Skip to comments.House panel to explore Internet sales tax
Posted on 01/12/2014 10:41:38 AM PST by Libloather
House Judiciary Committee Bob Goodlatte plans to hold a hearing in the first half of the year to explore online sales tax legislation, advocates say.
Proponents of an Internet sales tax bill, such as major retailers, are holding out hope for action in the House in 2014 despite the opposition of many conservatives and the skeptical stance of Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
Supporters and opponents of online sales tax proposals are focusing their lobbying energy on Goodlatte (R-Va.), who has released a set of seven principles that an online sales tax bill would have to meet in order to be considered by his committee
"House Judiciary has a busy schedule," but Goodlatte has plans to hold a hearing on Internet sales taxes in the first half of the year, according to Steve DelBianco, executive director of NetChoice, which represents Facebook, Yahoo and online sales tax critic eBay.
Goodlatte "wants to hear legislative concepts that would fit his principles," DelBianco said.
A Judiciary aide declined to comment on whether the committee has plans for a hearing. The committee is "not actively drafting legislation at this time" but continues "to welcome ideas consistent with those principles from interested parties," the aide said.
Few people involved in the push expect the chairman to move quickly on a bill, especially now that he is being tasked with leading a legislative push on immigration reform.
Still, lobbyists are optimistic that the chairman can craft a bill with broad support.
The fight over an online sales tax bill shifted to the House last summer after the Senate passed the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would allow states to collect sales tax on purchases that citizens make from out-of-state online retailers.
Currently, state sales tax is technically due for all purchases, but states only have the authority to collect sales tax on purchases that citizens make from retailers with a physical presence in each state.
Supporters say the bill would even the playing field between online retailers and brick-and-mortar stores. Opponents argue it would create mass confusion as online retailers are forced to navigate tax rates and rules for nearly 10,000 state and local tax jurisdictions.
Goodlatte has said that he wants to consider the issue carefully.
His principals specified that an online sales tax bill should not create a new or discriminatory tax, should not create greater burdens for online retailers than brick-and-mortar stores and should give online retailers "direct recourse" to challenge taxes an compliance burdens.
Additionally, an online sales tax bill should be simple enough for small businesses to easily follow, should encourage states to compete on tax structures, should respect state sovereignty and should protect customer privacy, he said.
Goodlatte has "made clear the kind of bill hes looking to do" and is "rethinking how to assemble these pieces," said David French, senior vice president for government relations at the National Retail Federation, which backed the Marketplace Fairness Act.
DelBianco said hes confident that Goodlatte will come through with a bill that limits compliance burdens for online retailers, but believes the chairman will have to jettison much of the Marketplace Fairness Act in the process.
"Its not a trivial matter to amend [the Marketplace Fairness Act] to have it fit with those principles," he said, pointing to the bills provision that would require online retailers to answer to the nearly 10,000 state and local tax jurisdictions.
DelBianco suggested that provision could be replaced with voluntary agreements where each state would audit online retailers within its borders and remit the appropriate sales tax to the customers home states.
Thats a concept that Goodlatte has indicated he "thinks is worth exploring," DelBianco said.
French is optimistic that the differing opinions on compliance burdens can be solved.
In a letter to Goodlatte last week, a coalition of retail companies and groups including Frenchs said it is ready to help translate Goodlattes "seven guiding principles into legislation that will provide meaningful simplifications for remote sellers and create a level playing field for all retailers.".
The Economy would sure like more taxes.
Yeah, ruin the one part of the economy that’s doing well.
GOP loves them too and always frames them as “complex” issues that need to “meet certain conditions” for approval. Think Mike Enzi.
Hang on. A Federal sales tax?
Does the federal government have any Constitutional power to tax sales?
he doesn't have any
To be expected from a looter government.
Tax relief Using the Internet should not create new or discriminatory taxes not faced in the offline world. Nor should any fresh precedent be created for other areas of interstate taxation by states.
Tech neutrality Bricks-and-mortar, exclusively online, and bricks-and-click businesses should all be on equal footing. The sales tax compliance burden on online Internet sellers should not be less, but neither should it be greater than that on similarly situated offline businesses.
No regulation without representation Those who would bear state taxation, regulation and compliance burdens should have direct recourse to protest unfair, unwise or discriminatory rates and enforcement.
Simplicity Governments should not stifle businesses by shifting onerous compliance requirements onto them; laws should be so simple and compliance so inexpensive and reliable as to render a small business exemption unnecessary.
Tax competition Governments should be encouraged to compete with one another to keep tax rates low and American businesses should not be disadvantaged vis-a-vis their foreign competitors.
States rights States should be sovereign within their physical boundaries. In addition, the federal government should not mandate that States impose any sales tax compliance burdens.
Privacy rights Sensitive customer data must be protected."
Leftists and politicians (same people?) think on-line shopping is fueled by the avoidance of the costs of Sales Taxes.
WRONG!! It is fueled by the avoidance of the high costs for gas to get to the increasingly decrepit malls. It is the avoidance of limited selection, no-nothing sales people, the costs of parking, wear and tear on the car, the time wasted driving to go shopping, surly and dangerous teen ferals who infest shopping areas as they destroy them.
On line, one shops in one’s own living room (or den), cup of coffee at hand, the TV showing whatever trash is on, comfortably warm in this Arctic blast, listening with one ear in case the baby wakes up, and knowing you will be home SAFE from the danger we read about almost every day.
The customer shops, clicks “ENTER” and in a couple of days of less, this nice delivery guy shows up with the purchases.
Taking yet another bazooka blast at our economy and another incentive for businesses to shut down.
Here we go again. Yet another Republican accepting the Left’s premise and introducing his own garbage, all under the guise of bipartisanship and to remain in good standing on the D.C. cocktail circuit.
That happens and I won’t purchase a dang thing off the net.
It’s interesting to consider the ramifications to changes in online taxing of retail transactions.
My initial reaction is I want to promote local commerce. I don’t trust online transactions. I prefer to pay cash. Why should I pay more taxes or, more importantly, discourage local commerce by supporting tax policies that unfairly burdens local businesses? I wish to keep my and their money here to the extent possible.
Meanwhile, online transactions, in my old man mind, are inherently less safe than those made face-to-face with relatively untraceable currency.
House Judiciary Committee Bob Goodlatte is getting comfortable in his leftist RINO skin lately, isn’t he?
These crooks need to be slapped down hard.
Superb post! So spot on.
The imposition of a consumption (sales) tax, without repeal of the income tax should be a clarion call to patriots of every stripe.
This is tyranny, to accompany the tyranny that has been the 0bama administration since day one.