Net Sales Tax Remains Unpopular

As the commission appointed by Congress to examine the future direction of Internet taxation reconvenes Tuesday in Washington, D.C., a new survey shows Internet users still oppose a sales tax on goods bought and sold over the network.

The latest survey of 1,000 U.S. active, adult Internet users was conducted jointly by @plan and the Gallup organization. According to @plan, the poll indicates Internet taxation may well become a key issue in the upcoming presidential election.

Of those surveyed, 73 percent were opposed to an Internet sales tax while 14 percent expressed support. Also, 58 percent believed taxing consumer goods and services purchased online would stunt the Internet’s growth.

Sixty-seven percent of Democrats and 80 percent of respondents who identified themselves as Republican opposed the tax. Also, 36 percent of registered voters taking the survey said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who supported a tax on products and services sold over the Internet.

That news comes as the Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce is set to convene in Washington, D.C., to help Congress decide the best way to tax electronic commerce. Over the next two days, the group will address international, federal, local and state tax issues.

The group was established last fall as part of the Internet Tax Freedom Act, passed in October 1998. That act prohibits Congress from imposing any sales or use taxes on Internet access or any discriminatory or multiple taxes on electronic commerce for three years.

The commission first met in mid-June to address general concerns of Internet taxation. During its meeting this week, the group is expected to detail steps Congress needs to take to establish updated electronic commerce legislation.

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