Sales Tax Fairness

A growing movement among Main Street retailers is for sales tax fairness. I am sure you have heard of this movement, in fact you may have already become a part of it. If you haven’t though, maybe you should. This movement impacts fishing tackle retailers as much or more so than any other retail segment.

The Sales Tax Fairness movement is to get online retailers to charge the same sales tax as you are forced to charge. Each state and municipality has a set sales tax that you are required to pay on each item sold. If you were able to avoid charging it and paying it, imagine how much you could undercut your competition. This is exactly what online retailers are able to do. Not only do they often not have the overhead of a brick and mortar store, but they are also able to avoid charging sales tax. By federal law though, they must charge sales tax on any in-state sales just like you must do, but any sale in which the product is being shipped out-of-state is a non-sales tax sale.

In the fishing industry many items, especially terminal tackle, can be shipped relatively inexpensively. These are the items many anglers are purchasing online and are therefore avoiding the sales tax. This is not only making it more difficult for you to sell your inventory, but it also hurts the state. The states are losing out on an estimated $24 million in much-needed revenue that they should have garnered from this sales tax. Eventually the politicians will feel this impact and something will be changed, but what are you, the retailer, to do before then?

You can start by contacting your elected officials and let them know how you feel about this. The quickest action though, is to offer something online stores cannot – personal customer service. Offering sales and deals can be a bit tricky due to the low profit margins on most items, but if you’re creative you can find ways to make people shop your store first. If you have come up with a creative way to combat online sites taking your sales, share your ideas with us on our Facebook page.