Monday, May 6, 2013

Fair Taxation

It's kind of dumb I feel compelled to write a post about the fairness of the Marketplace Fairness Act, but the closer this issue hits my demographic, the more misunderstanding I see. The youths, they are appalled.

Here's the thing: If you buy something online, you are legally obligated to pay sales tax on it. If you don't report it on your state income taxes, you're evading the tax. Few people do this, and honestly, I'm not super orthodox religious about it either, although I'm meticulous when it comes to the store's finances.

For what it's worth, I at least know better. To gnash your teeth about having to pay this tax is to be angry you can no longer break the law with impunity. I see why you might not like it, but to publicly decry it is to be kind of a douche. Pay you're freakin' taxes already or shut up about being a scofflaw.

The fairness part of this tax refers to the fact that my store must collect sales tax, currently at a combined 9% rate, while most online businesses out of state do not. That's essentially a 9% discount before the typical online devaluation even begins. Sure, I can go online and screw over the tax base of other states, but that's not the point. A level playing field means tax is collected across the board, not only where enforcement is effective.

We tend to give new technology a pass on the rules, allowing them to skip taxes, possibly because they claim they're some sort of charity, like a holy prostitute. We do this because this country loves the new, but it's time for some old fashioned fairness.

If you don't like sales tax, find a way to increase revenue to cover the roads, police, schools and other services you benefit from daily. Californians pay some of the highest sales tax in the country, while other taxes, like real estate, are very low. We're in the top ten for sales tax, depending on how you calculate it,  and 39th for real-estate. You can see who this hurts the most, those who can least afford it. That's typical California though. However, if it makes you feel better, our effective tax rate is pretty low compared to other developed countries.

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