Possible online tax concerns local business - WRBL

Possible online tax concerns local business

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June Hastings of Cheshire Cat Gallery June Hastings of Cheshire Cat Gallery

The luxury of buying online and not paying a sales tax could soon come to an end.

Congress is looking at taxing internet sales, and that has some stores in the Triangle that thrive through online sales concerned.

June Hastings, who manages the Cheshire Cat Gallery in Cameron Village, said she feels sales will plummet if the store is forced to tack on a sales tax for out-of-state customers.

"It's not uncommon for us to sell a single item for several thousand dollars," she said.

 Along with the show room, the shop offers three websites specializing in Asian and high-end antiques as well as jewelry.

Hastings says tacking on taxes on a something like a $3,000 ring may send a customer walking away.

"If it were groceries they would pay it," she said. "But a luxury item is a different story."

 But supporters of the Marketplace Fairness Act say it's only fair that online sales get the same treatment as brick and mortar sales.

Lawmakers say billions of state revenue could be gained with the new taxes.

Shoppers who spoke with WNCN Monday had split reaction.

"Not having to pay taxes for out-of-state items? That is a draw," said one shopper, Marlea Ward.

But another shopper, Doug Waller, said, "Different states need to collect that revenue. I think it's a very good idea."

But for merchants who may financially suffer from new taxes on internet sales, this is a concern.

"I think there are other ways of generating money," Hastings said.

A recent Quinnipiac poll shows that the  majority of voters don't want to pay state sales taxes on internet purchases. A total of 57 percent were against taxing online sales, while 37 percent were for it.

Melanie Sanders

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