The proposal, currently working its way through the US Senate, would require web-based businesses to collect sales taxes from online customers based on the jurisdictions in which they live. The requirement would apply to all retailers with sales exceeding $1 million.
Supporters of the bill argue it would level the playing field for small brick-and-mortar businesses that already have to collect sales taxes on customer purchases. They add that e-commerce software is sophisticated enough to calculate the required tax for each purchase without placing an onerous burden on internet retailers.
Opponents say the proposal amounts to a massive new tax on small businesses and infringes upon internet freedom.
Murmurs are already appearing online from some web-based business owners warning that — if the act passes — they’ll change to an all-bitcoin model.
“If this law gets passed, I will be converting all my retail websites to accept bitcoin only,” reddit user maltedfalcon posted in reference to the tax proposal.
Other redditors, though, questioned such an extreme reaction.
“So you’d willingly exclude 99.999999999% of consumers?” asked user Sir_Lord_Bumberchute. “That’s a terrible business decision.”
“I wonder what implications this would have for bitcoin if any?” added user lalicat. “It would definitely invite further regulation to virtual currencies, if people started using bitcoin more to avoid paying taxes for goods and services they would eventually pass a law saying that virtual currencies had to be taxes as well.”
“I think it’s naive to expect positive reception about the future of BTC if we’re seen as evaders,” added user fried_dough. “In fact, I think we could pay taxes better with Bitcoin.”
Final voting by the Senate is expected the week of May 6.
“Time to buy me some more BTC. ;)” wrote Bitcoin Forum member BitChick. “Buy and hold and see what happens is the strategy we have been taking.”