Online tax levels the field [UPDATED]Published 9:31am Friday, May 24, 2013 Updated 11:33am Friday, May 24, 2013
Beginning July 1, Minnesota will require major online retailers to collect the state’s 6.875 percent sales tax, and we say it’s about time. Nobody likes to pay “another tax,” but this policy will help put websites and brick and mortar retailers on a level playing field.
It is important to note that this is not a new tax. Until this point, online shoppers were supposed to take it upon themselves to keep track of and pay sales tax on all purchases. Most people don’t do this, and uncollected online sales tax estimates come to more than $200 million annually in Minnesota.
Online retailers will always have several advantages over traditional stores, but tax-free shopping is one plus to online buying that has been more of a loophole than a business advantage. The new policy should result in increased local spending and more money cycling through the local economy. The additional $200 million to Minnesota will also help the state government considerably.
While it certainly will be unpopular with consumers, an online sales tax is only fair.