Top computer execs call for simplifying e-commerce taxes

Computer World –

Top executives from major vendor companies today called for the Internet Tax Commission to develop an international tax policy that won't penalize businesses and consumers for conducting electronic transactions instead of brick-and-mortar purchases, according to a statement from the Computer Systems Policy Project (CSPP).

Based in Washington, CSPP includes CEOs from several major high-tech firm and works on public policy issues that affect the information technology industry. Dell Computer Corp., Cisco Systems Inc., Intel Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc. and IBM are part of the coalition.

The coalition's chairman, Hewlett-Packard Co.'s Lewis Platt, said the recommendations address the revenue concerns of government, consumers' concerns over taxes and "accounting burdens" imposed on businesses that participate in electronic commerce.

CSPP's recommendations include the following:

  • Any significant changes on taxes involving goods delivered electronically should wait while e-commerce business and the environment that supports it evolve.
  • Indirect taxes that don't apply to services in the physical world shouldn't apply online.
  • Future systems should take advantage of new technologies for collecting and administering taxes on electronic business.
  • State and local authorities should simplify the sales tax and classification systems, such as creating a single sales tax rate per state.
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