What is “The Marketplace Fairness Act”?
Could there be a more obscurely named bill?
Scheduled for debate in the Senate this week, S. 743, the Marketplace Fairness Act, is a bill to permit states to levy taxes on Internet sales—y’know, your purchases on Amazon, eBay, fridgefilters.com, and so on. (Yes, there is a site dedicated to filters for your refrigerator.)
Many of these transactions aren’t currently taxed because they cross state lines. Your state can’t require someone outside the state to collect tax from you or pay a tax into your state. So out-of-state sellers have a leg up on in-state sellers, who do have to pay sales tax.
Technically, you’re likely supposed to pay a use tax on the things you buy from out of state, but do you?
So the bill, sponsored by Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), would allow states to tax sellers in other states.
(Though it’s chief sponsor is a Republican, most of its support comes from Democrats. Take a look at the sponsor list on the page for the bill.)
Interstate taxation of this kind means fairness between in-state retailers and out-of-state retailers—both would have to pay sales taxes to your state. But it also means a tax increase for you. More of your online purchases would include sales taxes.
So, do you want to pay more taxes in the name of fairness of this kind? That should determine where you come down on the bill. That’s what the Marketplace Fairness is all about: taxes.
Here is the current vote on S. 743, the Marketplace Fairness Act. Click to vote, comment, learn more, or edit the wiki article on the bill.