Clicks, bricks and Internet sales tax
We live in a world of change. Always have, always will. It’s just that the pace of change is accelerating, and that’s a challenge for everybody to keep up. Just about everyone – no, everyone – is affected. Look at what e-mail has done to the U.S. Postal Service. Internet commerce has become a huge driver of change, so much so that the latest discussion in that regard is about how bricks and mortar stores will be affected.
A good discussion of that topic can be found at a ZD Net debate article headlined “Yes, clicks rule vs No, bricks live.” In it, one writer says that, “anywhere between ten and fifteen years from now, the makeup of what we call ‘brick and mortar’ today will be largely a cultural anachronism.” The opposing viewpoint is expressed as, “Changing business models are hurting some retailers, while others are thriving.”
One of the issues for state and local governments is the loss of sales tax revenues. That issue is now getting serious attention at the federal level. Even Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, who has advocated no new taxes, recently said in a letter, according to a Clarion-Ledger article, that, “Today, e-commerce has grown, and there is simply no longer a compelling reason for government to continue giving online retailers special treatment over small businesses who reside on the Main Streets across Mississippi and the country,” Barbour wrote. “The time to level the playing field is now, as there are no effective barriers to complying with the states’ sales tax laws.”
And the change goes on.