New Jersey Internet Sales Tax Battle Heats Up
Like many independents, Debbie Schaeffer, president and CEO Mrs. G's TV & Appliance, and Dan Schwartz, president of Karl's Appliance, face an increasing number of customers who want their company's knowledge and services, but demand they match Internet pricing - pricing that doesn't include the state's 7 percent sales tax.
Estimating that his company loses between 3 to 5 percent of its business to tax-free Internet sales competition, Schwartz recently decided to take action. "It reached the tipping point. I reached my tipping point," said Schwartz, whose company is headquartered in Fairfield, N.J., and has six locations. "It's up to me to start to do something, along with other people."
Earlier this year, Schaeffer, whose 77-year-old company is in Lawrenceville, N.J., and Schwartz separately began working with the New Jersey Retail Merchants Association (NJRMA) and the local affiliate of the Alliance for Main Street Fairness, which have been lobbying state legislators to pass a law, introduced in January, that would require out-of-state businesses to collect New Jersey's 7 percent sales tax from New Jersey consumers. The retailers are also campaigning state policy makers to reject Amazon.com's request for exemption from collecting New Jersey sales tax for 22 months in exchange for building two distribution centers and adding a possible 1,500 jobs in the state; a quid pro quo that Schwartz called "insult to injury."