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Electronic Commerce and the State Retail Sales Tax: A Challenge to American Federalism

  • Charles McLure
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    Electronic commerce, by magnifying problems with the existing sales tax, has precipitated reexamination of basic precepts of fiscal federalism in the United States, not just taxation of remote sellers. This paper examines: key features of electronic commerce; the Internet Tax Freedom Act and the Commission it mandates; tax assignments in the United States; problems in assigning sales taxes to subnational governments; constitutional impediments to requiring remote vendors to collect sales and use taxes; tentative findings of the National Tax Association's project on taxation of electronic commerce; and implications of the current debate over taxation of electronic commerce for intergovernmental fiscal relations in the United States. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

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    Article provided by Springer in its journal International Tax and Public Finance.

    Volume (Year): 6 (1999)
    Issue (Month): 2 (May)
    Pages: 193-224

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:itaxpf:v:6:y:1999:i:2:p:193-224
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    1. Fox, William F. & Murray, Matthew N., 1997. "The Sales Tax and Electronic Commerce: So What's New?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 50(3), pages 573-92, September.
    2. Slemrod, Joel, 1990. "Optimal Taxation and Optimal Tax Systems," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 157-78, Winter.
    3. Peha, Jon M. & Strauss, Robert P., 1997. "A Primer on Changing Information Technology and the Fisc," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 50(3), pages 607-21, September.
    4. Richard Bird & Pierre Gendron, 1998. "Dual VATs and Cross-Border Trade: Two Problems, One Solution?," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 5(3), pages 429-442, July.
    5. Austan Goolsbee, 1998. "In a World Without Borders: The Impact of Taxes on Internet Commerce," NBER Working Papers 6863, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Hellerstein, Walter, 1997. "Transaction Taxes and Electronic Commerce: Designing State Taxes That Work in an Interstate Environment," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 50(3), pages 593-606, September.
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