Congress urged to enact e-fairness measures

Publish Date: July 11, 2014

Topics: e-fairness, efairness, h.r. 684, recon, steve womack, the marketplace fairness act of 2013


ICSC and a host of supportive legislators continue to press Congress to level the sales-tax playing field between online and brick-and-mortar retailers. Rep. Steve Womack of Arkansas spoke to SCT at this year’s RECon about the arguments that tend to persuade Republican lawmakers to join the fight for “e-fairness,” as it is called. “Brick-and-mortar stores should never have to compete against a tax policy that is weighted to another retail concept,” Womack said. “What they should compete on is price, selection, convenience, service — all of the things that make up a good free-market system. Nowhere in the free-market system should there be a tax policy that weights the decision-making for the discerning shopper to another retail concept.”

To his colleagues in Congress and constituents who may misguidedly view e-fairness legislation as a new tax to support an overreaching federal government, Womack said: “None of the revenue comes to the federal government. This is all revenue that goes to the cities, the counties and the states. The federal government is in the way for the cities, the counties and the states to collect this much-needed revenue.”

The Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 was introduced in February 2013 in both houses of Congress. This bipartisan legislation provides the federal solution necessary to close the online sales-tax loophole and level the playing field for all retailers. It would require states to provide a minimum level of simplification of their state- and use-tax codes. Some of the simplification requirements for a state include providing a single point of remittance, a more uniform sales- and use-tax base and free software for remote sellers to assist them in calculating and filing these taxes. It also includes a small-seller exemption for businesses generating less than $1 million in out-of-state sales per year.

The Senate voted 69-27 in favor of its version, S. 743, in May of last year; the House version, H.R. 684, awaits consideration by the Judiciary Committee. Contact your representative here to voice your support. 

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