Goodlatte officially rolls out online sales tax principles

House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) officially rolled out online sales tax principles on Wednesday, setting the stage for further fights over potential legislation.

Goodlatte’s seven principles, which dribbled out Tuesday after opponents and supporters of a Senate bill were briefed on the matter, include ensuring equity between online and offline businesses, and that any bill does not create a new tax. The Virginia Republican also wants to ensure that any legislation is so simple that a small business exemption wouldn’t be necessary.

“Americans across the country are affected by the issue of Internet sales tax whether they are consumers or business owners,” Goodlatte said in a statement. “The aim of the principles is to provide a starting point for discussion in the House of Representatives. I greatly look forward to hearing fresh approaches to this issue and continuing the discussion.”

Goodlatte’s principles are written broadly, to the point that both backers and opponents of the Senate’s Marketplace Fairness Act claimed victory.

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Rep. Steve Womack (Ark.), the main GOP backer of an online sales tax measure, called the principles a “huge step in that direction.”

“His principles reflect the spirit of the Marketplace Fairness Act, and I am extremely supportive of and encouraged by them,” Womack said.

“I look forward to working with the Chairman and to being a part of a common-sense solution that levels the playing field once and for all and allows prosperity for brick-and-mortar and remote retailers alike.”

eBay, which opposes the Senate bill and wants to raise the $1 million exemption for small businesses,

“eBay is very encouraged that the remote sales tax principles released today by Chairman Goodlatte address concerns that we have raised on behalf of our small business community,” Brian Bieron, the executive director of global public policy at eBay.

“The principles create a sensible starting place to develop legislation that considers the interests of many stakeholders.”