, has entered into a six-year contract to obtain extruded aluminum from Atrium Windows and Doors, which includes selling Lippert’s extrusion assets to Atrium. Atrium is based in Dal

    April 11, 2014

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Poll

There has been discussion at West Goshen Elementary School to require mandatory student uniforms in the future. How do you feel about the prospect of mandatory student uniforms in a public school environment?

I think it’s an excellent idea that is way overdue
I think it’s a bad idea and would be restrictive for students and parents.
     View Results