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Report: Online sales cost Az $708 million in lost taxes

Cyber Monday might have meant savings to consumers, but it could very well mean lost money for the state of Arizona. A new report says Arizona will see approximately $708 million in sales taxes go uncollected on online and catalog purchases from businesses located outside the state.
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Nov 28, 2012, 1:03 pm
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Besides costing the state, online sales also put brick-and-mortar retailers at a disadvantage, said Arizona Small Business Association CEO Rick Murray.

“How do we level that playing field?”

You don’t. Just like you didn’t level the playing field for the telegraph wire companies when the telephone came along, and you didn’t level the playing field for Standard Oil with their kerosene when electric light came along.

Online shopping is the future. Personally, I enjoy the convenience of being able to do it from home, pretty much everything I need to know about the product I’m looking at, and potential competing products, all right there. No commute, no lines, no crowds or rude sales clerks. Yeah, I have to wait a few days to receive my purchase, but the trade off of the product being placed at my doorstep is worth it.

As to the taxes, I don’t feel bad about it at all. The state has so many sources of revenue for what…a state of something like five million people? At what point does someone finally ask “Hey, how much money do you really need?” If you really want to solve this problem, build in the sales tax into the prices of the product.

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