A majority of U.S. likely voters want the Internet to remain as free from government regulation and taxation as possible (73 percent). This finding and others were released today from a study by the National Tax Payers Union and R Street (conducted by Mercury). The survey examined likely voters’ attitudes towards the new, untested Internet sales tax system under the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA).
Across the board, likely voters (57 percent) oppose changing the currently successful system for how states collect sales tax from Internet purchases – with 43 percent strongly opposing. These opposing voters largely include younger voters, heavy e-commerce users, and those with more liberal views on social issues.
Support also evaporates when likely American voters learn that MFA broadens the government’s ability to use the Internet as a tax collection tool. When framed in that context, 70 percent of voters noted their opposition to MFA while 23 percent supported.
The survey also reveals a telling picture of the reasons behind those who support MFA, with this category saying they “never” buy goods online (15 percent of the electorate). For sure, these voters are the farthest away from the issue because, unlike those who oppose MFA, they don’t rely on the Internet for purchases.
These results indicate that Congress should more deeply consider alternatives to MFA if they want to tax interstate sales. Internet taxes are unpopular, but empowering state tax collectors to go after out-of-state businesses is universally more unpopular.
View the full survey details at: http://www.rstreet.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Internet-Sales-Tax-Is-Congress-Listening.pdf