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Congress Considering New Sales Taxes for Internet Purchases

Could you soon have to pay sales tax on internet purchases?
(Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

Endorsed by the National Retail Foundation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association, the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 would slap a sales tax on your online purchases.

As you probably know, residents pay no sales tax for ordering a product online. This bill would force online companies to collect the tax. At what the rate has not been decided, but most believe it would be close to what the current sales tax rates are in each state.

The reason Internet sales do not have such taxes is a 20-year-old Supreme Court decision exempting them. Some 53 U.S. senators and representatives support this idea.  To them, it’s not fair that a brick-and-mortar store has to offer higher prices than online firms because of taxes.

Groups opposed to the sales tax include The Heritage Foundation, ebay, Technet, The National Taxpayers Union, The Direct Marketing Association,  and a number of smaller Internet sales companies. They believe the move would not level the playing field, but is a sneaky way for government to grab even more consumer money.

Several members of congress, including New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte (R) and Senator Max Baucus of Montana are vocally against the proposal, citing it as a punishment to smaller Internet-based companies.

Washington Representative Suzan DelBene (D) from the west side, has voiced support for the bill.

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