Barbara's Beat: Stand up against an online sales tax

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Stand up against an online sales tax

They're at it again. Congress is trying to take more of our money. Read the letter we received from eBay

Congress is considering online sales tax legislation that is wrongheaded and unfair, and I am writing to ask for your help in telling Congress "No!" to new sales taxes and burdens for small businesses.
Whether you're a consumer who loves the incredible selection and value that small businesses provide online, or a small-business seller who relies on the Internet for your livelihood, this legislation potentially affects you. For consumers, it means more money out of your pocket when you shop online from your favorite seller or small business shop owner. For small business sellers, it means you would be required to collect sales taxes nationwide from the more than 9,600 tax jurisdictions across the U.S. You also would face the prospect of being audited by out-of-state tax collectors. That's just wrong, and an unnecessary burden on you.

Big national retailers are aggressively lobbying Congress to pass online sales tax legislation to "level the playing field" with Amazon. And, as they compete with big retail, Amazon is advocating for this legislation too, while at the same time they are seeking local tax exemptions across the country to build warehouses. This is a "big retail battle" in which small businesses and consumers have a lot to lose. But eBay is fighting, as we have for more than 15 years, to protect small online businesses and sellers and ensure healthy competition, value, and selection that benefit consumers online.

The solution is simple: if Congress passes online sales tax legislation, we believe small businesses with less than 50 employees or less than $10 million in annual out-of-state sales should be exempt from the burden of collecting sales taxes nationwide. To put that in perspective, Amazon does more than $10 million in sales every 90 minutes. So we believe this is a reasonable exemption to protect small online businesses. That's what we're fighting for, and what big companies such as Amazon are fighting against.

I hope you agree that imposing unnecessary tax burdens on small online businesses is a bad idea. Join us in letting your Members of Congress know they should protect small online businesses, not potentially put them out of business. Click here to make your voice heard. Together, I believe our voices can make a difference.


President and CEO
eBay Inc.
John Donahoe

If you click the link in the letter, you can send this letter to your representatives. It only takes a minute to click and fill out your info.
April 24, 2013
RE: Please Protect Small Business
As your constituent, I ask that you oppose the Marketplace Fairness Act (S. 336/H.R.684). As currently written, the bill will hurt small online businesses. Before any changes are made to Internet sales tax policy, more scrutiny is needed to ensure small businesses are treated fairly, that they are encouraged to grow and continue creating jobs for our economy, and that consumers can benefit from the value and selection that healthy competition provides.
A real small business exemption is needed in any Internet sales tax legislation. That’s not the case in the current bill. I support an Internet sales tax exemption for small businesses with less than 50 employees or less than $10 million in annual out-of-state sales. That’s equivalent to the amount of sales generated by a big, national online retailer such as Amazon in only 90 minutes. 
That’s a reasonable approach to protect jobs and fuel our economy. But so far, proponents of the current bill have refused to consider a fair and reasonable exemption similar to robust small business exemptions already provided by federal legislation on other issues.
Currently, small businesses collect and remit sales taxes for purchases made in states where they have a physical presence. This makes sense because it means that small businesses are paying for the government services they use and they are treated the same as offline small business retailers that only collect in one state.
Under the Marketplace Fairness Act, however, small businesses would have the same tax obligations as multi-billion-dollar retailers who have a physical presence nationally and use government services in many local tax jurisdictions. I am concerned because the bill also gives tax collectors in every state unprecedented authority to threaten out-of-state small businesses with costly audits and unnecessary litigation. Tax collection software does not solve this issue for small businesses, nor does it guard against the significant liability issues small businesses could face.
Small online businesses should not be saddled with new tax burdens. Everyone benefits from Internet-enabled small businesses. Unfortunately, current Internet sales tax legislation will make these businesses less competitive against big national retailers who use government services nationwide and have the resources to collect sales taxes everywhere. I am concerned that this current bill may shut down small online businesses, costing jobs and reducing competition that benefits consumers.
Please speak up and oppose the Marketplace Fairness Act. Make sure any Internet sales tax legislation fairly protects small businesses, the jobs they create and the consumer benefits they provide. Legislation should support small businesses, not put them out of business.
Your name here


Ari T said...

Wow, thank you! This really frustrates me as some states (mine included) already charge sales tax on certain purchases. I'm going to keep track of this.

Maria Iemma said...

We need to continue to fight -- all we get are extra taxes and it hurts the buyer, the seller and the economy!