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BUSINESS
May 7, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - The Senate gave strong bipartisan approval to landmark legislation that could largely lead to the end of the nation's decades-long Internet sales tax holiday. Now the issue shifts to the more skeptical, Republican-controlled House, where the debate will revolve around one fundamental question: Does helping governments collect an existing and owed tax constitute a tax increase? The Marketplace Fairness Act, approved 69-27 Monday by the Senate, gives states the authority to require larger online retailers with no physical presence in those states to collect sales taxes that residents already are obligated to pay. Many states, including California, are expected to jump at the chance to start collecting an estimated $23 billion in total sales tax revenue that is lost to online, catalog and other so-called remote sales each year.
ARTICLES BY DATE
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 31, 2014 | By David Zahniser and Laura J. Nelson
A plan for increasing the sales tax to fix Los Angeles' broken streets is on a collision course with a similar levy being pushed for regional transit projects. Two weeks ago, the top budget advisor to the Los Angeles City Council said a tax increase is the only way thousands of miles of severely damaged roads and sidewalks will get repaired. A half-cent increase in the sales tax, which would generate $4.5 billion over 15 years, should appear on the November ballot, City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana said.
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NEWS
April 20, 2013 | By Jon Healey
When he was a senator representing South Carolina, Jim DeMint argued that collecting sales taxes on Internet purchases was an impermissible form of taxation without representation . He's continuing this meme in his new role as head of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington. And he's still wrong. DeMint's ire was focused on a bill, S 743, by Republican Sen. Michael B. Enzi of Wyoming that would require online retailers to collect sales taxes from customers based on the buyer's local tax rate.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 28, 2014 | By Laura J. Nelson
Hoping to garner voter and political support across Los Angeles County for a possible half-cent sales tax increase, transportation advocates gathered downtown Friday to unveil a proposal for a 2016 ballot measure that could fund a range of new transit projects, including a toll highway and rail line through the Sepulveda Pass. The tax proposal, announced by the advocacy group Move L.A., could raise an estimated $90 billion over 45 years and cost the average resident 25 cents to 30 cents a day, proponents said.
NEWS
August 1, 2012 | By Jon Healey
The latest argument from those who oppose sales taxes on Internet purchases is that it's "taxation without representation. " Where did this counterfactual meme come from, and how do we kill it? A typical example is an op-ed in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), whose anti-tax fervor seems to have clouded his ability to reason. He argues that requiring online merchants to collect and remit sales taxes just like their brick-and-mortar brethren would violate the "bedrock principle" that "citizens should not be taxed by governments in which they have no political voice.
BUSINESS
May 6, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- The Senate voted 69-27 Monday to approve legislation that would allow states to force larger online retailers to collect sales taxes. But the bill faces an uncertain future in the House as lawmakers, particularly Republicans, wrestle with whether the Marketplace Fairness Act amounts to a tax increase. The Market Place Fairness Act would give states the authority to force larger retailers to collect sales taxes that residents already are obligated to pay. But with most consumers dodging those taxes for years, the result will be that people will pay more in taxes.
BUSINESS
December 2, 2013 | By Michael Hiltzik
Although Amazon.com largely abandoned the battlefield in its long war against state sales taxes last year, the Supreme Court on Monday delivered the final articles of surrender. The court turned down the big retailer's appeal of a New York court ruling upholding a law requiring Amazon to collect sales taxes from customers there. It's about time. You can tell that Amazon knew defeat was coming from the fact that it already was collecting taxes from buyers in New York, pending a final ruling.
BUSINESS
June 30, 2009 | Andrea Chang
As revenue-hungry states eye Internet retailers as possible sources of new taxes, Amazon.com Inc. is firing back. Already, the nation's largest Internet retailer has cut ties with its affiliate websites in two states to avoid legislation that would require the company to collect sales taxes from its customers there. And it is fighting similar tax proposals in several other states, including California.
BUSINESS
April 25, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON - The Senate on Thursday failed to pass bipartisan legislation that would allow states to collect sales taxes from larger Internet retailers, but the bill cleared a key procedural hurdle and is on track for approval after lawmakers return from a recess. Momentum has been building for the Marketplace Fairness Act, which is strongly supported by most state and local governments and traditional brick-and-mortar retailers. But opposition from some online retailers, led by EBay Inc., and a small group of senators largely from states that do not have sales taxes derailed the legislation temporarily.
BUSINESS
September 5, 2012 | By Andrea Chang, Los Angeles Times
Chris Cheng doesn't need 40 hand warmers right now, but the longtime Amazon.com customer is loading up on them anyway. With the Internet retail giant set to begin collecting sales taxes on California purchases Sept. 15, the San Francisco resident is among many tech-savvy consumers trying to cram in some last-minute tax-free shopping. Depending on where they live, Californians pay 7.25% to 9.75% in sales taxes, so the savings are substantial - especially on big-ticket items such as electronics.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 18, 2014 | By David Zahniser
One year after Los Angeles voters rejected a sales tax increase, the City Council is looking at trying again - this time by tying the money to the repair of the city's deteriorating network of streets. Two high-level City Hall policy advisors recommended Tuesday that lawmakers place a half-cent tax hike on the November ballot that would generate $4.5 billion over 15 years. The proceeds, they said, would pay to fix the most severely damaged roads and sidewalks. Passage of a tax could add momentum to Mayor Eric Garcetti's "back to basics" campaign, which focuses on upgrading basic services.
