Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 would begin online sales tax

Photo of Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.

Will national online sales tax stick with the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013? (Photo Credit: CC BY/Vinoth Chandar/Flickr)

Online retailers have managed to put up enough resistance to keep this from happening, but Congress has remained undeterred. California Congresswoman Jackie Speier has introduced the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013. The proposed legislation is another attempt to institute a national online sales tax.

Not the first attempt at an online sales tax

A small handful of bills have been introduced over the past few years that would institute an online sales tax, but none have passed. There’s been more discussion and little action, for the most part. But Rep. Speier’s bill, if passed, would make it a federal law that online sales tax be collected for all transactions, regardless of the online retailer’s state of origin or end consumer’s state of residence.

Speier, along with “a bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives and two small business owners,” will reportedly hold a join press conference Thursday to lay out the guidelines for the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013. States will reportedly be given the option to collect online sales tax already owed from out-of-state business, and issues that caused the Marketplace Equity Act of 2011 (Speier’s bill), the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2011 and the Main Street Fairness Act to fizzle will also reportedly be addressed.

Online retailer resistance has varied

Over the course of its various incarnations, the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 has produced different reactions from prominent online retailers. has gone on record as saying that it wants a single national statute on the matter, while other online retail giants like eBay have resisted any bill completely.

The general argument used by eBay and similar players has been that an online sales tax would place undue burden on small businesses, even if those businesses are taking advantage of available tax exemptions.


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