CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy supports placing sales taxes on products that are purchased and delivered over the Internet to customers throughout the state.
Sales taxes of six percent assessed on digital goods could generate additional revenues between $1.9 million and $4.3 million a year for West Virginia, according to a new study by the National Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, based in Washington, D.C.
"Each year West Virginia loses millions because it does not tax Internet sales. Like most states, West Virginia taxes the in-store sales of physical books, movies, software and games," the West Virginia Center pointed out in a statement released last week.
"But when these products are delivered digitally over the Internet, sales taxes do not apply."
Ted Boettner, executive director of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, said, "With looming cuts to child care and higher education, it makes no sense not to modernize our sales tax and treat all businesses, small and large, the same.
"Small businesses are an important part of our state's economy and they deserve a level playing field.
"Modernizing our sales tax to include more digital goods is a win, win situation. It makes our tax system more fair and brings in much needed revenue," Boettner said.
Michael Mazerov, a senior fellow at the national Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, just released a paper -- "States Should Embrace 21st Century Economy by Extending Sales Taxes to Digital Goods and Services."
(The report is available at: www.cbpp.org/files/12-13-12sfp.pdf.)
"States are losing more and more revenue each year from a failure to require the payment of sales taxes when goods and services are sold and delivered online," Maserov writes.
Those products include computer software, books, movies, music and games.
Today, 45 states collect sales taxes. Yet only a few extend their sales taxes to products purchased and delivered over the Internet.