Congress is poised to raise taxes again, this time by allowing states to impose sales taxes on online sales. Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Max Baucus (D-MT), and Kelly Ayotte (R-RH)―all representing states without sales taxes―oppose the Senate’s “Marketplace Fairness Act” as “taxation without representation.” The proposed legislation would burden online businesses with enforcing potentially thousands of state and local taxes across the country at the point of sale.
Andrew Moylan, senior fellow with the R Street Institute in
In an editorial this week, The Wall Street Journal added: “Small online sellers will therefore have to comply with tax laws created by distant governments in which they have no representation, and in places where they consume no local services.”
Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) claims tax accounting software makes it easier for smaller businesses to comply with the proposed law than opponents allege. Still, forcing retailers to enforce the tax laws of thousands of different localities across the country is a massive change in the way we do business―one that will have far-reaching consequences for small businesses and consumers alike.
Kathryn Hickok is Publications Director and Director of the Children’s Scholarship Fund-Portland program at Cascade Policy Institute.