Mixed views on proposed online purchase tax

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If you’re the type that likes to buy birthday gifts online, a new bill might put a tax on your next online order.

Bill 166-35, introduced by Sen. Joe S. San Agustin, seeks to include for taxation imported items arriving into Guam via the US Postal Service.

If Bill 166-35 becomes law, “every person who imports into Guam … any property for his use or consumption shall be subject to a tax in respect to such use or consumption.”

Here’s what a few island residents and frequent online shoppers have to say.

Maurine Muna, a local resident, thinks the bill is not fair because those who order online are already paying taxes from certain places that they’re ordering from.

“It’s already kind of a lot. Then, if we’re gonna have to add our own local taxes, it’s gonna be more expensive for us. I mean if we’re already paying a tax, why would they double dip for us to pay tax again,” Muna said.

Other online consumers told PNC that they are already paying extra for shipping and sales tax.

Under the bill, common online purchases such as clothing, books, tech, and even car parts could be taxed by the Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency basing the rate using Guam’s use tax of 4 percent.

But Desiree Jocson, another local resident, sees a silver lining.

“Maybe this will make people more prone to buy local because online, you already pay extra for shipping and sales taxes that may be involved,” Jocson said.

She added that the bill could bring in more revenue streams for the local government and may benefit small local businesses by enticing locals to buy local.

“It may be a bad thing as a consumer but may be viewed as good for local businesses out there, even though there are not that many options,” Jocson said.

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