Should online sellers have to collect sales tax for all states?


A majority of Ohioans think it’s a bad idea to force online retailers to collect and remit sales taxes to states where purchases are made, according to a poll released Thursday by a conservative think tank that also opposes the setup.

The R Street Institute and the National Taxpayers Union say the results should prompt Ohio’s congressional delegation to think twice before backing federal legislation on the issue.

“From our perspective, this is a really dangerous expansion of state tax authority,” said Andrew Moylan, executive director if the R Street Institute. “We have a system where states are rightly sovereign within their own borders, but their power ends at borders’ edge, because we can’t have states trying to exert control over commerce in other states.”

But the head of an Ohio business group said his members support the “Marketplace Fairness Act” as a way to ensure in-state and out-of-state sellers are on even ground competitively.

“We think that all retailers — regardless if they’re online only or brick and mortar and online — they should collect sales tax,” said Gordon Gough, president and chief executive officer of the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants.

In Ohio, consumers already are required to pay sales taxes on out-of-state online purchases, whether retailers collect those taxes or not. Businesses with a physical presence in the state are required to collect sales taxes on purchases.

But federal legislation seeks to expand the authority of states to require out-of-state businesses to collect sales taxes and send the proceeds back to the taxation officials where consumers are located.

Read more about the proposal in Friday's Vindicator or on

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