Word of mouth communications and peer-to-peer dialogue often have a greater effect on customers, since they are not sent directly from the company and are therefore not planned. Customers are more likely to trust other customers’ experiences. Examples can be that social media users share food products and meal experiences highlighting certain brands and franchises. This was noted in a study on Instagram, where researchers observed that adolescent Instagram users' posted images of food-related experiences within their social networks, providing free advertising for the products.
The first hurdle for online retailers is determining whether or not they’re even capable of scaling their finance and tax departments to collect this tax. All told, there are more than 15,000 different taxing jurisdictions in the U.S., consisting of labyrinthine mix of city, county, federal and state-level taxes, many of which apply different rates to different categories of products and can vary based on what side of the street a customer lives on.
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Some companies voluntarily collect the Texas use tax, while others must collect it because they have some form of physical representation in Texas. An out-of-state seller is not required to collect Texas tax if the seller only conducts business in Texas from out-of-state by mail, telephone, or via the Internet, but this seller can choose to apply for a permit and voluntarily collect Texas tax from its Texas customers. On the other hand, an out-of-state seller must get a Texas permit and collect Texas tax if the seller has Texas outlets, Texas salespersons, or otherwise comes into Texas to conduct business, such as soliciting sales, performing services, or making deliveries. The Comptroller's office closely monitors out-of-state sellers to make sure they properly report and remit the tax they collect.
At the federal level Congress has repeatedly considered legislation that would affect large Internet retailers and how online sales taxes are collected in all states. The most recent form of a proposed federal law is the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2015. As in previous versions, the 2015 Act would allow states to require sellers not physically located in their state to collect taxes on online and catalog sales made to people in their state. Sellers that make $1 million or less in annual sales and have no physical presence in the state would be exempt from this requirement. States would have to meet certain criteria to simplify their sales tax laws and make sales tax collection easier before they could require sellers to collect the tax.
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