San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

U.S. to tax online purchases

Air courier and fast delivery companies based in Costa Rica may suffer the possible consequences of a new tax the U.S. Senate approved on Monday that taxes all purchases made over the Internet.

U.S. senators voted 69-27 to approve the bill, which now goes to the House of Representatives, where it faces opposition from some lawmakers who see it as a tax increase.

The law would force states to collect taxes locally on all products sold online, in catalogs and through television and radio ads. Under the proposed legislation, the tax would be sent to the states where the buyer lives.

The measure would directly affect Costa Rican consumers making online purchases in the United States of goods shipped via air courier services, mostly located in the U.S. state of Florida.

These services also were affected last November when Costa Rica’s Finance Ministry ruled that online purchases can no longer receive tax exemptions upon entering the country.

Under current U.S. law, states can only ask businesses to collect taxes if the merchandise has a physical presence in the state. As a result, many sales made over the Internet are virtually tax-free.

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