Sunday, April 28, 2013

Online sales vs. local stores

A few days ago, we published an article about an impending Federal law that would require merchants who have no physical connection to a state, county or city to collect sales taxes for those locations. The good news is that the bill has been held up in Congress. There is still time to contact your Senator and Representative and urge them to vote this bill down.

Here are the issues:

State and local governments think they need money. They see taxing internet sales as a way to generate tax revenue that is not visible to the taxpayer. Since almost no one wants another tax, politicians think they can con the public into believing this is not a "new" tax, . 

This is a half-truth. A tax that we, as a non-resident company in your taxing district, don't collect, already exists in your taxing district. You are supposed to report the out-of-state purchase and send the local tax collector the amount of the tax. Some people do. Others do not, for what ever reason. If someone is unwilling to pay the tax directly, why should a company hundreds of miles away be asked to collect it for your local taxing authority?  And to do so without compensation for the bookkeeping cost and labor cost of doing it?

Yes. We collect tax for sales of Native American Jewelry to customers in our home state (Florida). And we get a small "commission" for doing so. We do so willingly. After all, we get the benefit of the infrastructure our local taxes support. 

By the way, there are thousands of separate taxing district in the country. Thousands of different sales tax rates. How can a small business keep track of all those rates and afford to file returns/reports for all of those taxing districts/rates? Doing so will only raise the cost to you as purchaser not just by the amount of the tax but also by the amount of the overhead for collecting and forwarding those taxes.

Hardly seems fair. And "fairness" is the other rationale proponents submit for creating this new tax collection protocol. They claim it is unfair for corner merchants to have to collect sales tax while internet merchants do not. Is it also unfair that online merchants have to pay (or collect for) shipping? Or that online merchants have to pay to design, maintain and host websites?

In the end, who pays for the government's greed? You do.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Here Comes the (Internet) Tax Man

Dear Customer: 

If you enjoy shopping on line and not having sales tax added to your purchase, trouble is on the horizon. 

Congress is considering a new law that will require online sales to be taxed at the rate in the buyers home state, even though the online seller is not located in that state. 

On passage, if it comes, the so-called Market Fairness Act, will require an online merchant - such as - located in Florida, to collect the Illinois sales tax from a buyer in Chicago. (what is it now? 10%?) In fact, if different counties and cities in Illinois have different sales tax rates, we will have to figure the sales tax for each town and county. This will be true for every district in every state with a sales tax. These tax rates will have to be added to your purchase price, in addition to the cost of shipping.

To be fair, some merchants complain that online merchants have an unfair advantage because they don't have to collect the tax that the local merchant does. 

Actually, the taxing authority requires the buyer to report the sale value and pay the tax directly to the authority. So, online purchases have not been tax-free. The online merchant just has not been required to incur the expese to collect the tax for a state in which it does not have a facility, or a vote and does not use the local infrastructure and services. (We used to call it "taxation without representation").

"Why are there online merchants, anyway", you might ask. 

1. Online merchants offer product inventory and selection that buyers can't find locally.

2. Online merchants tend to have lower prices, which benefit buyers.

3. Online merchants are available for buyers to easily compare prices.

4. Online merchants save buyers time, trouble and transport costs of shopping locally.

We have nothing against shopping locally. We do it ourselves.

But the advantages above will be diminished under the new law. And you, as a consumer will be the loser.

Why are some forces pushing for this law?

A. Governments need money and they are looking for ways to get it. Since they feel they can't trust you to pay the tax directly, they are conspiring to force someone else to do the dirty work, with no compensation to the online merchant for their efforts.

B. Large online merchants have facilities in states other than their headquarters. They must collect taxes there anyway.  To them this eliminates a benefit a small, specialized online merchant has, and squeezes a small business out. Ultimately, to the inconvenience of the public.

So, what can you do about it? Two things.

1. Let your Congressperson and Senator know you oppose the mis-named Market Fairness Act. 

2. Do your online shopping now, before the law can be passed and applied.

You'll save, and support small business in America. Thank you.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A day dedicated to Mom? It just doesn't seem right.

Given her significance in your life, dedicating just ONE day to mother seems totally inadequate. From carrying you for nine months (in considerable discomfort, I might add) to giving you your first kiss, you first hug, and your first meal, and all the hugs, kisses and meals thereafter, she is the embodiment of love. 

On this Mother's Day, May 12, just a few weeks from now, acknowledge all that your mother gave you with a vivid symbol of your heart-felt love.

Native American Navajo artists have created exquisite sterling silver heart pendants, finished with beautiful inlaid gemstones, that make unmistakable statements of love. One of the most prominent and popular Navajo jewelry designers is Calvin Begay. His designs and detailed inlay and channel work is cherished by moms who wear them, for both their beauty and their symbolism.

Any order placed with us at before April 28 can be shipped US Postal Service for arrival in plenty of time to surprise and thrill your Mother on Mother's Day. And the shipping cost is free, absorbed by us.

Choose the heart you want to represent your love, use our secure order form or call 1-800-305-0185 (also free) and tell us where to ship. We'll do the rest.

Happy Mother's Day to all of our beloved mothers.

PS: All our “Native American Jewelry” is authentically created by American Indian artists. Not “Southwest Style” look-alikes offered by some vendors, but the real thing. It is guaranteed to please or your purchase price will be refunded if it is returned with 10 days after Mother's Day 2013