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All Growed Up

Jul
8
2005

This week’s eWeek column is about the possibility – the liklihood, I think – that the era of tax-free shopping on the Internet is coming to an end.
And I have to say, I have not gotten this much nasty mail in a long, long time.
The arguments were pretty straightforward: How can Congress do this? Well, Congress regulates interstate commerce. That’s in the Constitution. Besides, in previous years, they’ve exempted on-line commerce from state tax. The exemption cleared the way for the imposition.
The other argument is a bit more of a stretch: on-line taxes will encourage people to buy foreign goods directly. Theoretically this is possible. But, well, between customs duties, shipping costs and language barriers, it’s unlikely you’re going to see a whole lot of folks ordering stuff from other countries.
The deal here isn’t much different from the deal with Grokster or the Federal Elections Commission attempt to steer its way through campaign finance on the ‘net. The Internet isn’t a novelty anymore. It’s a way to conduct business. And everyday the entities that it’s allowed to prosper and grow – this site is a good example – are slipping into mainstream use.

Share  Posted by Chris Nolan at 11:55 AM | Permalink

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