Did the GOP victory end hope of the sales tax fairness bill’s passage?

Nov 20, 2014

The National Retail Federation (NRF) is making a push to get the House of Representatives to debate and vote on sales tax fairness legislation before the end of the lame duck session. The reason is simple: NRF believes it may become more difficult to pass a bill requiring online retailers to collect sales taxes in the next session when Republicans will hold voting majorities in both the House and Senate.

The Senate passed the Marketplace Fairness Act, a measure supported by NRF, in 2013. A similar bill has not been taken up and voted on by the House. David French, senior vice president at NRF, wrote in a blog post on the association’s site that legislation in the House has stalled "over unfounded concerns and misinformation spread by opponents."

The NRF’s lobbying of the current Congress has included in-person meetings with congressional members, calls from the group’s members, interviews and op-eds with media, as well as a PR campaign that includes televisions commercials, newspaper ads, and online banners and video.

A video on YouTube claims, "Every night across the country hundreds of small businesses close their doors forever, going out of business because government created an unfair playing field."

[Image: Tax Fairness]

"Opponents [of sales tax fairness legislation] claim they are protecting consumers against new taxes and small online sellers against huge compliance burdens," wrote Matthew Shay, president and CEO of NRF, in a recent op-ed. "But the truth is that failure to act would do far more to harm both consumers and small businesses."

On the compliance issue, Mr. Shay wrote that the legislation being considered would require states to provide businesses with free software to make "sales tax collection as easy as calculating postage."

Do you agree with the National Retail Federation that passage of sales tax fairness legislation may become more difficult in the new Congress? Why do you think there is so much resistance to legislation that has the backing of the vast majority of retailers?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

Join the Discussion!

9 Comments on "Did the GOP victory end hope of the sales tax fairness bill’s passage?"

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Keith Anderson
7 years 7 months ago

I am not an expert on legislation, but my sense is that this particular bill may have disadvantaged smaller online retailers. The consensus seems to be that online sales tax needs to be solved, but that this wasn’t the right solution.

I can’t predict what will happen next or when, but I do think it’s past due. A segment of an industry can only outpace the total industry’s growth rate by three to four times for so many years before it should be required to follow the same rules.

David Livingston
7 years 7 months ago

Life and business isn’t always fair and businesses need to adjust. Many have adjusted and are doing quite nicely. Consumers don’t like paying extra taxes. Politicians don’t want to become easy targets for being known for raising taxes on the common consumer to benefit business. It’s unpopular. Could online retailers move offshore? Create more laws and rules and businesses that are determined will find a loophole to exploit.

Max Goldberg
7 years 7 months ago

This legislation is viewed by many Republicans as a tax, which they have vowed to oppose,  and is disliked by consumers, who like to shop sales-tax free.

Cathy Hotka
7 years 7 months ago

This issue is part of a larger one, i.e. our insane, patchwork system of taxes that place undue burdens on smaller companies. Don’t hold your breath for a solution any time soon.

richard mader
7 years 7 months ago

Agree not taxing online sales is unfair to small merchants. However, consumers love avoiding taxes, many drive across state lines for lower sales tax on BIG purchases.

Revising the total tax system is the only real solution. Maybe “999” is a good starting point for this discussion.

Warren Thayer
7 years 7 months ago

Whoever paid the most to get “their” senators and congressmen elected will continue to prevail. At least until a majority of citizens wise up and start voting in their own interests.

Gordon Arnold
7 years 7 months ago

Tax increases of any kind are not something that taxpayers on either side of the political walls are in a hurry to have more of. As for the so called fairness plans being a means to stave off the tidal wave of store closings the economy is more to blame for that. The present day extortionate tax burdens and the sharing or proliferation of, will only slightly assist with the continuing business failures we have been seeing in this so called recovery.

Kai Clarke
7 years 7 months ago

Taxation without timely representation has been the backbone of American causes since the founding of the USA. No one wants more taxes, nor do they want more oversight, compliance, or more things to have to do in running their business. Collecting more taxes has nothing to do with businesses becoming more successful, but instead ensures that city, state, and federal governments get more money.

Tim Caton
7 years 6 months ago

” … legislation being considered would require states to provide businesses with free software to make ‘sales tax collection as easy as calculating postage.'”

Now, I don’t care who y’are, that’s just funny.

(with apologies to Larry the Cable Guy)


Take Our Instant Poll

How likely is sales tax fairness legislation to be passed in the new Congress if not approved by current members?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...