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New National Poll Shows Overwhelming Support for Collection of Online Sales Tax at the Time of Purchase

October 8, 2013


Two Thirds of Voters Support Federal e-Fairness Legislation

WASHINGTON, October 8, 2013 — Today the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) released the results of a national poll showing that a majority of Americans feel it would be far easier to pay sales or use tax on online purchases at the time-of-purchase. The poll also shows an increase in support among voters for federal legislation that would restore basic free market principles for brick-and-mortar retailers.

“Americans increasingly recognize that this is not a new tax,” said Michael Kercheval, president and CEO of ICSC. “The results of this poll demonstrate that consumers want a sales tax system that supports their retail habits and gives brick-and-mortar merchants a chance to compete on a level playing field,” added Kercheval.

The national poll identified a number of key findings, including:

  • 78% of voters feel it would be easier to pay state sales or use tax on online purchases at the time-of-purchase rather than through special forms or when they file their income taxes. This is up three percentage points since October 2012.
  • 64% of consumers are aware that they are required to pay state sales or use tax on online purchases, if not collected by the online seller, when they file their state income tax. This is up by 23 percentage points since October 2012.
  • 64% of Americans support federal legislation that would require online-only sellers to collect sales tax at the time-of-sale, up five percentage points since October 2012.

“Brick-and-mortar merchants want the government to stop picking winners and losers so that all retailers can provide consumers with the shopping experience they have come to expect,” said Betsy Laird, senior vice president of global public policy. “It is abundantly clear that consumers support a modernized and streamlined sales tax policy that keeps current with the realities of the 21st Century marketplace,” added Laird.

ICSC has promoted sales tax fairness for over a decade, advocating that a “sale is a sale” regardless of whether the purchase takes place on Main Street, at shopping centers, over the Internet or with a smart phone. For more information about sales tax fairness and the current sales tax system, please visit

About ICSC

Founded in 1957, ICSC is the premier global trade association of the shopping center industry. Its more than 60,000 members in over 90 countries include shopping center owners, developers, managers, marketing specialists, investors, retailers and brokers, as well as academics and public officials. As the global industry trade association, ICSC links with more than 25 national and regional shopping center councils throughout the world. For more information, visit

About the Survey

Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) conducted a survey among two national probability samples, which, when combined, consists of 1,001 adults, 501 men and 500 women 18 years of age and older, living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this CARAVAN® Survey was completed on September 12-15, 2013. 651 interviews were from the landline sample and 350 interviews from the cell phone sample.