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New Voluntary Sales Tax for Online Businesses


The Alabama Revenue Department has devised a way for online sellers to charge and pay state sales taxes, if they want.

The agency is starting a voluntary program that allows Internet-based sellers to collect and report an 8 percent tax on all sales made to buyers in Alabama.

As an incentive, the state is letting the online businesses keep 2 percent of the tax revenue they collect properly.

The effort is expected to increase tax revenues from online sales. Often, online transactions aren't subject to the usual tax payments mandated by the state. Buyers have been supposed to figure out the proper sales tax payments on their own in the past.

The program should also provide some additional revenue as lawmakers attempt to plug a $200 million shortfall in the state's General Fund budget.

An initial special legislative session ended without a budget in place. Another special session begins Tuesday. Alabama's next fiscal year begins October 1.

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