Internet sales tax could make shopping online more expensive for New Mexicans

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Enjoy your holiday shopping because it could get a little more expensive next year. With the state hurting for money, there is a strong push to start taxing all of those online purchases delivered to New Mexico.

Shoppers KRQE News 13 spoke with said there are two main reasons they buy online – convenience and value.

“It’s hard to get to the store because I have a baby and a 4-year-old,” said Camille Wilder, an online shopper.

“Everything you need just comes to your door,” said Brenna Hendricks.

“Find the cheapest price no matter what,” said William Young.

It is just some of the advantages online retailers have over local mom and pop shops, but New Mexico lawmakers said they want to help even the playing field.

“They’re not competitive with the internet people that aren’t having to pay taxes,” said Sen. John Arthur Smith (D).

Senator Smith sponsored a bill in September to get online retailers to pay the state a gross receipts tax, but that effort failed. Now the idea for an online sales tax is back.

“As part of a larger tax package reform,” said Sen. Smith.

Supporters of the tax said courts seem to be warming up to the idea of letting states decide on internet taxes.

“I think that the U.S. Supreme Court has sort of stepped back away from it, there’s an implied endorsement of states, move ahead,” said Sen. Smith.

Lawmakers said this would be much needed new revenue to a cash-strapped state.

“It was estimated to raise from $10 to $30 million per year,” said Sen. Smith.

People KRQE News 13 spoke with said an increase in prices does make shopping online less attractive but they see the value in the state benefitting from internet sales.

“Especially if the companies are out of the state, a lot of money is coming from the state and going into their pockets,” said Young.

Supporters of the bill say there are optimistic about it passing the legislature this session, then it will be up to the governor.

A handful of states including California and New York already collect sales tax from online retailers. About a dozen other states are pushing for an online sales tax.

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