Lawmakers consider proposed Internet sales tax law

Posted: 8:00 PM EDT May 05, 2013   Updated: 5:58 AM EDT May 07, 2013
Online shopping

For years now, the IRS has been using the honor system in urging shoppers to remember to pay their state sales tax for online purchases, but all that could change if some members of Congress get their wish.

"Shopping online I like better because you don't have to leave the sofa. You don't have to get dressed," said Karen Allen, of Reading. "You're just sitting there in your pajamas and have anything you want come to your house in a day or two."

Many online retailers don't collect sales tax. Under Pennsylvania law, you are supposed to keep track of online purchases and pay sales tax later, but experts predict few people do.

A proposed bill would make it mandatory for most online retailers to charge sales taxes to customers in 45 states and the District of Columbia.

"If you got to pay in the store, why not pay it online," said Tony Capcino, of Hamburg.

"We pay a lot of taxes, so I think some of the elderly should get a break," said Terre Homan, of Leesport. "They deserve a break and those are the type of people I think do stay at home and do shop online."  

"I do think that's fair," said Allen. "You pay your sales tax if you go to the store, you should pay it while you're online."

It's one thing if you think the law is fair or unfair, but would it make you stop using that online shopping cart and switch to a real shopping cart?

"I don't think it really makes a difference," said Kina Graybill, of Sinking Spring. "I don't think about paying sales tax. I just pay it. I would rather spend a little bit more. It's not going to make me not buy online. It's not going to change it for me."

"Not at all. I just shop based on convenience anyway," said Allen. "If I know something is cheaper online than I can get it in the store, so I just do it on personal interest not because of tax."

If the bill passes the U.S. Senate, it will move onto the House. President Obama supports the bill, so if makes it to his desk expect to pay more at online checkout.