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eBay Frames Sales-Tax Bills as Big-Box vs Small Retailers

eBay released a new document as part of its lobbying efforts to fight the online sales-tax bills legislators are trying to pass. eBay Government Relations tweeted on Wednesday, “MFA & RTPA tax bills are bad for small business. Download our paper explaining why” with a link to its website.

In the document, eBay characterized proposed legislation as being championed by big-box retailers and said the bills contains burdensome requirements on small businesses.

eBay is calling on its users to make their opposition known to legislators. The new document is designed to educate policymakers on why an Internet sales tax bill would be very bad for small business.

“It’s proven that small businesses of ALL models grow our economy. Efforts to force online small businesses to collect sales tax from thousands of taxing jurisdictions, thus subjecting them to unjust audits and enforcement requirements, would deter economic growth. Innovative businesses should not be subject to these burdens and fears just because they choose 21st century business models.”

Particularly troublesome according to eBay is what it calls an online marketplace discrimination clause: “Any seller, regardless of the size of their business, who uses an online marketplace platform will be forced to collect and remit tax to every jurisdiction to which they sell products.”

Other problems, according to eBay: the small-business exemption threshold disappears after three years; it requires businesses to use “complicated software”; and there are “vague” audit standards that would allow any state to audit sellers, “opening the door to aggressive out-of-state audits and investigations.”

eBay said the bill introduced earlier this year by Jason Chaffetz, H.R.2775, the Remote Transactions Parity Act (RTPA), was “much worse for small ecommerce businesses” than the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA).

Update: Direct Marketing says legislation may have a better chance of passing with John Boehner stepping down as Speaker of the House, see the article for details.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.