June 18, 2013
Technology Companies Demonstrate Ease of Sales Collection Software
State Leaders Call for Passage of Marketplace Fairness Legislation
WASHINGTON—Legislators, governors, congressional leaders, technology companies and small business owners joined together today to discuss the overwhelming benefits of Marketplace Fairness legislation, which supports the collection of taxes that are already owed, encourages competition and benefits consumers. This common-sense legislation also upholds the principles of federalism and levels the playing field between Main Street and e-street.
Annually, state and local governments fail to collect more than $23 billion from transactions conducted over the Internet or through catalogues. Although the tax is already owed, states cannot compel sellers who do not have a physical presence in the state to collect the sales tax without federal legislation to overturn a 1992 Supreme Court ruling. The explosive growth of electronic commerce – more than 10 percent annually – means states’ sales tax bases are eroding and increasing states’ reliance on other revenue streams.
“State legislators have been champions of the Marketplace Fairness Act since its inception nearly 10 years ago,” said NCSL Executive Director William T. Pound. “Legislators know the importance of maintaining the viability of Main Street businesses, and that’s exactly what this legislation accomplishes. After the Senate’s strong bipartisan support, and with the president committed to signing the bill, we’re counting on the House to carry us over the finish line.”
“This has long been a priority issue for the nation’s governors,” said NGA Executive Director Dan Crippen. “This bipartisan legislation seeks to reverse federal intrusion into state tax authority and keep jobs in our communities and bring much needed revenue to strained state budgets across the United States. The Internet has spurred our economy and increased choice, but it does not need a subsidy—it needs to follow the rules like everyone else.”
In recent weeks, opposition has focused on the supposed complexity of collecting taxes on Internet sales, creating a burden for small companies. Six technology companies manufacture software that makes collecting remote sales tax simple, and three were onsite to demonstrate their products. The associations also were joined by two small business owners who helped dispel these myths and praised Marketplace Fairness.
The bipartisan Senate support of 75 votes on the Marketplace Fairness budget amendment and 74 votes to bring the Marketplace Fairness Act up for consideration by the full Senate demonstrates that closing this unfair loophole that benefits online retailers over Main Street retailers is an issue on which Congress can come together. In May, the Senate passed Marketplace Fairness (69-21) with the help of Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi and Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander.
NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.
Founded in 1908, the National Governors Association (NGA) is the collective voice of the nation’s governors and one of Washington, D.C.’s most respected public policy organizations. Its members are the governors of the 55 states, territories and commonwealths. NGA provides governors and their senior staff members with services that range from representing states on Capitol Hill and before the Administration on key federal issues to developing and implementing innovative solutions to public policy challenges through the NGA Center for Best Practices.