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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

A taxing effort

Good luck with that:

A law on the books since 1969 requires Hoosiers to pay a use tax, which essentially is a state tax for any purchase where Indiana sales tax is not collected. Online retailers that do not have a physical presence in the state are not required to charge sales tax.

So Hoosiers who buy merchandise and aren't charged a tax must report that on their spring tax returns.

Indiana Department of Revenue officials are sure plenty of people are unaware of this law and think they could be missing out on a tax windfall. Just 24,000 taxpayers in Indiana reported a use tax last year, yet 3.1 million filed individual income-tax returns.

I don't think the lack of reporting is just because many Hoosiers are unaware of the law. The law requires people to take an active role in paying their taxes, but they have been made much more comfortable over the years with a passive role. Income taxes are deducted from our paychecks. Sales taxes are handled by the merchants. Property taxes are taken care of by an escrow account with the mortgage company. Now they want us to keep track of our online purchases all year, figure out which ones haven't been taxed, add them all up, then multiply the total by 7 percent? Why, that's work! The nerve!


Wed, 12/01/2010 - 10:33pm

Be careful, Leo. You are, as Maxwell Smart would say, about "that close" to proposing the extension of sales tax charges on all internet purchases. To do so, would break down the "nexus" rule which protects sellers from the burden of collecting the various taxes at varying rates for some 40+ states, while opening the Pandora's box as to which state gets paid, the shipping state or the receiving state.