Cyber Monday reignites calls for online retailers to collect sales tax

Advocates want date moved up

INDIANAPOLIS - Amid a flurry of Cyber Monday specials, those who want online retailers to collect sales tax are calling for change sooner rather than later.

Starting in January 2014, legislation nicknamed the Deal will force online retailers with a physical presence in Indiana to collect the state's 7 percent sales tax, just like brick-and-mortar stores.

But advocates gathered at the Statehouse on Cyber Monday, calling for the enactment date to be moved up to July 2013.

"We think that (2014) date is much too far in the future," said Rep. Ed DeLaney, D-Indianapolis, who coauthored the legislation. "The tax is owed, and a tax that is owed should be paid."

The earlier enforcement would come before the 2013 holiday shopping season, bringing in more revenue for the state.

"A study conducted last year by the Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute found that Indiana is losing $75 to $125 million annually in lost sales tax revenue due to online sales," said Grant Monahan, president of the Indiana Retail Council.

Members of the Indiana Merchants for Tax Fairness said retailers don't mind competition, but they want to level the playing field, the sooner the better.

"I know our sales over the last few years have been hurt by as much as 20 percent on sales that we have lost to the Internet," said Jeff Kinney, owner of Kinney Dancewear.

The bill will be introduced Jan. 7, the first day of the session. Authors said they have bipartisan support.

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