As we discussed in "Is Sales Tax Fair?", FairTax™, Marketplace Fairness Act and other issues affecting ecommerce retailers are hot topics as the 2016 Presidential election draws near. There is still a wide selection of candidates and where they stand on these matters is an important topic for all voters, especially small business owners. As states implement ways to add more taxes, the sweeping reforms suggested by these presidential hopefuls could either help or harm online retailers. Today, we’re going to take a look at where each of the candidates stands on matters of income tax, sales tax and related issues.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D-NY)
Income Tax: Favors rescinding tax cuts for those making more than $250,000.
Sales Tax: Reuters reports that she supports "allowing states and cities to tax online purchases" but claims she would not mandate it.
Other: Politico reports that while she recently stated that corporations and businesses don’t create jobs, big bankers "love Clinton…and badly want her to be president."
Former Governor of Vermont Martin O’Malley (D-MD)
Income Tax: In 2014, he cut taxes on the bottom 85% while raising taxes on the top 15%.
Sales Tax: Supported sales tax hike from 5 to 6% in Vermont in 2007. Supported increased in alcohol sales tax from 6 to 9% in 2011.
Other: Vows to "fight banks that are too big to jail and fail." O’Malley wants to repeal personal property tax on small businesses and has supported numerous fuel tax increases in the past.
Senator Bernie Sanders, Vermont (I-VT)
Income Tax: Supports a progressive tax system and wants comprehensive tax reform based on income earners’ ability to pay. Supports raising marginal income tax rate (the progressive amount that’s paid on a dollar, depending on bracket), from 39% to 50%.
Sales Tax: Voted "yes" on authorizing states to collect Internet sales tax in 2013.
Other: In 2013, he voted for the Marketplace Fairness Act.
Former Governor of Florida Jeb Bush (R-FL)
Income Tax: Has proposed tax reform that limits deductions, including home mortgage deduction. Opposes higher tax on the wealthy.
Sales Tax: Supported sales tax on service in 1987; then opposed it in 1988. Opposed national sales tax in 2000.
Other: Has supported compromise on taxes in the past. Supported "level playing field for Main Street vs. Internet sales tax" in 2001.
Dr. Ben Carson (R-FL)
Income Tax: Supports eliminating payroll taxes and IRS. Believes high corporate taxes are the cause of national debt.
Sales Tax: Supports a flat tax.
Other: Currently investigating pro’s and cons of FairTax. Supports a "tithe" approach to taxes.
Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie (R-NJ)
Income Tax: Wants to overhaul tax system "so companies stop leaving America." Has proposed 3 tax brackets, the highest at 28%. Has supported and voted for small business tax relief. Opposed a single tax rate in 2009.
Sales Tax: Cut sales tax on large boat sales in New Jersey. Signed Grover Norquist’s pledge not to raise taxes in August, 2015. Since he has been governor, income, sales and corporate business taxes in New Jersey have stayed the same, according to this 2013 Politifact article, however, he has reduced deductions that may affect homeowners and lower income earners.
Other: Vetoed numerous tax increases, however has raised New Jersey fees numerous times.
Senator Ted Cruz, Texas (R-TX)
Income Tax: Wants to abolish the IRS and adopt a single-rate tax system. Opposes higher tax rate on wealthy.
Sales Tax: Voted against states adopting Internet sales tax in September, 2015 and May, 2013.
Other: Opposed Marketplace Fairness Tax in 2013, saying it will hurt small business retailers.
Businesswoman Carly Fiorina (R-VA)
Income Tax: Supports tax reform and a simpler tax code. Opposes higher taxes on the wealthy.
Sales Tax: Opposed Internet sales tax in 2010.
Other: Supported more tax cuts in 2010.
Senator Marco Rubio, Florida (R-FL)
Income Tax: Wants to establish 3 tax brackets with the highest bracket for income earners over $75,000 for single filers and $150,00 for joint filers. Otherwise, Rubio opposes higher taxes on the wealthiest earners.
Sales Tax: Voted against the Internet sales tax in 2013.
Other: Wants to cut corporate tax rate to 25%. Has historically opposed tax increases and wanted to extend Bush tax cuts. Supported single rate tax system in 2010.
Governor of Ohio John Kasich (R-OH)
Income Tax: Supports no income taxes on small businesses up to $2 million. Supported tax cuts for job creators and opposes higher taxes on the wealthy.
Sales Tax: The Columbus Dispatch reported in February 2015 that his state budget included a $2.5 billion sales tax hike.
Other: In the same article, the Dispatch also reports that his sales tax hike is part of "his goal of eliminating the state income tax." No word on support for FairTax.
Senator Rand Paul, Kentucky (R-KY)
Income Tax: Supports eliminating payroll taxes.
Sales Tax: Supports a flat tax rate of 14 or 17% (sources vary).
Other: Voted against states collecting Internet sales tax in 2013. Has supported cutting corporate taxes in half in the past. Strongly opposes progressive taxes.
Former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee (R-AR)
Income Tax: Supports eliminating income tax and the IRS.
Sales Tax: Supports FairTax or a national sales tax. Supported Internet sales tax in 2002.
Other: Opposes higher tax on the wealthy.
Businessman Donald Trump (R-NY)
Income Tax: Trump’s tax plan provides for 4 brackets ranging from 0-25%. Low income families would pay no tax and reduces approximately 50% of American tax returns.
Sales Tax: Opposes FairTax.
Other: Businesses of any size will pay a maximum of 15% of their income in taxes. Plans to eliminate the death tax.
Former Senator Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania (R-PA)
Income Tax: Supports a 20% flat tax on income, capital gains and corporations while eliminating all deductions.
Sales Tax: Supported the idea of a national sales tax in 2011.
Other: Has traditionally supported cutting corporate tax rates to zero. Strongly opposes higher tax on the wealthy.
This basic overview serves as a general overview of these issues. As the campaign proceeds and presidential hopefuls drop out, more information will be revealed about detailed tax plans of the remaining plans for income taxes, sales taxes, budget and economic issues that affect retailers.