Just for the record, if congress passes this Internet Sales Tax bill, I will be officially shutting down whatever official bits of my business I have been able to construct.
I was willing to jump through all these hoops and wait all this time and pay these fees for one state. I will never do it for fifty. I keep hearing about all these tiny "brick and mortar" stores who feel disadvantaged because they're losing business to the internet. Tough beans; that's the free market. Maybe these little brick and mortar shops should get websites. At the most basic level, it doesn't take much to set up an Ebay store. In fact, it takes almost no effort at all. Sorry, no sympathy.
In the meantime, the solution seems to be to let all fifty states charge sales tax on internet transactions. When you have a license to collect and hold sales tax, you have to file every month regardless of whether you owe anything. Imagine little Etsy stores being required to file with FIFTY different offices EVERY MONTH. It's a paperwork nightmare. Never mind the fiscal imbalance in time, manpower, and record-keeping required to collect chump change from thousands of individuals each month. Can you imagine, as an infinitesimally small business owner, being audited by some random state for those $3 you allegedly owe? What a pain in the butt.
Apparently the states will be required to provide software that will be embedded in every American retail website to calculate these taxes. Is every state going to embed it's own program? Is it going to be some strange conglomerate? Will these websites appreciate having strange code embedded in their design? We've all seen how slick and efficient government websites can be (*sarcasm*). It seems to me that if they want to collect sales tax on all online transactions, the onus should be on them to collect it from their own citizens who are doing the buying. But they would, of course, have to come up with some invasive and inconvenient way to doing that as well, so there really is no great alternative.
I sent my form letter to all my elected officials (though I elected none of them), proposing Ebay's solution. The idea is to exempt from these new internet sales taxes all sellers who generate less than $10 million in income each year. The popular statistic is that Amazon does $10 million every ninety minutes. Or maybe we could just pay a flat rate percentage income tax across the board and do away with this pesky sales tax altogether. But nobody asked me.
I suppose the last option for me would be to exclusively attend craft fairs within the state. What a lovely way to squelch free enterprise.