RILA Survey: Holiday Shoppers Want to Pay Sales Tax

Nov 22, 2011 12:25 AM  By

One-third of consumers plan on starting their holiday shopping during the long weekend after Thanksgiving, and one in four plans to get started on Black Friday, according to a survey commissioned by the Retail Industry Leaders Association.

Twenty one percent of consumers say they plan on staying home and searching online for shopping deals on Cyber Monday. Nearly a fifth of those surveyed—19% —said they plan on doing the majority of their holiday shopping online.

As online retail grows, so too does the need for Congress to level the playing field by closing the online sales tax loophole, according to the survey.

Sixty one percent of consumers surveyed support Congress passing legislation that would allow states to require online-only retailers to collect state sales tax just like storefronts in the community, and three quarters of those surveyed did not know that when a sales tax is not collected at the point of purchase on sites like Amazon.com, it’s still owed by the consumer.

Legislation recently introduced in the US Senate would allow states to require online sellers like Amazon and Overstock to begin collecting and remitting state sales tax.

“Both brick and mortar stores and online retailers will compete for holiday shopping dollars, but the loophole that allows e-tailers to avoid collecting sales tax at the point of purchase means that competition is not on a level playing field,” said Retail Industry Leaders Association president Sandy Kennedy.”Government special treatment for online-only retailers like Amazon and Overstock means a perceived price advantage of up to ten percent against those retailers that are required to collect sales tax.”

TargetPoint Consulting conducted a phone survey of 600 adults aged 18 or older in states with a sales tax November 15-16, 2011. The margin of sampling error of the survey is +/- 4%.