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Do eBay Sellers Comply with State Sales Taxes?

  • James Alm

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Tulane University)

  • Mikhail I. Melnik

    ()

    (Department of Commerce, College of Business Administration, Niagara University)

The rapid growth in online commerce has harmed state sales tax bases. However, the extent of this base 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 twenty-one thousand eBay listings generated by over seven thousand individual sellers with over ninety-three hundred 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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File URL: http://econ.tulane.edu/RePEc/pdf/tul1106.pdf
File Function: First version, 2011
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Tulane University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1106.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tul:wpaper:1106
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Web page: http://econ.tulane.edu

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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. James Alm & Mikhail I. Melnik, 2005. "Sales Taxes and the Decision to Purchase Online," Public Finance Review, , vol. 33(2), pages 184-212, March.
  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. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
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