Local merchants react to internet sales tax ruling

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – Cath Shaw Truelove owns Bees on a Bicycle, an urban garden center.

They have an online presence through social media and a brick-and-mortar store on Market Street.

She said that when she heard about the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that could make online retailers charge sales tax to out-of-town customers she thought of two things.

“In a way that helps even the playing field, because there are some folks that because their online retailers are going across state lines there isn’t sales tax, where as here I’m having to charge sales tax here as a retailer that’s established,” Truelove said.

Her second thought, sales tax means money for the community.

“I think about kids and I think about education and school books and potholes and the ability for our roads to be smooth and comfortable and easy to drive on, and so that’s what a lot of taxes go towards when it’s applied locally,” she said.

” A lot of folks do utilize online retailers to pay less because they don’t have to pay sales tax and that is part of the reason this ruling happened is specifically Wayfair, the online store, was sort of touting the fact that you could go there and buy stuff and not actually have to pay sales tax. So that’s on some level a little bit of tax evasion,” Sam Young said.

Young co-owns Green’s Design and Supply, a healthy home improvement store on Frazier Avenue.

They also have a small online shop, but he said they’re working to shift to more of an online retailer.

He said the decision is a great thing, but didn’t feel the impacts on his business will be big.

“People may shop here in lieu of trying to go online and buy something cheaper because they don’t have to pay sales tax, but I don’t think it’s going to have a huge impact though,” Young said.

Hamilton Place Mall owner CBL Properties said in statement, “We are encouraged by this decision and believe it’s a positive step forward for the industry to level the playing field between bricks-and-mortar and online retail.”

Categories: Chattanooga, Hamilton County, Local News

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