Legislation before the United States Senate this week will end the federal government’s special treatment of online-only retailers and allow Main Street retailers to compete on a level playing field. Last week the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) alerted Senators that it would "key vote" votes on the measure.
The Marketplace Fairness Act, S. 743, would obligate large online-only retailers to collect and remit the state sales tax due on purchases made online just as all Main Street retailers must do today.
“The current policy, which forces competitors to play by different rules, is inherently unfair and puts Main Street retailers at a disadvantage to out of state, online only competitors,” said Bill Hughes, senior vice president for government affairs. “The Marketplace Fairness Act levels the playing field by providing states with the authority – if they so choose – to require online sellers to collect sales taxes just like Main Street retailers do today.”
The Marketplace Fairness Act provides states with the power and flexibility to enforce their relevant laws as they see fit. For example, last week, in anticipation of passage of the Marketplace Fairness Act, the Ohio House of Representatives passed budget included a reduction of the state income tax should Congress give states the power to enforce their sales tax laws more effectively.
Last month, by of vote of 75 to 24, the Senate approved similar language as an amendment to the FY 2014 Budget Resolution introduced by the bipartisan sponsors of the Marketplace Fairness Act, Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND).
“Retailers embrace competition, it is at the heart of all that they do, they simply ask for a level playing field on which to compete and this legislation does just that,” said Bill Hughes, senior vice president for government affairs.
Similar legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced by Representatives Steve Womack (R-AR) and Jackie Speier (D-CA) has generated strong bipartisan support.
RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.
States’ Rights and Fair Competition: The Marketplace Fairness Act, S. 743, simply provides states with the authority – if they so choose – to require online sellers to collect sales taxes just like brick and mortar and many of their dot.com websites already do today.
Governors & Conservative Thought Leaders Agree: America’s Governors and conservative thought leaders have offered outspoken support for the Marketplace Fairness Act. For example, today in a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed, economist Art Laffer said, “Addressing e-fairness from a pro-growth perspective creates several benefits for the economy. A gross inequity is addressed—all retailers would be treated equally under state law. It also provides states with the opportunity to make their tax systems more efficient and better aligned toward economic growth, as well as improve the productivity of local retailers.”