It has taken awhile — more than a year since the issue rose to the surface and that’s considerably longer than it should have — but as of today an issue of unfairness to Kansas retailers apparently will have been resolved.
That’s when the “K-State Official Online Store” will begin to charge state sales tax on purchases by Kansas residents. About time!
It was back in August of 2011 that the Journal-World called attention to the fact that the K-State operation, unlike its counterpart at Kansas University, was not charging state sales tax on those purchases of purple gear.
At last, Team-FanShop, the Florida outfit that runs the Kansas State store, confirms that it and the Kansas Department of Revenue have reached an agreement that the store will start collecting sales tax on purchases starting today.
When the issue initially was raised, K-State tried to argue that because Team-FanShop didn’t have a physical presence in the state it wasn’t required to collect the tax. That generally is the case, but the revenue department ruled otherwise. In fact, the department pointed out that the online store of a state university by its very nature had a presence in the state. K-State now says it has no objection to the sales tax being levied, but the school should be embarrassed that it took so long to address the situation and that it didn’t just step up instead of being forced by the revenue department and public pressure to do the right thing.
Kansas-based merchants who sell the same or similar items thus have a level playing field now and are not facing a competitive advantage from an Internet retailer that in effect can charge considerably less because of the sales tax disparity.
That problem is solved for one noteworthy situation. Congress should get busy and make sure that appropriate sales taxes are collected on all Internet transactions so that community businesses across the country are not put at the same disadvantages by online retailers — retailers who don’t contribute anything to the thousands of communities in which they operate virtually.