State sales tax could be charged when online shopping - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

State sales tax could be charged when online shopping

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By: Sabrina Ahmed 

You may be forced to pay sales tax on everything you buy online!

"It levels the playing field for our local merchants to be competitive," Senator Galen Hadley said.

Senator Hadley said a bill in the US Senate to charge state sales tax on all Internet purchases couldn't be better for Nebraska.  The state where you, the buyer lives, would earn sales tax on all purchases. 

By doing this, Nebraska estimates it could increase tax revenue by as much as 40 million dollars a year.  Some consumers are mad they may have to pay more.

"People in Nebraska actually shop on the Internet because Nebraska is one of the highest tax states in the union and that's one of the ways that they save money," one woman said.

But this isn't actually a new tax.  Right now, you're supposed to claim all Internet purchases and pay taxes on those items when you file, but a lot of people don't.

That gives Internet shopping the advantage, taking away some business from local shops, like book stores.

"There's a seven percent difference in the price of a book just dealing with sales tax alone," Hadley said.

Some consumers say the unfair advantage to the Internet is silly because, when shop owners decide to open, they know what they're getting themselves into.

"You know full well when you open up a store what your positives and negatives are going to be.  I think when you open up an online store there's positives and negatives as well so I don't think it's leaning one way or the other I just think the Internet's not broke, stop trying to fix it," Bret Wallen said.

Up until recently, Amazon has opposed this sort of measure, but they want to expand their warehouses to more states, so this will actually help them, too.

This is being debated in the US Senate Thursday.  If it passes, it goes to the House. If they approve it, Nebraska will have to adopt it on the state level.  That would most likely happen next session.

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