Politicians push bill to help states collect online sales tax

by Lance Whitney |  |  published on February 16, 2013

A group of Republicans and Democrats yesterday reintroduced a federal bill that could cost online retailers and customers more money.

The Marketplace Fairness Act would allow states to require online vendors to collect sales and use tax on certain out-of-state purchases. Only businesses with less than $1 million dollars in annual U.S. sales would be exempt.

The bill was debated by the Senate last year but went nowhere. Now a group of 35 House members and 18 senators are trying again. And they’re optimistic the bill will pass this time, according to The Hill.

The bill’s top author in the House, Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.), said he’s confident it will become a law this year. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) wants to bring it to the Senate floor for discussion. Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), the bill’s lead sponsor in the Senate, told reporters he believes the bill is gaining momentum and that “this is the year to do it.”

Since last year the bill has gone through a few revisions to make it more palatable. Previously, only businesses with less than $500,000 in annual sales were to be exempt.

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