Pennsylvania plans to begin collecting sales taxes Sept. 1 by Internet retailers, including Amazon.com, that have a physical presence in the state.
State officials had scheduled the start of collection for Feb. 1 but pushed back the date after some online retailers said they needed more time to adjust software and systems.
Sales taxes on online purchases have become a hot issue in the retail industry. Online retailers cite a 1992 Supreme Court ruling that out-of-state sellers cannot be required to collect sales taxes unless they have a store or other physical presence in the customer’s state. The online retailers say a distribution center doesn’t count, even if goods from a facility are delivered within the state.
Pennsylvania officials say the state missed out on $345 million in sales tax revenue last year from Internet and catalog sales by retailers such as Amazon, which has a large distribution center in the northeastern part of the state.
The National Retail Federation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association have called for elimination of what they say is an unfair tax advantage online retailers enjoy over traditional brick-and-mortar stores.
Amazon, the largest online retailer, has dropped its opposition to federal legislation to allow taxation of online sales, and has struck deals with several states, including South Carolina, Tennessee and Indiana, to begin collecting taxes in the next few years.