Small businesses push Internet sales tax bill

Hundreds of small-business owners are pressing a House committee chairman to move quickly on online sales tax legislation, a day ahead of a crucial hearing on the matter.

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The small business owners told House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) that it’s long past time for Congress to allow states to collect sales tax from out-of-state Internet retailers.

Goodlatte is holding a hearing on the issue on Wednesday, after releasing a set of seven principles for legislation in September. The Virginia Republican has said that he’s not on board with the Senate online sales tax legislation, which passed in May 2013.

“While we understand your desire to pursue alternative ideas, we hope that the House of Representatives and your committee will move quickly and judiciously in 2014 to level the retail playing field,” the more than 1,000 small-business owners wrote.

“True free market competition will not only support America’s local businesses, but will strengthen our economy and provide lower taxes for everyone.”

Under current law, states can only collect sales tax revenue from retailers that have a physical location within their borders. The online giant Amazon, which is expanding to an increasing number of states, and advocates like the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the National Retail Federation have backed the Senate legislation.

Other online retailers, like eBay, have opposed the measure, saying it would be a burden on smaller companies.