Comments about ‘Are you a tax cheat if you shop online tax-free?’

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Published: Sunday, May 5 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Say No to BO
Mapleton, UT

C'mon people. The law of the land is negotiable these days.
Sure, I buy ink and toner on-line and don't pay tax. But I use it to print the ward bulletin and hand-outs for my class and my wife prints reams of paper for her Stake YW calling.
And you wouldn't deny my poor kids the printing of their school assignments, would you?
Let's be compassionate here. How about a little tax amnesty for good people who are only trying to do what is right?
We need a Utah Compact for taxes.

Sandy, UT

I cannot believe all of the defenders of the tax collectors. We truly must be a freeloader society after all. Otherwise there wouldn't be so many to so quickly chime in on the welfare state's behalf. What a disgrace! When is that free city opening up in Honduras? Or what about those floating sea cities? I am so over all of you freeloaders nickeling and diming me for more tax money. It's like any excuse you can come up with to take more of my money, you are all over it. You're like the mob with your hands out. I am perfectly fine with paying for my share of the roads, fire, police, etc. Those kinds of things shouldn't require that we go $16 trillion in debt with $1.5 trillion of deficits every year thereafter. You disgust me with your corruption and incompetence and downright mismanagement. I hope this scam passes. Who knows. The quicker you pass more dumb ripoffs, the quicker you might get thrown out of office. Until then, I hope you enjoy every penny you have stolen from me while I'm struggling to pay my own bills. Have a nice day!

Farmington, UT

I've had it added to an on-line purchase and not had it added.

Consider this: When you shop at a local brick-and-mortar business do you ask: "Did you make sure and add sales tax to my purchase price?" Of course not. Local retailers are complaining they are suffering a disadvantage because of the taxes not being assessed on purchases. Well, shipping is usually assessed for on-line purchases or the price is higher if the shipping is included. So much for the perceived "disadvantage."

What's really at play here is government thinks they need more money. What they need is to figure a way to make it simple to remit and collect. I remember a Christmas Tree Lot in West Jordan that had a sign stating "TREES: $25 - No Sales Tax" and after the City talked with them their sign was changed to say "Tax Included."

So get off the sanctimonious "you're a tax cheat" syndrome and get a system that makes it as easy as a local merchant to assess, collect and remit. Good Luck with that! No moaning allowed, either, goverment!!! The mess is your own making.

Woods Cross, UT

Are you a tax cheat if you shop online tax-free? Not when a tax is not mandated by law. Until that happens, to whom does the buyer pay the tax and how much? Silly question.

Redding, CA

Of course I don't consider myself a tax cheat, because I'm not going to be the gov't's tax collector, that's why.

Small (and large) internet businesses shouldn't whine about the coming sales tax on internet purchases. The next week after this law passes there will be competitive applications for your home and business computer. Certainly collecting sales tax on internet purchases will now be more complex, but this slightly underground business model will now become main street and most of all fair.

So sorry I'll now have to pay sales tax on my internet purchases. What? 7% 8% oh my gosh I can afford that easily. Small cost for fairness among retailers.

Many on line stores have products just not available in brick and mortar stores, and on line prices are at least competitive if not lower. I'll continue shopping on line without missing a beat.

Vegas POV
Las Vegas, NV

So Nevada doesn't have sales tax on food (groceries). If a person from West Wendover goes to Wendover to buy food, should the state of Utah have border patrol to assure that s/he paid their Utah sales tax and then go harass the store owners for not collecting the state taxes? If I, being from Nevada, shop for food (groceries) in Utah should I be required to pay sales tax on the food, when I don't have to in my own state?

Should all Evanston, Wyoming gas stations be required to investigate the destination of all fuel purchasing customers to assure that the fuel taxes for the roads used are appropriately assigned. What of the person headed to Montpelier Idaho from Evanston. Should the taxes be apportioned based on perceived miles per gallon of a vehicle to assure that Utah and Idaho get's their fair share.

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

I believe the tax is on the seller actually not the buyer but is passed on to the seller. So the answer I believe is No. It is the responsibility of the seller to pay the tax. For example, I often frequent a fast food place that charges an even amount for all purchases. It is wonderful. If something on the menu says it's a dollar, it's a dollar not a dollar and seven cents. I don't think the business is not paying the tax but has made the tax as part of the price and made everything come out even for its customer. (What a cool concept!). I don't throw extra money in the dish to pay my tax as it is part of the price. The seller of the product on-line can figure out how do the same thing in what it charges, the burden should not, and I believe is not, on the purchaser of the said product but the other way around.

Centerville, UT


"But if you report on your state income tax return that you owe zero use tax when you actually do owe some (e.g., you made a typical online purchase without paying sales tax), wouldn't you consider that cheating?"

The point is that when I buy from a retailer in California, Utah sales tax has nothing to do with it. So if California wants to go after the taxes from that company, they are more than welcome to. It's not my job to pay California sales tax if I am at my computer in Utah. I don't know what California sales tax even is.

Here is an idea though. Since there are too many state taxes to try to keep track of, why not say that all online purchases are taxed at a certain (low, ) percentage. The state gets a cut, the business owner doesn't take a huge hit trying to figure out what to pay, and the buyer already has the tax built into the price of what he's buying.

