As has been discussed here on numerous occasions, even though Amazon.com didn’t charge you sales tax on that laptop you purchased, you still may owe it (though very few people ever pay). Thus, once again, a bipartisan group of Senators in D.C. have introduced legislation that would require online retailers to collect sales tax.
The Marketplace Fairness Act seeks to both ensure that online retailers are collecting taxes while dealing with concerns raised by smaller e-tailers who claim they would be unfairly impacted by previously suggested regulations. The proposed law would exempt online sellers whose annual sales are less than $500,000.
“Some — mostly taxpayers and out-of-state businesses who enjoy being subsidized by the loophole — argue that we would create a new ‘Internet tax,'” write Senators Lamar Alexander and Mike Enzi in their defense of the act. “This is wrong. We are talking about an existing state tax that purchasers already owe. And it is a tax on all sales, not only Internet ones. Of course, our legislation would not affect the state tax bills of taxpayers in five states with no state sales tax.”
In a statement to Consumerist, Tod Cohen, Vice President for Government Relations and Deputy General Counsel at eBay, couldn’t disagree more:
This is another Internet sales tax bill that fails to protect small business retailers using the Internet and will unbalance the playing field between giant retailers and small business competitors. It does not make sense to expand Internet sales tax burdens on small businesses at a time when we want entrepreneurs to create jobs and economic activity.
Meanwhile, the folks at the Retail Industry Leaders Association are pleased with this latest move by the Senators.
“A true free market is devoid of government preferences and special treatment,” said Katherine Lugar, Executive Vice President for Public Affairs at the RILA. “The Marketplace Fairness Act will get government out of the way, restore the free market and close the loophole that has given an unfair advantage to online retailers like Amazon.com for over a decade.”
Marketplace Fairness: Closing the Online Sales Tax Loophole [NationalReview.com]
Durbin tries again with sales-tax bill aimed at Amazon [Seattle Times]