Frugal Friday: Is the Internet Sales Tax Upon Us?
Happy Friday everyone! Can you believe that we have made it through another week already? I stumbled upon an article early this week on Yahoo Finance that included an interview with both Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. Gates was in town for the annual Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting and he and Warren are known to be good friends. What stuck out to me about this particular article was one of the topics covered – internet sales tax. I don’t know about you, but I HATE going shopping. And when I say hate, I do not throw around that term loosely. There are few things that I dislike more than shopping. I will do whatever I can to avoid it. I don’t know if it’s the money I am spending, dealing with the crowds or just the fact that I hate malls. Truth be told, it’s likely a combination of all three. My solution, and the one for many for us, is to shop online. I love Amazon or any online store for that matter I can take care of my shopping at any time of the day or night, I can do it from the comfort of my own home and I can usually score a pretty nice savings. Part of that savings is not having to pay for sales tax on internet purchases. While it’s not always a big amount, it usually saves you at least a few dollars with each purchase.
During the interview both Buffett and Gates were asked about their views on the internet sales tax. They were asked, I am assuming, because there is legislation working its way through Congress right now that would require online retailers collect sales tax if they have more than $1 Million in annual sales outside their home state. Not surprisingly, to me at least, both Buffett and Gates said they support the measure as a way to bring fairness to the retail landscape. I’ll be upfront now, I am not certain where I stand on this proposal and can see it from both vantage points and think both sides have some valid reasoning behind them. On one hand, I know that many brick and mortar retailers have felt the pinch through either showrooming or the inability to match the pricing offered by many online retailers. This, at some level, has impacted jobs as we have seen numerous brick and mortars close down over the last few years. Looking at it from store owners’ perspective, I can understand how they’d feel if they had people walk in their door find something they like and simply walk out because they can get it tax-free plus cheaper on the web. You could argue that they’re seeing this due to an inability to keep up and adapt to the changing marketplace, and that certainly would be correct to a point.
On the other hand, you look at a giant like Amazon and see how they have benefitted from not having to collect sales tax. Not only are they usually cheaper, but you’re also generally able to get your shopping done tax free. It’s great for us as consumers because we get to possibly stretch our budget further and buy more of what we want. However, is it really fair for online retailers to have this advantage…especially considering how many states are suffering from budget shortfalls? Wouldn’t they be able to benefit from consumers having to pay an internet sales tax? Sure they would, but would they manage the influx of funds appropriately…that’s a different question. This brings up an interesting predicament where not only are the rights of the consumer in play, but also the potential for brick and mortar stores to have a fair fight against online retailers. I personally do not think an internet sales tax is a simple cut and dry answer to the “problem.” Eventually, we’ll see online retailers adapt to stay in front of the changing market space. So far as the Frugal Rules household is concerned, we’ll continue to shop online even if the internet sales tax is enacted as convenience trumps the sales tax for us.
Blog Post of the Week
Why I Will Never Regret a Dime Spent on Vacations on The Happy Homeowner
I absolutely loved this post by Jen. It’s likely because I love to travel myself. Jen describes the memories you’re able to create and the experiences you’ll have through traveling the world. Traveling the world is not cheap by any means, but it really comes down to seeing your money as a tool to do what you want to accomplish. Would you rather use that money on stuff that won’t last, or would you rather use it to create experiences that you can take with you for many years. I remember when the travel bug bit me; I was 9 and my parents took us to Europe. I was instantly hooked. If this sounds like something you would like to explore then I encourage you to check out Jen’s post and stick around to see her pictures of Dubai…they’re so breathtaking that I just added Dubai to my list of places to visit.
Other Blog Posts That Ruled
Three Hands and an Action Plan – I’m a Mom on the Go on Canadian Budget Binder
The Dow at 15,000 – Now What? on Thrift Genuity
10 Reasons Why People Cannot get out of Debt on Out of Your Rut
When I Would Rather Spend Than Save on Debt RoundUp
Do You Trust Your Partner With Money? on Monster Piggy Bank
How to Navigate the Financial World after Graduation on The Heavy Purse
Odd Search Terms
Games of Thrones is my favorite show…Maybe you’d like to watch it on a new TV!
Hate being employed but hate being self-employed…Maybe panhandling is in your future
$1 Mother’s Day present…Don’t go overboard now!
Finance to meet festival expenses…Thankfully I’ve paid off my last festival loan
I have left your job…Good, I didn’t like it either!
What can you tell me…I don’t know, I wasn’t paying attention
Criminals working in fast food joints…You’d think you were in a prison cafeteria
Mother’s Day Game of Thrones gifts…Looking for some petrified dragon eggs for your Mother of Dragons, are you?
What are your thoughts? Would you stop buying things online if there was an internet sales tax enacted? Do you have anything fun planned for this weekend?
Photo courtesy of: Ihasb33r