live free or die from taxes.jpgMonday, the New York Supreme Court upheld a state statute requiring online retailers to collect taxes from New York residents.

The law applies to companies that don’t have offices in New York, but have at least one person in the state who works as an online agent — someone who links to a Web site and receives commissions for related sales.

It seems to me that freedom loving liberals and tax hating conservatives can agree that this decision heralds the end of the internet has we know it. What’s next, collecting taxes from porn sites? Instituting an e-stamp on emails? Government has been trying to get a taste of all that internet money for a long time. Don’t fool yourself, this decision opens the door for all kinds of government levies on the free flow of information and services on the web. Today, it’s a regressive tax on consumers. Tomorrow, it’ll be a two cent per word “sin tax” on text messages.

SCOTUS? Obama? Are there any “people’s employees” that are actually going to stand up for the people on this issue?

I keep using this term because it continues to be appropriate, but what we are seeing is Shock Doctrine decision making. Power players are using the financial crisis to force decisions through the system that people would never stand for under ordinary circumstances.

Officials estimated the state would gain nearly $50 million in the next two years from the tax. New Yorkers, like residents of many states, are currently on an honor system to report their online spending when they file state tax returns.

The power to tax is the power to destroy. And the New York Supreme Court just took down the energy shield. Beware, the AT-ATs are coming.

NY Court Clears Way for Taxing Online Sales [TaxProf Blog]

Court to Amazon: Keep Collecting Sales Tax [New York Times]

Amazon.com v. New York State Department of Taxation.pdf


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