Norquist presses Senate sponsor on online sales tax

The online sales tax bill would allow states to collect sales tax revenue from retailers no matter where they’re located in the U.S. Currently, because of a 1992 Supreme Court ruling, states can only collect from businesses that have a physical presence within their borders.

Norquist and ATR have suggested that the bill would raise taxes without expressly saying that lawmakers backing the measure would run afoul of the anti-tax pledge administered by ATR. Other conservative groups, like Heritage Action and Americans for Prosperity, also oppose the bill, as does the online retailer eBay.

Those groups have said that the marketplace fairness bill would be a burden on smaller online sellers, and would force businesses to collect taxes for states where they don’t benefit from any services.

But Amazon, major brick-and-mortar retailers and retail groups and conservatives, like economist Arthur Laffer, back the measure. The Senate is expected to give final approval to the Marketplace Fairness Act early next week, though the bill’s fate in the House remains unclear.

Supporters say that the measure would get rid of an unfair advantage currently held by online shopping outlets, and would better allow states to collect taxes they’re already owed. Backers also say the current exemption for businesses with less than $1 million in out-of-state sales would cover more than 99 percent of online retailers.