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Do Ebay Sellers Comply With State Sales Taxes?

  • Alm, James
  • Melnik, Mikhail I.

The rapid growth in online commerce has eroded state sales tax bases. However, the extent of this reduction is difficult to estimate. In this paper we collect our own data from eBay.com on a “representative” commodity classification and a “typical” day. Our data consist of nearly 21,000 eBay listings generated by roughly 7,000 individual sellers with 9,300 buyers. We find that overall eBay seller compliance is quite low, but that compliance by established sellers is significantly higher. Given that established sellers account for the bulk of online commerce, the estimated revenue loss from eBay seller noncompliance may be relatively small.

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Article provided by National Tax Association in its journal National Tax Journal.

Volume (Year): 63 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 215-36

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Handle: RePEc:ntj:journl:v:63:y:2010:i:2:p:215-36
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  1. Gordon, Roger H. & Bo Nielsen, Soren, 1997. "Tax evasion in an open economy:: Value-added vs. income taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 173-197, November.
  2. Ballard, Charles L. & Lee, Jaimin, 2007. "Internet Purchases, Cross-Border Shopping, and Sales Taxes," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 60(4), pages 711-25, December.
  3. Donald Bruce & William Fox & Matthew Murray, 2003. "To Tax Or Not To Tax? The Case Of Electronic Commerce," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 21(1), pages 25-40, 01.
  4. James Alm & Mikhail I. Melnik, 2005. "Sales Taxes and the Decision to Purchase Online," Public Finance Review, , vol. 33(2), pages 184-212, March.
  5. Bruce, Donald & Fox, William F., 2000. "E-Commerce in the Context of Declining State Sales Tax Bases," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 4), pages 1373-90, December.
  6. Fox, William F. & Luna, LeAnn & Murray, Matthew N., 2008. "The SSTP and Technology: Implications for the Future of the Sales Tax," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 61(4), pages 823-41, December.
  7. Ferris, J. Stephen, 2000. "The Determinants of Cross Border Shopping: Implications for Tax Revenues and Institutional Change," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 4), pages 801-24, December.
  8. Garrett, Thomas A. & Marsh, Thomas L., 2002. "The revenue impacts of cross-border lottery shopping in the presence of spatial autocorrelation," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 501-519, July.
  9. Goolsbee, Austan & Zittrain, Jonathan, 1999. "Evaluating the Costs and Benefits of Taxing Internet Commerce," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 3), pages 413-28, September.
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