Internet sales tax could be forced at purchase
BATON ROUGE - Online shoppers could be in for a surprise if lawmakers pass a bill that would allow states to require Internet retailers to charge sales tax on out-of-state purchases.
Right now, companies that sell online but don't have a "brick-and-mortar" presence in the state aren't required to collect sales tax. In Louisiana customers are obligated to pay sales tax on Internet purchases through the Consumer Use Tax, but that is often overlooked.
Last year, only 13,000 people of the 1.8 million who filed state tax returns in Louisiana reported making any online purchases.
Local retailers think the lack of a charged sales tax for some Internet retailers is giving them unfair competition. Employees at Fleet Feet Sports spend time fitting customers with the perfect shoe, but sometimes those customers walk out and look for a better deal online.
"Of course we want everyone in the right shoe, in the right stability, so we do take time to fit our customers, many people leave without buying shoes, are they going to buy online or elsewhere, we don't know," said Michelle LeBlanc, who owns Fleet Feet Sports in Baton Rouge.
The bill is being debated in the Senate after passing a procedural vote 74-20. It's expected to be voted on by the end of the week.