First Christmas season with required online sales tax


By Lydia Nusbaum

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) – Brick and mortar shops are looking forward to this Christmas season, especially with the state now requiring online stores to collect a sales tax.

“So it really leveled the playing field. It took away the competitive disadvantage that online retailers had over local retailers,” said Melissa Warnke, with the Alabama Retail Association.

A supreme court ruling required online stores to collect a sales tax beginning Oct. 1, 2018. Since the beginning of January in 2018, the state has brought in $79 million in online sales tax collection.

The retail association said physical shops are excited because a sales tax won’t stop someone from going to their store.

“Now shoppers have the opportunity to go shopping and make their decision based on price of an item. Based on the experience they’re going to have,” Warnke said.

Since the tax went into effect, the state received over $3 million more in October 2018 than in October of 2017.

“The money you spend with a local business is reinvested back into your own community in the form of supporting the infrastructure that you rely on,” she said.

She said this has been one of the best seasons yet. The low unemployment rate and high consumer confidence are some reasons why.

“It’s been one of the biggest and one of the best holiday season for many retailers in the history of all their Christmas seasons,” Warnke said.

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