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Taxing online sales a good move

Bills signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer are an entirely appropriate way for government to deal with businesses using the internet to sell goods and services to state residents.

Whitmer signed legislation ensuring that Michigan’s 6% sales and use taxes are collected on more items sold through websites such as Wayfair, Overstock and Amazon. Our singular reaction: it’s about time.

According to a Detroit Free Press story, the new measures codify state guidance that requires out-of-state sellers to pay taxes if they exceed $100,000 in sales or have 200 or more transactions in Michigan. With little doubt, that will add up to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of businesses large and small that will have to start writing checks to state government.

The Free Press reported the Michigan Retailers Association applauded the move, calling the laws an “early Christmas present of sale tax fairness.” It said the measures bring in-state businesses closer to true sales tax parity with out-of-state online companies. We couldn’t agree more.

If truth be told, we’ve always marveled how online entities — businesses and others — maintain that they should be exempt from the rules and regulations the rest of the planet adheres to. Because they’re online, they have some sort of special status that rest of us don’t have.

Of course, many have rode that pony all the way to bank. This new set of laws will take steps toward fixing that problem — at least 15 years too late.

— The Mining Journal, Marquette

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