Re: TECH/GOV: Forget Net Taxes. Forget Sales Taxes Altogether.

From: Charlie Stross (
Date: Sat Mar 10 2001 - 13:48:28 MST

On Thu, Mar 08, 2001 at 11:36:16AM -0700, Chris Rasch wrote:
> Eventually, Congress will probably bless a system that allows the states
> to
> collect taxes on remote purchases - those made through catalogs or over
> the
> Internet - in exchange for the states' agreeing to simplify and
> standardize
> their sales tax rules.
> But allow me to propose a more radical solution: states should drop the
> sales tax entirely and substitute other ways of raising revenue. The
> sales
> tax is one of the worst taxes we have, and no amount of chewing gum and
> bailing wire will fix it.

Whatever happens, expect problems and headaches with the EU. The EU
as a whole has a VAT regime which is being "harmonized" across
international borders. Moreover, successive governments in the UK
and elsewhere have moved the burden of taxation off income tax --
which has been cut massively since the 1970's -- and onto VAT. The
exchequer isn't going to lie down and lose one of its two biggest
revenue sources without a big political fight.

VAT on physical goods is easy enough to collect at the port of import --
but soft goods bring in interesting questions.

This one will run and run ...

-- Charlie

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