Senators Are Trying to Rush Through a Massive Online Sales Tax Hike

A band of pro-tax Senators are attempting to rush through policy that would see online sales tax being paid even in states that don't have sales tax.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Senate will vote this week—perhaps as early as today—on a bill introduced just last Tuesday. The Journal explains the bill, which became available on the Library of Congress website over the weekend:

For Senators curious about what they're voting on, it is the same flawed proposal that Mike Enzi (R., Wyo.) introduced in February. It has been repackaged to qualify for a Senate rule that allows Majority Leader Harry Reid to bypass committee debate and bring it straight to the floor.

Mr. Enzi's Marketplace Fairness Act discriminates against Internet-based businesses by imposing burdens that it does not apply to brick-and-mortar companies. For the first time, online merchants would be forced to collect sales taxes for all of America's estimated 9,600 state and local taxing authorities.

The bill would see online business in states that don't impose sales tax having to pay up to to governments that do. It wouldn't, however, impose any such expectation on brick-and-mortar stores. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the bill is being supported by the likes of Wal-Mart—but also Amazon. In fact, suggests the Journal, big business is generally keen about "sticking it to the little guy".

While the goal is level the playing field, in some sense, it remains unclear if it would actually work—or perhaps just push online sales from those based in the US to other shores. You can read more about the bill over on the WSJ. [WSJ]

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