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CBO: Digital Goods Bill Would Cost States and Localities $3 Billion a Year

September 17, 2012

Federal legislation that would restrict state and local governments’ ability to levy sales and gross receipts taxes on fast-growing categories of consumer and business purchases like downloaded music and movies, online photo storage, and payroll processing would cost state and local governments $3 billion year in forgone revenues, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) now...

Amazon’s New Sales Tax Collections in California Worth Millions — But States Can Still Do More

September 14, 2012

Tomorrow, September 15th, marks a significant milestone in the world of state taxation.  That’s when Amazon.com, the largest Internet retailer, will begin charging sales tax to its customers in California.

Not that long ago, almost no one paid sales tax when they bought something online — costing states billions of dollars that they could otherwise spend on our schools,...

Main Street and Internet Businesses Should Live By the Same Sales Tax Rules

August 8, 2012

In a Debate Club post for U.S. News and World Report today, I explain how states’ inability to require out-of-state Internet retailers to charge sales tax hurts local economies.

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Quill’s 20th Anniversary Should Be Its Last

June 11, 2012

An important milestone went unnoticed in recent days:  the 20th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Quill Corporation v. North Dakota decision, which has inflicted untold damage on state and local government treasuries and economies.  In Quill, the Court upheld a...

Proposed Legislation Would Threaten State and Local Revenues

May 29, 2012

Congress is expected soon to consider legislation that would restrict state and local governments’ ability to levy sales and gross receipts taxes on fast-growing categories of consumer and business purchases like downloaded music and movies, online photo storage, and payroll processing.

As we explain in a revised analysis...

How States Can Close Corporate Tax Shelters

February 27, 2012

Testifying last week before Maryland lawmakers, I explained why the state would benefit from joining the 23 states that have adopted a tax reform known as “combined reporting,” which treats a business composed of a parent corporation and one or more subsidiaries as a single corporation for tax purposes.

States without...

Why Tax Services?

February 15, 2012

Broadening state sales taxes to cover more services makes sense for several reasons, as my new report on estimating the revenue impact of such a step points out:

  • It can generate substantial revenue. States could generate $50-$100 billion annually by taxing all services that
  • ...

States Pressing Out-of-State Retailers to Collect Sales Tax

February 2, 2012

States and localities lose up to $23 billion in revenue a year in sales taxes that are legally due on interstate sales but that online retailers and other “remote sellers” do not collect.  That hurts local retailers, too, since they have to collect sales taxes but their online competitors don’t.

Fortunately, the past week has seen two significant developments in states’ fight to force...

Helping States Level the Sales Tax Playing Field

November 15, 2011

As I’ve pointed out, many states have taken steps in the past few years to chip away at the problem of uncollected sales taxes on Internet purchases, which cost states billions of dollars each year. In an essay in today’s Wall Street Journal, I explain why and how Congress can solve this problem once and for all.

Kicking States While They’re Down

August 17, 2011

With state revenues still well below pre-recession levels, the last thing states need is new federal restrictions on state and local taxing authority — but that’s exactly what they’d get under several bills before Congress.

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