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December 4, 2012 at 4:00 PM

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Increasing revenue with online sales-tax collection

Small-business owners penalized
Not so fast on having states collect sales tax from online buyers [“Give states power to collect online sales tax,” Editorials, Nov. 30]. As a small-business owner here in Washington, I’m looking at a bookkeeping nightmare.

My business has to report sales tax every month and, with the need to break down online sales to each and every little burg in the state that we ship to, it becomes a daylong affair just reporting and paying my taxes. Now multiply this by 50 (51 if you count Washington, D.C.) and I’ll spend all month just filling out tax forms and submitting payments because my business is online as well as brick-and-mortar.

Now, not all states collect sales tax, but some states do have cities that collect it, so 50 as a multiple may be low. Plus, if they require a breakdown by local region like Washington does, instead of having a centralized collection, small businesses like mine that cannot afford full-time bookkeepers are penalized.

Collecting sales tax from online consumers sounds great on the surface. Collecting sales tax by local region sounded good until businesses were actually required to do it. Unless someone can come up with a workable solution to collecting the taxes, maybe we should just think again.

—Dave Keizur, Long Beach

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