Hi. I'm AccountingWEB Staff Writer Jason Bramwell, and welcome to our first installment of "Bramwell's Lunch Beat." Each weekday around lunchtime, I'll provide you, the accounting and finance professional, with some bite-sized summaries and links to news articles that may be of interest.
So heat up that slice of pepperoni pizza or unwrap that peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and enjoy today's "Bramwell's Lunch Beat" menu items for December 2.
Supreme Court declines case on making online retailers collect sales taxes
The Washington Postreported that the US Supreme Court on Cyber Monday decided not to hear a case concerning state efforts to force online retailers, such as Amazon, to collect sales tax from customers in states where they don't have a physical presence.
"The issue – ending what for many Americans is tax-free online shopping – is one of the most important in modern retailing. Traditional brick-and-mortar businesses say the online retailers receive an unfair advantage by not collecting sales tax in some areas", the article stated.
The court gave no explanation for turning down petitions from Amazon and Overstock.com to review a decision by New York's highest court to uphold that state's 2008 law requiring sales tax collections.
Sales tax legislation on retailers' shopping list
Because it's Cyber Monday, check out this article from USA Today that nicely summarizes the Marketplace Fairness Act. The legislation, which was approved by the Senate in May and is awaiting action in the House, would allow states to collect state taxes across state lines – even from companies located in other states. At least 156 companies and organizations are registered as lobbying on the issue.
Punching bag IRS unscathed in Obamacare rollout, so far . . .
The IRS' ability to accept and process data on income and health insurance plans from the Department of Health and Human Services appears to be working, and the logjam created by the faulty HealthCare.gov has not extended to the IRS, according to Politico.
"It's a welcome reprieve for the agency, which has spent the last six months recovering from a series of controversies over targeting conservative groups and lavish spending", the article stated.
Bitcoin's $13.50 to $1,200 eleven-month climb – now taxes
If you bought Bitcoin at $13.50 more than eleven months ago, it's now worth more than $1,000 – that's over 5,000 percent appreciation in less than a year. Once created, Bitcoins can be traded or used to purchase goods and services. Still, the peer-to-peer nature of Bitcoin doesn't obviate taxes, as Forbesexplained.
Cigarette tax hike in Chicago makes a pack of smokes in the windy city the priciest in the nation
Chicago may be known as the "Second City", but it will be first when it comes to having the highest cigarette tax in the nation. The Chicago City Council approved a fifty-cent per-pack tax hike as part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's 2014 budget, the Huffington Postreported.
In combination with state and local taxes, the city tax increase pushes the total taxes on cigarettes sold in Chicago to $7.17 a pack, which is thirty-one cents higher than New York City's $6.86 per-pack tax. The fifty-cent tax increase is expected to bring in $7 million for the city.