NRF Pushes Congress Toward Online Sales-Tax Legislation

WASHINGTON-The National Retail Federation has urged the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives to support legislation that would grant states the authority to require online retailers such as to collect sales taxes.

The legislation, titled the Marketplace Equity Act and introduced by Reps. Steve Womack (R-Ark.) and Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), would enable states to require online companies that do not have a physical presence in the state to collect and remit state sales taxes. In a decision in the case of Quill v. North Dakota in 1992, the U.S. Supreme Court said states could only require out-of-state sellers to collect sales taxes if the company has a physical presence in that state.

A statement on Rep. Speier's website said online retailers "enjoy a significant price advantage over bricks-and-mortar retailers who do have to collect state sales taxes."

In testimony provided to the Judiciary Committee, David French, NRF's senior vice president, said the legislation would, in effect, level the playing field between online and brick-and-mortar retailers.

"Allowing states to capture remote sales-tax revenue equitably regardless of a retailer's business model is meaning pro-small business reform of a broken collection system," French said.

Press reports have said the movement toward collecting taxes from online sales is gaining favor with state governors, including those who had initially opposed these taxes. A story from the Associated Press said governors have been making deals with Amazon to collect taxes from its sales.

HFN Staff | News & Commentary

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