Online sales tax debate picking up steam in Nebraska


OMAHA, Ne (FOX42KPTM) - James Kavan isn't sure a recent United States Supreme Court ruling is in his best interest.

"It's going to be kind of annoying," said Kavan, a business owner in Omaha.

The court ruling in June paves the way for Nebraska to begin collecting sales taxes already owed on online purchases. Current law already requires brick-and-mortar stores to collect state and local sales taxes.

"It's a tax, so it's actually going to cost me money to collect sales tax on online sales."

Kavan told FOX 42 News Wednesday he believes the decision won't do any favors for mom and pop shops.

"There are some companies here that have to be freaking out because that's going to be a huge competitive disadvantage for them."

A big question now is whether or not there should be a special session called to get this issue figured out.

"It's big money," said John McCollister, a Nebraska state senator.

McCollister is one state senator pushing for a special session.

"Coming into the busy Christmas season, you're looking at perhaps four or five million dollars that would flow into the state coffers and also the various cities that levy sales taxes as well."

McCollister thinks at some point all 50 states will have some kind of Internet sales tax.

"I think the uncertainty isn't as bad as some people might think."

As for Kavan, he's not as convinced.

"That's something we're going to have to keep an eye on."

Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert says she wouldn't mind a special session to get this issue figured out. She recently wrote a letter to Governor Pete Ricketts. In it, she stated the advantages of a special session would outweigh its cost.

The Nebraska legislature recently debated, but ended up not passing, a bill that would have allowed the state to immediately begin collecting sales taxes on online purchases. During that debate, Governor Ricketts had said the state should wait for the decision from the United States Supreme Court.

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