E & EE
Ann arbor, MI

@B Here's a better idea: how about government just figures out how to do a good job with the money already given to it before we decide to give it more?

Ricardo Carvalho
Provo, UT

To srw, I agree with most of your post but do consider tax evasion to be comparable to traffic violations. If I spend some $40,000 per year on purchases locally but buy maybe $1,000 of goods online from out of state vendors, one could argue that this is hardly material in my overall tax picture. In this way, it is a lot like going slightly over the speed limit. On the other hand, if I spend $40,000 per year in online purchases but do not pay use tax, that is material just as if I were doing 50 mph in a 25 mph zone and putting lives at risk.

Paul in MD
Montgomery Village, MD

@frogguy, when a company in California collects a sales tax for an item you, in Utah, purchase online, California isn't taxing that sale, Utah is. If California were taxing the sale, the accounting nightmare everyone is complaining about wouldn't be a problem at all - the vendor would charge the local sales tax rate and pay all the sales taxes to the agency collecting taxes in their area.

But that's not the case. This law would require each vendor to calculate the sales tax for the area you live in, and pay the state you live in the taxes they are charging.

@Mike Richards, the states aren't charging the companies for services, they are charging you. The reason they want online companies to collect the taxes (like every brick and mortar company does) is because almost every online customer is ignoring the law and not paying sales taxes. If all of us were more honest, this wouldn't be an issue.

It's like speed cameras (where they have them). If people didn't speed, the cameras would disappear.

The Rock
Federal Way, WA

Most people have no idea what a burden it is to require an online merchant to pay sales taxes.

I live in Washington State. I have to file my sales taxes quarterly and it takes me about four hours to complete the forms. I do not have an accounting department. I am all by my "onesies".

Collecting sales taxes and filing tax forms in all 50 states takes that four hour process and makes it a 200 hour process (five weeks for those of you in Rio Linda). So I would have to spend five weeks out of every nine weeks just doing my sales taxes.

Tax law is not uniform. Some states charge sales taxes on everything, others exempt food, others exempt clothes. Some that exempt food call Twinkies (when they existed) candy and taxed them. The definitions are myriad. There is no way a small entity can know if they are even in compliance with the law.

The courts have historically ruled that requiring merchants to collect sales taxes on interstate commerce places an unreasonable burden on these businesses. The courts were right.


For those who are calling others "cheaters," because they refuse to pay an online tax, I would ask: Do you lock your doors when you leave home? Do you lock your car to protect it from thieves? Do you carry a gun to prevent those who would rob you from doing so?

If you answered yes to anyone of the above questions, then, you are a cheat for taking measures to protect what you have worked and earned.

Salt Lake City, UT

One more way for Government to get its hands in my pants pocket.

Government ISN'T efficient.

Government workers ARE overpaid -- as opposed to 20 or 30 years ago when people traded job security for lower wages and benefits. Now they get security, high wages, they are less competent than the average worker, and there are three of them for every ONE it should take to do a job. If you don't believe that, you are either a government worker or relative.

Ogden, UT

Well, since the Federal Government sees the need to furlough me and not pay me for those days I am off, I guess that a few dollars here and there in sales tax won't make a difference whether I pay or not.

Mcallen, TX

How can you cheat a thief?

Manti, UT

I feel it is my duty to do what I can to make life as comfortable for my family as I possibly can. As for have to pay for roads, firefighters, libraries, parks, recreation, and other local services, I have done that with my vehicle taxes, income taxes and property taxes. If the government wasn't giving that money away in senseless entitlements maybe we wouldn't even need a sales tax. I can purchase out of China and have my goods here in a week with no sales tax too. If this internet tax goes through I can see internet business moving off-shore to evade it. I would. But then, maybe we need more $25 million in taxpayer funding vacant parking garages.

Salt Lake City, UT

This is a laughable charge. Most anything you buy has already been taxed numerous times.
My husband paid SS for 45 years. He paid taxes on that money extracted. Clinton comes along
and decides that those now collecting on that already taxed money, should be taxed again.
My mother worked many years, paying SS, but died before she was able to collect one cent of it.
Did the family receive those uncollected funds, hardly.
Government, national and state, are like the doctors of old who used leeches to extract blood
from the patient as a cure. Thrust that these agencies will use any means to extract your money
out of your pocket. Taxes are the live blood of politician to keep and maintain their positions and climb to something better.

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

I cannot figure out the DN censor sometimes.

I posted that the commerce clause says the United States Congress shall have power "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes." Congress, not the states.

I also reiterated what the Rock said:
Article 1 section 9 of the Constitution states: "No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State."

And concluded that Use taxes are therefore unconstitutional.

For some reason the DN decided my comment did not meet their criteria.

I also said I thought the Senate should not require on-line retailers to have to collect for every political subdivision, just for states. Maybe that was what the DN found objectionable??


When I buy from Amazon, QVC, HSN, etc., (the large retailers) I am paying taxes. However, this should not apply when I buy a book from somebody on Ebay because I just want a used copy that they want to get rid of. Not sure how this will apply to those very small sellers yet.

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