Saw your story about the Direct Marketing Association finally realizing it “will have to deal with this [tax] issue differently” (“DMA Urges Simplest Remote Taxation,” May 7).
Since I seem to be the only direct marketing voice that has been saying this (in your publication and others) from day one, I’m delighted that at least one DMA hierarch has agreed. It was one thing (though I never understood why) to escape state taxes when that was limited to direct mail. It’s another when untaxed e-commerce threatens to wipe out a huge portion of economic middle-class small business, and with it the tax support needed by its communities. What has e-commerce done to deserve that?
I agree with H. Robert Wientzen that a single tax per state is the sensible goal. It would make even better sense if the DMA would suggest the mechanics for how that would work. So let me once again offer the Hahn plan … for whatever it’s worth:
1. Each of the 50 states is to submit a single, combined state/local community sales tax, if they wish one collected.
2. All direct marketers, e-commerce and others, are to collect that sales tax.
3. On a bimonthly basis, each direct merchant is to send to each state a check for taxes collected with a computerized (disk) record of collections by ZIP code. If no computerized record is available, a written record will do.
4. The state then will transmit to each community its share.
We still have the option of being a leader of having something much less desirable forced upon us.
Fred Hahn, President of Fred Hahn Associates