Tags: internet | sales | tax | vote

GOP: No Urgency on Internet Sales Tax Despite Senate Vote

By David Yonkman, Washington Correspondent   |   Tuesday, 07 May 2013 04:24 PM

A top congressional Democrat said that House Republicans face pressure to bring an Internet sales-tax bill up for a vote after 21 GOP senators voted to pass the measure on Monday, but a Republican congressman tells Newsmax that he doesn't see the urgency.

"I think the overwhelming number of Democrats support this bill. I think a large number of Republicans support this bill," House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer told reporters after the Senate cleared the Marketplace Fairness Act 69 to 27 on Monday. "If it were brought to the floor, it would pass handily."

However, Republican Rep. Scott Tipton of Colorado told Newsmax that the House has more pressing issues to worry about.

"Let's talk about jobs, let's talk about expanding the economy, let's talk about reducing the size of government," Tipton said. "We need to be creating jobs rather than government trying to garner more money from hard-working, struggling Americans."

Under the bill, states could require out-of-state retailers to collect sales taxes when they sell products over the Internet, in catalogs, and through radio and TV ads. The sales taxes would be sent to the states where a shopper lives.

Current law says that states can only require retailers to collect sales taxes if the merchant has a physical presence in the state.

That means big retailers with stores all over the country like Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Target collect sales taxes when they sell goods over the Internet. But online retailers like eBay and Amazon don't have to collect sales taxes, except in states where they have offices or distribution centers.

When asked about the bill during a press briefing on Tuesday, House Speaker John Boehner deferred the question to House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, Republican from Virginia, who would have jurisdiction over the bill. Goodlatte cited problems with the legislation but has not rejected it outright.

"While it attempts to make tax collection simpler, it still has a long way to go," Goodlatte said in a statement. Without more uniformity in the bill, he said, "businesses would still be forced to wade through potentially hundreds of tax rates and a host of different tax codes and definitions."

The bill is opposed by Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist and the conservative Heritage Foundation as a tax increase.

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