Business

Last year for a tax-free Cyber Monday?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

You've probably seen the ads in the paper and online. Cyber Monday is just around the corner.

But Valley-based businesses say online retail giants have an unfair advantage - no sales taxes.

Starting late next year, however, online retailers may be required to start collecting a sales tax.

Small business owners in the Valley tell Action News it's about time, but not all consumers are happy with the move.

Cyber Monday is the biggest online shopping day of the year, and also the steepest online discount for many e-tailers.

Economic experts call it a smart business strategy.

"Now you are shifting from people having to go someplace to being able to sit down and explore the computer and that was wise on their part," Fresno State marketing professor Bill Rice said.

On Monday, Jodi Kaplan will be logged on and ready to spend.

"I am not a shopper I like to see what I see online and stay away from the crowds and get way better deals," Jodi Kaplan of Visalia said.

This holiday season may be the last time California residents, like Kaplan, get zero sales tax on most cyber buys.

If the federal government fails to come up with a national online sales tax, California's version automatically kicks in next September.

Many shoppers don't want the extra charge.

"I'd rather not pay the tax, but if it's equal I may have to compare the prices online and in the stores and go from there," Anant Patel of Visalia said.

Valley business owners are banking on it.

"It really doesn't give us a fair advantage so we just have to focus on having that special item and uniqueness as opposed to volume and customer service, number one," Marlene Sciacca of Chelsea Street Boutique said.

Visalia Vice-Mayor Amy Shuklian says the tax will pump money back into city services.

"Take a look around at your services, the sales tax that comes in for the city of Visalia goes into the general fund, the general fund pays for number one, police and fire, parks things like that," she said.

Today research firm Comscore reported that e-commerce spending jumped more than 25 percent on Black Friday compared with the same day a year ago.

It remains to be seen how much people will spend online Monday.

(Copyright ©2014 KFSN-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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