Ayotte vows to fight 'disastrous' online sales tax bill

On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced that the Senate would be considering the Marketplace Fairness Act next week. S. 743 would empower states to collect taxes on purchases made online by consumers in their states. But senators in states without sales tax, such as New Hampshire, say it would burden retailers in their states by forcing them to collect taxes for other state governments.

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Under current law, states can only collect sales taxes from retailers that have a physical presence in their state. People who order items online from another state are supposed to declare the purchases on their tax forms, but few do.

On Monday, the Senate will vote on a cloture motion to proceed to consideration of the bill.

Last month, the Senate passed a budget resolution on a 75-24 vote supporting the Marketplace Fairness language. That strong bipartisan vote showed there is enough support to pass the bill.

Ayotte said the bill has so much support because states are trying to increase their revenue at a time when most states are running up deficits. Ayotte said the burden of collecting sales tax should be on the states not the online retailer.

Retail groups such as the National Retail Federation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association have backed the legislation, which senators have been pushing for nearly two years.

Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) introduced the bill, which has 28 bipartisan co-sponsors.

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