JA Joins Alliance for ‘Tax Fairness’ Bill

Jewelers of America has signed and endorsed a letter sent to leaders in Congress, asking legislators for swift passage of the Sales Tax Fairness and Simplification Act. The Act would permit states to require that remote sellers collect and remit sales and use taxes on catalog and Internet purchases.
The letter signed by JA was also signed by a 100 other leaders in business, trade, and government associations, and unions—including representatives of the International Council of Shopping Centers, Retail Industry Leaders Association, Council of State Retail Associations, Council on State Governments, National Conference of State Legislators, JCPenney, Sears, Target, and Wal-Mart.

“The Sales Tax Fairness and Simplification Act,” (S. 34) introduced in the Senate by Sen. Mike Enzi, R – Wyo., and a companion bill (H.R. 3396)of the same name, which was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. William Delahunt, D-Mass., continue to face obstacles in Congress, said JA president & chief executive officer Matthew A. Runci.

“JA has been an advocate for sales tax fairness since the issue’s inception in 2002, and we will continue our efforts until Congress takes action to level the playing field between traditional jewelry businesses and Internet-only jewelry retailers,” he said.
The coalition letter, sent recently to Enzi and Delahunt, decries the tax advantage of online and catalog businesses.

“Brick-and-mortar retailers are required to collect state and local sales taxes, while many online and catalog retailers are not…. This uneven and complex system imposes substantial costs on retailers and consumers and costs states and localities billions in lost revenue,” the letter states.
JA and other supporters of the bill say they will work in conjunction with the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement, passed in 2002, which helps harmonize states’ sales and use tax rules, reduces the paperwork burden on retailers and incorporates new technology to modernize administrative procedures. The SSUTA has been implemented in 22 states.

“The states and the business community have made great progress in simplifying state sales taxes,” the letter notes. “We call on Congress to respond to their efforts by passing [The Sales Tax Fairness and Simplification Act]. The legislation will give states that have complied with the Agreement the authority to require out-of-state sellers to collect sales tax on remote sales.”
JA says that action will be required among state legislators as well. State governments must each enact legislation to implement the requirements of SSUTA. JA urges retail jewelers in states that have not yet complied with SSUTA, to write their local legislators pressing them to act swiftly. Jewelers supporting the federal legislation can also send letters to their U.S. senators and representatives.