Internet retailers divided over online sales tax bill proposed in U.S. Congress; Amazon, Target and Wal-Mart Stores support it, while eBay, Overstock.com and Yahoo oppose it

, November 11, 2011 () – A bill proposed by U. S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee), Michael Enzi(R-Wyoming), and Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) that would establish a national sales tax for goods purchased online has divided Internet retailers, the Dayton Business Journal reported on Nov. 10, 2011.

In addition to establishing a national sales tax, the bill would provide two avenues by which individual states could collect billions in unpaid sales taxes for goods purchased online.

According to the Dayton Business Journal, states that sign a multi-state legal agreement and establish a sales tax code that conforms with that of the other states’ will be able to requite Internet retailers to charge a sales tax on their products. Alternatively, states that opt not to sign the interstate compact can still collect sales taxes from Internet retailers so long as they implement minimum standards.

While giants such as Amazon.com, Inc., Target Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. have voiced their support for the bill others, including eBay Inc., Overstock.com and Yahoo Inc. oppose it.

Tod Cohen, eBay’s vice president for government relations and deputy general counsel at San Jose, has voiced concerns that the proposed tax will hurt small Internet retailers and make it more difficult for them to compete with behemoths such as Amazon.

Focus on Ohio’s Future, the Council of Retail Merchant’s research arm, has estimated that Ohio governments will lose over US$200 million this year alone due to lost sales tax on unreported Internet purchases, while brick-and-mortar Ohio retailers will lose approximately $600 million in sales.

The primary source of this article is the Dayton Business Journal, Charlotte, North Carolina, on Nov. 10, 2011.

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