Utah bloggers say online sales tax bill threatens their livelihood

Posted at 5:36 PM, Feb 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-24 21:45:41-05

CAPITOL HILL – A bill on Capitol Hill is pitting lawmakers against bloggers. House Bill 235 would require online retailers to start charging sales tax on purchases going to Utah.

That means merchants like Amazon, who partner with bloggers in Utah, would be classified as a Utah business, even though they do not have a physical retail presence in the state.

Angel Peterson is one of 10,000 bloggers in Utah.

She blogs about her passion, sewing, on The mother of three has turned her hobby into profits.

“This last year, I earned what I would have earned doing a full-time job,” Peterson said.

She says the proposal puts her livelihood in jeopardy.

“They're basically saying that I am now a representative of the company,” Peterson said.

She worries merchants will leave, and bloggers will lose out.

“I understand what they're trying to do with these big companies, but, unfortunately, they're not sticking it to the big companies, they're sticking it to the moms,” Peterson said

Blogger Natalie Martins also spoke about the bill.

“It's emotional for me because I've been through this before,” she said.

Martins runs the blog Two Wheeling Tots, where she writes bike reviews for parents.

The stay at home mom left California after the state passed a similar law. Now, she may have to pack up again if the bill passes.

“I know several bloggers who, and we may be in the position, are going to sell our houses and move,” Martins said.

Angel and Natalie understand the need for lawmakers to create a level playing field for online retailers and brick and mortars, but say they’re caught in the cross hairs.

“Amazon leaves, and then bloggers lose income, which means we won't be paying our state tax as high because we've lost income,” Peterson said.