Sales Tax Fairness Bill Reintroduced in Congress

On Thursday, February 14, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators and representatives announced the introduction of a sales tax fairness bill that would give states the authority to require remote retailers to collect and remit sales tax on purchases made by customers in their state. The group noted in a press statement that the legislation, the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013, resolves the differences between bills introduced in the Senate and the House in the last Congress.

In support of the bill, the American Booksellers Association has joined with a wide array of trade associations and businesses — including the Jewelers of America, the International Council of Shopping Centers, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, and the National Retail Federation — as part of the new Marketplace Fairness Coalition (MFC).

MFC will serve as a focal point of support for the business community in the ongoing effort to pass federal legislation that empowers states to update their sales and use tax laws to level the playing field for all sellers. This week, the coalition wrote to the bill’s sponsors to thank them for reintroducing the Marketplace Fairness Act.

Lawmakers sponsoring the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 include Senators Michael Enzi (R-WY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Heidi Heitkamp (D-SD) and Representatives Steve Womack (R-AR), John Conyers (D-MI), Jackie Speier (D-CA), and Peter Welch (D-VT).

“We applaud the members of the bipartisan coalition for their leadership in introducing this important legislation and for building strong support across party lines,” said ABA CEO Oren Teicher. “The Marketplace Fairness Act will provide states with the authority to level the playing field for Main Street retailers, allowing them to compete in a free market. We believe the time has come for congress to pass sales tax fairness.”

While the new Marketplace Fairness Act still provides authorization to the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement, there are some key changes: It increases the small seller exemption to $1 million from $500,000. It also clarifies that the bill does not create nexus between a person and a state. Furthermore, it requires a state to provide a single entity within a state for sales and use tax administration, return processing, and audits.