Congressmen in both parties want you to pay more taxes on your online purchases, and once again, big business is lobbying for bigger government, which would hurt Mom and Pop.Here's Carney on why Amazon is pro-internet tax:
Online sales taxes have been a battlefield for lobbying titans for years, pitting Walmart and the rest of the brick-and-mortar retail lobby against Amazon and other online retailers. But now Amazon has changed its business model and also its lobbying position, joining the rest of the retail giants in calling on Congress to aid states in collecting sales tax from online sales.
The bipartisan lobbying effort has yielded fruit this year in the "Marketplace Fairness Act." Under this bill, if you buy something online, you pay a sales tax. Retailers, meanwhile, will have to collect sales taxes for every state where they have customers, even if the retailer has no physical presence there.The entire Carney analysis is here.
This is often how tax legislation gets passed: powerful interests hire revolving-door lobbyists to push for taxes on their clients' competitors. For over a decade, such online sales-tax bills have faltered in Congress, largely because they had a powerful opponent in Amazon.
But this year, Amazon switched teams, joining Walmart on the pro-tax side -- not out of some newfound concern for "marketplace fairness," but because Amazon's business model is changing in such a way that now Amazon stands to benefit from this tax.
In order to provide faster shipping, Amazon is building warehouses throughout the country. These warehouses constitute a "physical presence," which requires them to collect sales taxes, in any event. So, if Amazon is going to have to collect sales taxes under the existing "physical presence" doctrine, it may as well try to expand online sales taxes to whack its smaller competitors who don't have a 50-state network of giant warehouses.