Haslam Backs Online Sales Tax Collections ; Uncollected Taxes Cost State $400M

News Sentinel, July 25, 2012 | Go to article overview

Haslam Backs Online Sales Tax Collections ; Uncollected Taxes Cost State $400M


WASHINGTON -- Gov. Bill Haslam told a congressional panel on Tuesday that states should be allowed to collect sales and use taxes on online purchases from out-of-state retailers.

"I am a Republican governor that does not believe in increasing taxes," Haslam said. But, "this discussion isn't about raising taxes or adding new taxes. This is about states having the flexibility and authority to collect taxes that are already owed by their own in- state residents."

Haslam testified in favor of the Marketplace Equity Act, proposed legislation that would give states the power to collect taxes on online purchases, no matter where the retailer is based.

Right now, remote sellers, such as Amazon, eBay and others, are not required under federal law to collect the taxes unless they have a physical presence, or nexus, within that state. That means consumers can avoid paying the taxes by purchasing goods online. In Knoxville, that amounts to $9.25 in tax savings on $100 worth of merchandise.

Traditional bricks-and-mortar businesses say that is unfair and puts them at a competitive disadvantage because they must collect the taxes and remit them to the state. They have been pushing for Congress to pass some sort of "e-fairness" legislation, and after years of trying, the movement seems to be gaining traction.

In the U.S. House, the

Marketplace Equity Act has attracted the support of Democrats and Republicans. …

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