Study shows 86% of consumers prefer point-of-purchase sales tax collection online

May 15, 2012

International Council of Shopping CentersAccording to a press release issued yesterday, a study by the International Council of Shopping Centers shows that the vast majority of consumers—86%!—say that “it would be far easier to pay sales tax on online purchases at the point-of-purchase.” That’s compared to the current system, which requires consumers to track their online spending, calculate the sales tax due, and pay that sales tax with their income tax returns.

(For those still uncertain about whether sales tax is already due on online purchases: It is. You can learn more here.)

Among the revealing and fascinating results of the study are these tidbits:

86% of consumers feel it would be easier to pay sales tax on online purchases at the point-of-purchase rather than at the end-of-the-year on their tax forms, as is the current system.

61% of respondents in states that collect sales tax understand that they are required to pay state sales or use tax on online purchases if not collected by the vendor when they file their state income tax.

56% of consumers support the congressional effort to require online retailers to collect sales tax at the point-of-purchase.

We couldn’t agree more with the majority of respondents, especially having recently struggled with that “sales tax on online purchases” line on our tax returns. The system needs to change. Sales tax should be collected at the point of purchase online, just as it is on Main Street.

And we were excited to see that a full 56% of respondents support federal legislation on the issue. That’s a number that Congress should find difficult to ignore—especially when combined with all the feedback from state politicians who are letting their federal counterparts now just how much they need a national law (Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, Maine Governor Paul LePage, and many more).

The ICSC also supports federal legislation, as do we. The voices are getting louder: It’s time for Congress to act.