If States Add Online Sales Tax, Do Amazon (AMZN) And eBay Get Dinged?

bear27States and the federal government have monkeyed around with the idea of forcing e-commerce sites to collect state taxes for years. That would require companies such as Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and eBay (EBAY) to track the source of each sale and collect the local tax due.

Now that states are bedeviled by falling tax receipts and the federal government moves further into debt every day, the idea of collecting a toll on e-commerce sales has become extremely attractive.

According to The New York Post, Congress will take another shot as getting money from online shoppers. The paper writes that “supporters of the bill think Congress may finally give in to their demands because of their own pressure to lend support to financially battered state governments.”

The recession caused the pace of online e-commerce revenue growth to slow considerably last year. Improvements in sales may be much harder to come by in 2009. Adding taxes to the mix of what people have to pay when they buy things on the internet is likely to make that much worse.

Douglas A. McIntyre

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