Letter: Internet firms exploit no-tax advantageWith the holiday season upon us the stores and malls are full of shoppers looking for that special gift for loved ones. And while local retailers are still the preferred outlet for Christmas shoppers, Internet sales continue to grow dramatically.
By: Joe Pankratz, The Republican Eagle
To the Editor:
With the holiday season upon us the stores and malls are full of shoppers looking for that special gift for loved ones. And while local retailers are still the preferred outlet for Christmas shoppers, Internet sales continue to grow dramatically.
Early estimates for 2012 show a whopping 20 percent increase over last year in internet shopping in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin retailers welcome the opportunity to cater to the needs of our customers both on the Internet and at our stores. Wisconsin customers pay all state and local taxes whether they purchase in store or through the internet from Wisconsin retailers.
Current law requires state and local taxes to be paid for any purchase made on the Internet.
Online-only retailers however, are exploiting a massive loophole in the system and aren’t collecting sales tax at the point of sale despite that fact that the tax is still due.
Wisconsin retailers must compete in an unfair market place with on-line retailers, costing the state not only lost sales tax revenue but Wisconsin jobs. We urge Gov. Scott Walker and legislators to put Wisconsin first and deliver more jobs for Wisconsin by treating out of state online retailers the same as in state retailers.
Walker and legislative leaders have made job retention and creation a top priority and we applaud them for advancing legislation to build Wisconsin’s economy. However, we can do more to support Wisconsin business.
It makes no sense for Wisconsin to give out of state Internet companies an advantage over in state business. Online only retailers don’t collect the tax, leaving that responsibility with their customers who are not aware of the law and in most cases do not comply, leaving customers with a potentially significant unpaid tax liability.
Out-of-state Internet companies employ nobody in Wisconsin, pay no taxes in Wisconsin and give back nothing to local communities or charities in Wisconsin.
It is time to put an end to this ridiculous unfair advantage out of state Internet companies exploit over Wisconsin business.
Joe Pankratz is president of the Wisconsin Jewelers Association, member of the Alliance of Wisconsin Retailers.