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Should Online Retailers Collect Sales Tax? [AUDIO]

In his state budget plan, Gov. Chris Christie proposes requiring online retailers to collect the state’s sales tax on all online purchases and remit the revenue to the state. A new poll released Thursday by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind asked New Jersey residents their thoughts. The majority said the sales tax should be collected by internet retailers at the time of purchase.

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“Fifty percent say all retailers, whether virtual or around the corner, should be treated the same and required to collect the sales tax when the purchase is made while 42 percent say they should be allowed to continue not paying the sales tax for online purchases immediately when a sale is made,” said Krista Jenkins, director of PublicMind and professor of political science at Farleigh Dickinson University.

Consumers are legally required to pay the sales tax on all internet purchases when they file their tax returns, but it’s unclear how many actually follow through. Christie is banking that millions in revenue could be generated through forcing online retailers to immediately collect the tax.

“With the Internet increasingly used for purchases that are both big and small, exotic and mundane many consumers seem to have grown accustomed to saving money by not paying the sales tax when they make a purchase,” Jenkins said.

Almost three-quarters, or 72 percent, of New Jerseyans said they bought something online in the past year. Forty-nine percent of that group said they prefer to pay the sales tax immediately, but 42 percent said they want to continue the practice of not paying it at the point of sale.

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