Everyone is hurting including state and local governments. I get it. However, Massachusetts is going too far in their quest to dig up additional revenue.
Town Fair Tire is a CONNECTICUTT based company which operates in several New England states. Massachusetts is trying to make Town Fair Tire Centers collect MASSACHUSETTS state sales tax from Massachusetts residents who buy tires outside of Massachusetts.
Short version of the story
Longer version of the story
Town Fair Tire has a pretty good case. Massachusetts' order violates Federal Interstate Commerce code. I am surprised that New Hampshire is not jumping in on this suit (then again NH would have to be willing to spend a nickel to get involved).
Should Massachusetts win its ploy with Town Fair Tire, every state could force businesses to ascertain the legal residence of its customers in order to charge those customers appropriate home sales tax, in ADDITION to any local sales tax being charged.
Scenario: You live in Maryland. You drive into Philadelphia for the weekend. You notice a great deal on a stereo in a department store while there. The clerk at the counter is required to see your driver's license (or other valid photo ID) so they can collect both the Pennsylvania sales tax and the Maryland sales tax. So ... how likely are you to 'shop' while traveling?
In addition, do we really want to have to show identification every time we make a purchase? Do you smell Big Brother? I certainly do.
I will be following this case closely. I'll let you know how it turns out.