Douglas asked to join internet tax debate | RecordCourier.com
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Douglas asked to join internet tax debate

by Christy Chalmers

Douglas County will soon join a national debate on taxing Internet-based transactions.

County leaders have been asked to oppose federal proposals for extending a tax moratorium that is in place through October 2001. A resolution stating that position is on Thursday’s county commission agenda.

The action was urged by the National Association of Counties and the International City/County Management Association, a trade group for civic administrators.

Currently, goods and services purchased over the Internet are not subject to state and local taxes. Federal lawmakers are considering bills that would extend the current moratorium for five years, or possibly permanently.

Government groups say electronic commerce should be subject to the same taxes to maintain fair competition with traditional retailers and to protect state and local government revenues.

“Based on the important role sales tax plays in the state of Nevada and Douglas County, the collection of the tax should be pursued regardless of how the sale takes place,” County Manager Dan Holler wrote in a short memo to the county commission.

Internet taxes haven’t previously been discussed at the county level. Douglas County’s sales tax is 6.75 percent.

Dave Bolick, executive director of the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce, said Monday he wasn’t aware of the proposed resolution. He added that his group hasn’t taken a position on taxing Internet commerce.

The proposed resolution doesn’t directly ask for imposition of the taxes. Instead, it urges Congress not to extend or expand the moratorium until October 2001 and asks for “simplification of state and local sales taxes.” A letter from the National Association of Counties says the group is working on legislation that would let states collect taxes on electronic transactions if the states simplify their sales tax systems.

The current moratorium was enacted so an advisory group could study the issue and recommend a solution to Congress.