Lawmakers Set For Another Go At Federal Online Tax Law

For several years, there has been a lot of talk — and a handful of legislative efforts — regarding a federal law that would give states the authority to compel online sellers to collect sales tax on purchases. None of these bills have passed, so it’s time to try again.

Congresswoman Jackie Speier of California has announced that she, along with “a bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives and two small business owners” will have a press conference Thursday afternoon to talk about the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013.

Without providing specific details, Speier’s office says this bill will give states the option to collect sales tax already owed under state law from out-of-state businesses, and promises that it will deal with some of the things that caused the The Marketplace Equity Act of 2011 (also introduced by Speier), The Marketplace Fairness Act of 2011, and The Main Street Fairness Act to stall out.

During its various struggles with states over the collection of sales taxes, Amazon has maintained that it would prefer a national statute on the matter. However, companies like eBay have opposed the previous bills, claiming they put too much of a burden on small businesses, even when they have included an exemption for businesses earning less than $500,000/year.

This is where we remind everyone that even when Amazon doesn’t charge you sales tax, you are still obligated to pay that tax when you file your annual return.

This is where the people who live in the handful of states without sales tax point and laugh at the rest of us.

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