According to an article on Boston.com, the Maryland Bureau of Revenue Estimates is preparing a study on uncollected online sales tax that is due at the end of the summer. But the most interesting part of the article are the quotes it contains from the state comptroller and governor:
“The key point for Maryland is that the Internet industry is no longer in need of subsidies and tax protections and special treatment,’’ [Maryland State Comptroller Peter] Franchot said. “They’ve grown into behemoth companies that they currently are, and they have a responsibility to the states, I believe, that they do commerce in. Right now, they’re avoiding it on a technicality, which is `we don’t have a bricks and mortar company in Maryland.’’’
Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley wrote a letter to Comptroller Franchot asking him to investigate the issue of online sales tax:
O’Malley, a Democrat, noted in his letter that the state’s Department of Legislative Services adapted a study by the University of Texas to estimate that Maryland loses more than $160 million each year from unpaid taxes related to Internet sales.
“I am concerned that the failure of any subset of retailers to collect and remit sales tax has a negative impact on Maryland’s overall fiscal strength, including our ability to meet our priority investments such as public school construction or maintaining our Transportation Trust Fund,’’ O’Malley wrote.
We’re happy to see state officials speaking out on the issue, and we hope that they’ll let Congress know how they feel. Only Congress can let states require out-of-state retailers to collect sales tax, and each state’s representatives need to know how important the issue is to the state’s governor and other officials.