BUSINESS
February 4, 2014 | By David Lazarus
Robin is buying a new car. Like all car buyers, she's done her best to haggle the price down. Now, she says, she's being told that she has to pay sales tax on the full sticker price of the vehicle, rather than the discounted price. Robin asks: Is that kosher? ASK LAZ: Smart answers to consumer questions When you buy a cellphone in California, you're taxed on the full retail value of the device instead of the much lower subsidized price you actually pay. As for cars, I had to check on this one with the State Board of Equalization.
OPINION
January 4, 2014
Re "Why execs, not companies, should face prosecution," Column, Jan. 1 Michael Hiltzik and U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff get it right. The lack of will to prosecute crooks goes back at least a decade, when our anti-tax members of Congress made the government too weak to prosecute the privileged and wealthy. White-collar crime has been effectively decriminalized. Most instances of government weakness can be blamed on inadequate funding. Part of this is because we have the poor and middle class hit the hardest by sales taxes while a transaction tax that hits the investor class is a no-no.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 24, 2013 | By Laura J. Nelson
Transportation officials in Los Angeles County plan to offer a ballot measure next fall or in 2016 that would raise the county's sales tax by half a cent or extend the life of Measure R, the levy voters approved in 2008. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and multiple advocacy groups say more transportation money would help expand the region's fledgling rail network, improve complementary service on bus lines, and speed construction and repairs on rail lines and highways.
NEWS
December 24, 2013 | By Catherine Reheis-Boyd
In his recent article advocating for an oil severance tax, The Times' Michael Hiltzik makes a bold statement, calling Californians dumb for not imposing a severance tax on California oil companies. He sides with hedge fund billionaire and environmentalist Tom Steyer , who has launched a campaign to impose a severance tax. To start with, Californians shouldn't believe that just because the state lacks an oil severance tax -- a levy on each barrel extracted from the ground -- it doesn't tax oil altogether.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 22, 2013 | George Skelton, Capitol Journal
SACRAMENTO - California is the only major oil-producing state that does not tax the goo as it's pumped from the ground. And that seems bizarre. After all, aren't we a high-tax state? That's what the antitax crowd keeps reminding us. And it's true for most taxes. California has the highest personal income and sales taxes. We're near the top on corporation and fuel taxes. Roughly in the middle on property and tobacco. Second lowest on wine. Overall, we're ranked fourth in combined state and local tax burden, according to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation.
BUSINESS
September 8, 2011 | By Anthony York and Marc Lifsher, Los Angeles Times
Amazon.com cut a tentative deal with legislative leaders Wednesday night that would allow it to postpone collecting sales taxes from Californians for another year. The company in turn would drop its battle to overturn the state's new law that required it and many other out-of-state online retailers to collect the taxes. Under the deal, Amazon would delay collecting taxes until September 2012, Assemblyman Charles Calderon (D-Whittier) said. The new law had mandated that Internet retailers start collecting state taxes in July if they had offices, workers or other connections in California.
BUSINESS
October 10, 2013 | By Chris O'Brien
With the iPhone 5c still widely available, the deals from retailers keep coming. First, Best Buy announced this month a promotion that gave a $50 gift card to customers who bought the iPhone 5c at one of its stores. That gift card could be used at the time of the sale to cut the price of the 16GB iPhone 5c from $99.99 to $49.99. Then Wal-Mart tried to top that by cutting the price of the iPhone 5c to $45 with a two-year contract. Wal-Mart had already been selling the device for $79. PHOTOS: Top 11 hidden, cool features in Apple's iOS 7 Now, Best Buy is firing back in the iPhone 5c discounting arms race.  On Thursday, Best Buy announced a new smartphone trade-in deal that runs from Oct. 13 to -19.  Customers are guaranteed $100 trade-in when they bring in any working smartphone (not just an iPhone)
BUSINESS
December 2, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera and David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - Amazon.com Inc. and other online retailers suffered a legal setback on Cyber Monday as the Supreme Court turned away their challenge to a New York law that requires Internet companies to collect sales taxes. Delivered on one of the year's busiest online shopping days, the court's decision is expected to accelerate the move by states to try to capture the taxes due on online purchases made by their residents. The court's refusal to take up the issue also increases pressure on Congress to settle the long-standing dispute between online and conventional bricks-and-mortar retailers and to enact legislation standardizing online sales tax collection.
BUSINESS
December 2, 2013 | By Michael Hiltzik
Although Amazon.com largely abandoned the battlefield in its long war against state sales taxes last year, the Supreme Court on Monday delivered the final articles of surrender. The court turned down the big retailer's appeal of a New York court ruling upholding a law requiring Amazon to collect sales taxes from customers there. It's about time. You can tell that Amazon knew defeat was coming from the fact that it already was collecting taxes from buyers in New York, pending a final ruling.
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