On May 6, 2013, legislation that would force remote retailers to collect
sales tax on remote sales passed the U.S. Senate. The measure, championed by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), passed the Senate with a significant majority despite growing opposition from conservative anti-tax advocates, financial service interests and various business coalitions.
While a milestone in the ongoing Online Sales Tax debate, this outcome was expected by ERA and its allies in TRuST pushing for true simplification of the proposals language that would not pose undue and harmful burdens upon the ERA membership and the larger marketing community. Working with the American Catalog Mailers Association, NetChoice and the DMA, we continue to advocate for the industry. This advocacy position is spelled out in detail atwww.truesimplification.org.
The fate of the so-called Marketplace Fairness Act now resides in the U.S. House of Representatives, where there is less appetite for passage. Currently, the House leadership has not been active or vocal on the issue and the chairman of the committee with jurisdiction has indicated serious reservations about the bill’s language. However, those advocating for passage continue to funnel massive financial resources to push for continued movement. Further analysis suggests that the issue will move slowly for now through the House process, as other priority issues like immigration currently have precedence on the legislative calendar. The LA Times has written a great article on the current status.
While the outlook for Online Sales Tax legislation is cloudy in the House, this week big-box retailers are here in Washington, D.C., lobbying members of the House for passage. In response, ERA is hosting its annual Government Affairs Fly-In May 21-22 to give you the opportunity to have your voices heard as well. The industry needs your help to counter the massive financial and grassroots push to force you to collect and remit sales tax for the 9,600 taxing jurisdictions around the country! Make your plans to join us at the Fly-In today. For those of you who are unable to join us for this even—stay tuned as this battle is poised to heat up dramatically in the months to come and the industry will again need your help and assistance.