House passes online retailers’ sales tax bill

[private]The Georgia House voted 157-11 Wednesday to pass legislation — HB 61 — that would enable the state to collect sales taxes on products purchased over the internet from online retailers.

The bill would apply to online retailers that have $250,000 in gross sales or 200 sales a year to customers in Georgia.  Retailers would have to collect the sales taxes and remit them to the state, or send “tax due” notices each year to customers who buy from them.  Copies of the notices would go to the state revenue department and inform the department of the taxes due.

“It’s a fairness issue,” said Rep. Jay Powell (R-Camilla), the bill’s sponsor.  Powell said brick-and-mortar retailers in Georgia “are at a disadvantage to online retialers who don’t have to pay sales taxes.”

“It’s a tax that’s already due, it is not a new tax,” Powell added.

It is estimated that collecting online sales taxes would generate $274 in additional yearly revenues for the state, and another $200 million for local governments.

HB 61 now moves to the state Senate.

Upskirt photography a crime

The Senate voted 49-0 Wednesday to pass a bill (SB 45) that would make it illegal to surreptitiously take photos of a woman’s undergarments without her consent — upskirt photography.

The bill was inspired by the case of a grocery store employee in Houston County who used his cellphone to take upskirt photos of a female customer.  When the employee was prosecuted on invasion of privacy charges, the Georgia Court of Appeals found there was no prohibition in state law against such photography.

Sen. Larry Walker III (R-Perry) introduced HB 45 to amend the state’s invasion of privacy statute and make upskirt photography a felony offense, although the judge could reduce the charge to a misdemeanor.

“The general public was pretty shocked to find out it was not already against the law to do that,” Walker said.

“Would you agree that boys will be boys?” asked Sen. Valencia Seay (D-Riverdale), concerned that teenagers might be hit with a felony conviction for playing a prank.

“I consider this conduct egregious and criminal,” Walker said.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Jay Powell , Larry Walker , online sales , sales tax , upskirt photography