Initially introduced in 2013, the online sales tax bill has been revived by a bipartisan group of senators, reports The Hill.
The group, comprised of Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) and Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee), Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming), and Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota), re-introduced the Marketplace Fairness Act yesterday. The bill would give states more power to collect sales tax from business that don’t have physical presences within their borders.
A similar version of the Marketplace Fairness Act made its way through the Senate in May 2013, only to be shot down by top Republicans in the House of Representatives. House Speaker John Boehner wanted to make sure it would never surface for vote, which is something retail groups that support the measure weren’t too happy about.
Supporters of the bill justify the measure by arguing sales tax is one area where online retailers have always had an advantage over brick-and-mortar shops. However, a 1992 Supreme Court decision decreed that states are barred from collecting sales tax from out-of-state online retailers.
This time around, supporters of the bill face an even more uphill battle, since Republicans are now the dominant force in the Senate. When supporters tried to pass the Marketplace Fairness Act, they tried to pair it with the Internet Tax Freedom Act, which bars taxes on online access. This tactic failed, and the Internet Tax Freedom Act is set to expire at the end of September.
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