Canadian border towns Blaine, Sumas in Washington state collecting millions in retail sales taxes from Canadians who order merchandise online, ship it to mailboxes on US side of border to save shipping costs

BLAINE, Washington , May 20, 2013 () – Report: E-commerce a big boon for Whatcom County towns, thanks to visiting Canadians

A new report from the state Department of Revenue shows that online commerce is a big boon for the Whatcom County towns of Blaine and Sumas on the Canadian border.

The Bellingham Herald reports (http://is.gd/seFJUq ) that many Canadians can save money on shipping costs by having items they order on Amazon.com and other sites shipped to mailboxes on the U.S. side of the border. A number of mailbox stores have opened in Blaine recently.

Blaine tallied $12.3 million in taxable retail sales in online commerce last year, a 58 percent jump from 2011. The city manager says Amazon, which must collect sales tax for products it ships to Washington state addresses, is now the largest contributor of sales tax in Blaine.

Blaine's economy depends on several factors, including the strength of the Canadian dollar and the ease of travelers crossing the border.

The Revenue Department estimates that Whatcom County could collect millions more in sales tax from online sales if Congress passes the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would allow states to more uniformly tax online sales.

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Information from: The Bellingham Herald, http://www.bellinghamherald.com

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