Time to Stop Growing My Business

michelle chance-sangthong By Michelle Chance-Sangthong, CS Ideas, Inc I've been in online retail since 2001, so I've weathered wars, floods, and the Great Recession, not to mention the dreaded Google updates. No matter what the challenge, it never occurred to me to close my business.

The Marketplace Fairness Act has me rethinking that.

Do I really want to grow my business if that would mean incurring an additional $20,000 annually to collect and pay sales tax nationwide? I don’t think so. For now, I’m in the group of small businesses exempted from the proposed law because our sales are just under $1M a year. But what happens if some trendy product makes me an extra $100,000? The following year, I’d have to pay at least $20,000 in new expenses to accommodate this new government mandate. It would be simpler to open a second online retail business just to avoid the hassle.... but that is prohibited by the law. I'm stuck.

To make matters worse, if the Marketplace Fairness Act passes, businesses will be subject to sales tax audits by any state at any time. This alone makes me want to run for the hills.  I've already been through a sales tax audit in my home state. It cost me two full days of work for the state to find out that we had less than $200 in sales tax errors over an 18-month period.

Lawmakers like to say that small business is the backbone of the economy. If that’s true, they should stop trying to crush us under a burden of expensive and unnecessary regulation.