Make Amazon pay its taxes

Minnesota sales tax is currently not collected from online retailers.

by Daily Editorial Board

With Internet superstores like Amazon growing increasingly popular, the Minnesota Legislature is questioning why purchases on these sites are not charged state sales tax. For the sake of hardworking local businesses, this bipartisan effort at the Capitol is the right move.

Whether or not you agree with sales taxes, this is an effort to enforce a law that is already in place; any argument that this is a new tax is incorrect.

Currently, people are using local stores as their shopping windows to touch and see products first hand, and then they turn around and buy them from an online retailer. It’s clear that this practice puts the burden on local businesses and not only they, but also the state itself, hurt because of it.

The argument can be made that local storefronts should move to further their online presence, but then consumers should not expect to avoid sales taxes or having the items available to physically inspect at their whim. The government should ensure that the playing field is leveled for each entity to have the same opportunities for consumers. That way consumers can decide which approach they prefer: perhaps cheaper, perhaps better quality and service.

If products online truly are cheaper to provide to consumers than their brick and mortar counterparts, they will still be cheaper after sales tax is collected, and online retailers shouldn’t lose any sales. The fact that local sales taxes are not collected should be the last reason people turn to the Internet for their purchases. Local retail stores should not suffer because of loopholes in tax collection.