Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Hello, I am a Remote Seller

Hello,  my name is Michael Ginsberg and I am owner of 3Gstore.com and I am a remote seller (i.e. I am a little guy, your mom/pop type business).  After watching the senate hearings about the Marketplace Fairness Act, I feel like “remote seller” is evil, crushes local businesses, kills jobs and has caused all the financial problems that states currently have.

Let me set the record straight.

My business has grown over the years, BUT so has the number of jobs that I have created.  Some of those jobs are in different states.  I pay payroll taxes, income taxes, sales tax in Illinois, I offer health insurance to my employees and our customers love us because we are the most knowledgeable around on the products we sell, better than anyone else (brick & mortar OR online) and take time to provide support before and after the sale.  Yes, we even have english speaking Americans that provide tech support (fulltime employees all in the USA).

We spend a few hours a month doing our sales tax for the Illinois Department of Revenue for all the sales within the state of Illinois.  The Marketplace Fairness Act would require that we file tax returns monthly to up to 9000 plus tax jurisdictions.  The amount of hours that would be required monthly to file would be staggering.  It would be a huge burden to become the tax collectors for every state and every tax jurisdiction.

As I listen to the discussion on C-SPAN, it scare me when I hear senators talk about how the states will provide software to remote sellers to help with charging and collecting taxes.  Really?  So, I am going to have 50 different programs to run on my computer to help?  This sounds like a mess.  There are probably 100s of different ecommerce platforms that us remote sellers use, how are you going to create something that is compatible with all of those different platforms?  How many hours/days/weeks of time will that take to implement?

My business was audited by the Illinois Department of Revenue a few years ago and the audit took 12 months and we wasted a lot of time.  We gave them 5 years of sales data and after 12 months of auditing, all they found was that we didn’t pay use tax on some supplies we purchased.  Can you imagine if we are now open to being audited by all states and tax jurisdictions?

The Marketplace Fairness Act is NOT Fair.  Amazon wants this because it will put many of their smaller competitors out of business.  When they go out of business, many employees will be terminated and those job losses will hurt our economy (less taxes paid, less payroll, less disposable income to spend in each state).

Please do not burden us and make us the tax collectors, we do not have the resources to do this.  The states will not win, as there will be less disposable income being spent in the states.  The winner will be Amazon.com, as they will be able to use the government to eliminate their smaller competitors.  I don’t think this is the “level playing field” that many seek.

Change the definitions of smaller business, such as less than 10 million in gross sales or those with less than 50 employees should be exempt.

Michael Ginsberg
President, 3Gstore.com