While there are good reasons for exempting small businesses from certain rules, defining small is challenging. The federal tax law has numerous definitions (see "The Many Sizes of "Small," AICPA Corporate Taxation Insider, 10/28/10).
The reasons for suggesting a low dollar amount for "small" ...
- Ensure that the bulk of e-commerce sales are subject to the tax.
- Reality that there are third party collection agents and software that make it easier for small businesses to collect sales tax from all customer.
Reasons for a larger dollar amount for "small" ...
- To ensure that small businesses have greater likelihood of succeeding against large vendors.
- Costs to comply may exceed tax to be collected.
$30 million for small - saying that sellers below this threshold cannot collect sales tax from customers is puzzling. These are decent size companies that likely engage in many sophisticated transactions that are more complicated than setting up a system to collect sales tax in all states with customer (or at least those that meet the simplification requirement of the legislation).
One item I did not hear mentioned at the hearing (I watched the archived webcast) was that some good number of sellers, such as on eBay, are not in a business and would not be registered to collect sales tax. Customers will still need to maintain records of such purchases and self-assess the use tax.
I have a short article in the AICPA CPA Insider on the hearing and the small/equity issue - "Repeal of Quill Hinges on Defining Equity."
What do you think the sales level should be to define any small business exempt from collecting sales tax in states in which it doesn't have a physical presence?