Retailers renew push for online sales tax bill

Retailers and trade groups are ratcheting up the pressure on House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) to take up an online sales tax bill.

A coalition of retailers and trade groups — including Amazon.com, the Consumer Electronics Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Retailers Federation — wrote to Goodlatte Wednesday, asking him to take up the issue of online sales tax parity, an issue addressed in a bill that passed the Senate last year.

“We believe it is crucial for Congress to address this problem this year to protect millions of jobs,” the groups wrote.

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As passed by the Senate, the Marketplace Fairness Act would allow each state to collect sales tax on online purchases made from out-of-state vendors. Currently, states can only collect sales tax on purchases made from vendors that have a physical presence in that state.

Supporters say the bill would even the playing field for online and brick-and-mortar retailers. Critics of the bill, including eBay, say the Senate bill would force small businesses to navigate nearly 10,000 state and local tax jurisdictions.

In September, Goodlatte laid out seven online sales tax principles that he said would have to be incorporated to any bill before his committee. His principles include treating online and offline retailers equally and not creating a new tax.

The coalition told Goodlatte they applaud those principles and urged him “to turn these principles into legislative language and make this issue a top priority for the Judiciary Committee in 2014.”

“Legislation that levels the playing field while establishing important protections for businesses and consumers will ensure a healthy and competitive marketplace for decades to come,” the groups wrote.