Senate OKs Internet sales taxes, bill goes to HouseSubmitted by ralph hornsby on Mon, 05/06/2013 - 18:18
Internet taxes? Not so fast.
A bill that would let states collect Internet sales taxes from online retailers and their customers may have sailed through the Senate, but it is expected to face much more resistance from tax-wary Republicans in the House.
Though the Marketplace Fairness Act, sponsored by Sens. Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, and Mike Enzi, Wyoming Republican, is a bipartisan bill that is backed by more than 20 House Republicans, supporters and opponents both agree it will be a “harder fight” in the House with billions of dollars in future e-commerce at stake.
“It’s definitely going to be tougher than the Senate vote,” said Claire Burghoff, communications director for Rep. Steve Womack, the Arkansas Republican who is sponsoring the bill’s sister legislation in the House. “But we’re really confident in its prospects that we can get this done once and for all.”
The Senate voted 69-27 on Monday to send the Marketplace Fairness Act to the House for final passage.
Technically, it would not create a new tax. Consumers are already supposed to pay sales taxes directly to the government when they shop online. But some studies estimate that as much as $23 billion in online sales taxes go uncollected each year, because many consumers don’t realize this.
So the bill would require Internet retailers to collect the tax — just like their brick-and-mortar peers now do. The government sees this as a more efficient means of collection.
“Some suggest this is a tax on the Internet,” Sen. Lamar Alexander, Tennessee Republican, said during Monday’s floor debate. “But every senator knows there’s a law against taxing the Internet. This is a tax that everybody owes that only some people pay.”
States have thrown their support behind the Marketplace Fairness Act, because they want these uncollected taxes to help fill their coffers. Brick-and-mortar stores also support it as a way to level the playing field. They point out that online stores enjoy an unfair advantage, because many consumers go online to save money by avoiding sales tax.
Roll Call of who voted on Amendment S.Amdt. 741 to S. 743