A bipartisan group of 53 U.S. senators and representatives has introduced legislation that would allow local brick-and-mortar retailers to compete with out-of-state Internet sellers.
While brick-and-mortar retailers collect sales taxes from customers who make purchases in their stores, many online and catalog retailers do not. Under the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013, states would have the option to require the collection of sales taxes by out-of-state sellers if states simplify their sales- and use-tax systems.
U.S. Sens. Mike Enzi (R-WY), Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) introduced the legislation in the Senate. “The federal government should not favor some businesses over other businesses and some taxpayers over other taxpayers. It’s time to stop discriminating through the tax code and put local and Main Street retailers on a level playing field with their out-of-state and online counterparts,” said Enzi.
U.S. Reps. Steve Womack (R-AR), Jackie Speier (D-CA), John Conyers Jr. (D-MI) and Peter Welch (D-VT) introduced the bill in the U.S. House of Representatives. “When a consumer can walk into a store, try out a product, and then go home and buy it online without paying sales tax, Main Street businesses and downtowns lose out. Our bill will level the playing field and bring much-needed fairness, strengthen our Main Street businesses, create jobs and revitalize our downtowns,” said Welch.
If enacted, the legislation would give states that have simplified tax codes the ability to collect additional sales taxes from online purchases of merchandise and goods. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, states are missing out on $23 billion in tax revenue annually. (NACS: www.nacsonline.com)