Internet Sales Tax Gains White House Support, Senate to Vote This Week

On April 22, the Marketplace Fairness Act—which would require online companies to collect sales tax—received official backing from President Barack Obama. It will likely be voted on by the Senate on April 24.

“This is simply about leveling the playing field so that brick-and-mortar businesses that depend on customers to survive are not playing at a disadvantage, competing at a disadvantage, and selling products that others are selling online but not collecting taxes,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney in a press briefing.

On Monday, senators agreed to limit debate and send the bill to a final vote. Passage would seem to be a sure thing based on the overwhelming support the Act received in a nonbinding resolution from the chamber last month. With presidential approval now assured, the fate of the bill lies in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, where some opponents view the legislation as a tax increase.

Opponents of the Internet sales tax are ramping up efforts to stall the bill in the House. EBay sent out an email to its members this past weekend asking them to petition their Congressional representatives to vote “no”:

For consumers, it means more money out of your pocket when you shop online from your favorite seller or small business shop owner. For small business sellers, it means you would be required to collect sales taxes nationwide from the more than 9,600 tax jurisdictions across the United States. You also would face the prospect of being audited by out-of-state tax collectors. That’s just wrong, and an unnecessary burden on you.

The company also suggested an exemption for businesses with fewer than 50 employees or less than $10 million in annual out-of-state sales (if Congress does pass the legislation).

The legislation has support from Jewelers of America, online retailer Amazon, and several other business organizations and associations.

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