Taxing Internet sales will not level playing field
I just finished reading the article by columnist Bill Christopher in the May 30 issue of the Westminster Window on “taxing internet sales levels playing field.”
Until the present problems with the taxing system are fixed, the playing field will only get more uneven.
I see two major issues with this taxing effort.
Issue 1 — The postal service has a distribution system for all of the metro area. The main ZIP code for Denver is 802. With the last two digits indicating where the post office is located. There are many communities located outside Denver city limits that have the same 802 ZIP code.
The tax rate in Denver is one rate while the tax rate for each of the 802 ZIP codes outside Denver have their own tax rate. I am sure the other major cites have the same structure as we have here.
Here is what happens: I purchased a part at the Sears parts store on 104th just east of Washington St. in Thornton and it was delivered to my house from out of state. I give the clerk my ZIP code 802- - and I am taxed at Denver’s tax rate. Is this fair? I don’t think so. I have tried to convince them that this is wrong, but Sears will not change their methods.
I live in unincorporated Adams County which is taxed at about half of the Denver rate. I can purchase a car or appliance with local delivery and I am taxed at my residence tax rate. I made a telephone purchase from the Cannon Corp. recently and it was delivered to my house by UPS.
They also charged me the Denver tax rate. I wrote them a letter explaining the ZIP code situation we have here and that I do not live in Denver and expected to receive a refund of the taxes paid above my rate.
I was surprised to receive a telephone call from the VP of the Cannon Corp.
He apologized for using this method of ZIP codes and said he would pursue a different way of taxing purchases. Yes, I also got a refund of the excess taxes. With the variable tax rate all over the U.S., there needs to be a better way of applying taxes before any legislation is passed taxing internet and out-of-state state sales.
Issue 2 — When companies charge these taxes like Sears does, where do the tax dollars go? With the 802- - ZIP code, I have a feeling that my community will not benefit from them.
Either way, the state will always get their tax dollars. In order to have a level playing field, the taxing method had to be fair for everyone.
Making changes to this taxing situation will cost companies a lot of money if they incorporate all of the tax rates across the U.S. It will force many small companies out of business trying to become compliant.
It will also require communities to provide a method for collecting these taxes. We have a long way to go before any playing field is level.
Horace W. Clair