WASHINGTON (WKOW) -- If you aren't already, you might soon find yourself paying state sales tax for things you buy online from out-of-state companies.
You're supposed to be paying those taxes in Wisconsin when you file your state returns, but most people aren't doing that.
Experts say as shopping online grows, it is costing Wisconsin more than $150 million in revenue. But a House committee looked at a bill Tuesday that would change that.
Right now, companies like Amazon that are not based in Wisconsin, do not have to charge sales tax.
Most taxpayers either or choose not to or don't know they are supposed to declare online purchases when filing their tax returns.
It means the state is losing out on money at a time when budgets are tight and traditional retailers not based online are feeling the pinch.
"A lot of big retailers are seeing lost business by people going in and basically window shopping in their stores," says Steve Noll, a marketing professor at Madison College. "They go out and look at the product. They touch it, feel it and all that stuff. Then, they whip out their phones and see that it's cheaper on Amazon, plus there's no sales tax."
A bipartisan proposal would let states require online retailers to collect sales tax, even if the company is based in another state.
It could hurt small web-only companies that don't have the resources to coordinate efforts to calculate and collect sales tax on purchases made from around the country.
The U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee had a hearing on the bill Tuesday.
It will soon be looking at a similar Senate bill.
Noll says there is a good chance this Congress will change the current law that hasn't been updated in about 20 years.
Click the links below to view the bills:
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