Locals react to Internet tax ruling

Published 4:34 pm Saturday, July 7, 2018

The city of Selma has mixed reactions to the recent Supreme Court ruling that allows states to charge online sales taxes.

The U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 on June 21 that gave states authority to charge online sales taxes. In past rulings, if a business was shipping a product out-of-state to a warehouse or office, the business didn’t have to collect the state’s sales tax. Customers were supposed to pay the tax, but most rarely did. The sales tax is now the responsibility of the consumer and not the company.

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Apple, Target and Wal-Mart are among the national retailers to start collecting online sales taxes. The smaller businesses must collect their own online taxes. The state will begin collecting online sales taxes on Oct. 1.

Sheryl Smedley of the Selma and Dallas County Chamber of Commerce thinks the ruling will benefit the city.

“More money flows back into our community,” Smedley said. “It’s extra tax dollars coming into our community. It adds to our revenue.”

Orrville Councilwoman Jewell Williamson applauded the ruling.

“I’m glad it’s being addressed,” Williamson said. “I think it’s a good thing if they can monitor it properly. It’s a market that has been untapped and now there’s a chance of getting some revenue from it.”

Candi Duncan, who runs the Holiday House, isn’t a fan of the new ruling.

“I think it’s bad and will hurt small businesses,” Duncan said. “It’s not like they’ll be getting a big chunk of change from the small businesses. It’s another way for the Government to collect more revenue. It’ll be more trouble for the Government to get the money.”

Gallery 905 Executive Director Nikki Gilmore said she is taking a “wait and see approach” with the sales tax ruling.

“We haven’t crunched the numbers to gather the taxes to see how this affects us,” Gilmore said. “It may be best to stay local. It’s different when people see paintings online. The colors of a painting don’t always translate online. There’s a lot to seeing a photo in person.”

At a recent Selma City Council meeting, Councilwoman Angela Benjamin cited the urgency of assisting area companies.

“We need to support our local businesses,” Benjamin said.  “We need to remember them.”