Who'll manage collection of internet sales tax?
I read with interest and some amusement the Jake Griffin story on Page One of July 11, and your additional comments the following Sunday, about the suburbs' share of online sale taxes the state of Illinois expects to collect because of the recent Supreme Court decision. It appears I missed, or perhaps you missed, one important point: how will this money you expect to flow into the state coffers, actually be collected?
Taken at face value, your articles show, yet again, the state of Illinois is counting eggs in a basket that at the present time, is empty. The dollar amounts are all neatly divided up among the suburbs and the wrangling over who gets what has already started. As a retailer in Illinois, the most polite thing I can say about the Illinois Department of Revenue, is ... well ... they are not very good at what they do.
They can barely keep on top of collecting sales taxes from Illinois clients who buy from Illinois retailers like me. Now they are expected to do the same for 49 other states? Will someone please explain how they will collect the tax when Online Sporting Goods in Boise, Idaho, sells a pair of baseball shoes to John Doe in Chicago? If the old Illinois "use" tax is any guideline, John certainly will not report it. How will the Revenue Department propose to collect this tax, or, for that matter, even know that Online Sporting Goods of Boise Idaho, even exists?
Mr. Griffin states that Illinois will receive an estimated $140 million in internet sales taxes this year, and they will begin collecting by October. Excuse me, but who is going to do this and how will it be done? Your reporting is sadly lacking on this important point. What if Online Sporting Goods of Boise, Idaho, tells the Illinois Department of Revenue to go jump into Lake Michigan?
Finally, who in Springfield is going to ride herd on the other millions of online retailers in the 49 other states and make them say "yes, sir" to the Illinois internet tax? To quote a famous line from the movie "Jerry McGuire": "Show me the money."