Avalara Taxrates > Blog > Internet sales tax > Shopping Apps Fuel Sales Tax Debate - Avalara

Shopping Apps Fuel Sales Tax Debate

  • Dec 13, 2011 | Will Frei

Technology once again drives the current debate about online sales tax collection. Janet Novack of Forbes reports that mobile shopping apps have spurred brick and mortar retailers to strengthen their call for a federal law requiring internet retailers to collect sales tax.

The apps in question allow consumers to scan the bar codes of items in a brick and mortar store and see if they can get a better deal online. Often they do find better online deals, partly because online retailers don't collect sales tax in many situations. Once they have found a deal, consumers can even use the app to make the online purchase right there in the store.

On December 10th Amazon.com offered customers a 5% discount on up to three items if they used Amazon's Price Check app to calculate competing prices from brick and mortar stores, and then purchased the products from Amazon within 24 hours (offer good for up to three items).

Advocates for federal legislation mandating online sales tax collection see these mobile shopping apps--and Amazon's marketing campaign--as exploiting an unfair advantage. Jason Brewer, VP of the Retail Industry Leaders Association, told Forbes that these online apps have added "urgency" to the push for federal legislation, and that requiring online retailers to collect sales tax is now "top priority."

To read the entire Forbes article go here.


Sales tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Avalara Author
Will Frei
Avalara Author Will Frei
Will Frei covers sales tax news including best practices, legislation and sales tax technology. He is the Social Media Manager at Avalara.