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Tue May 5 2009 23:22:50

eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law

By: Ina Steiner

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New legislation is being drafted that would require all sellers (except small businesses that qualify for an exemption) to collect sales tax on purchases made by residents of certain states who participate in the Streamlined Sales Tax Project (SSTP). As Greg Holden reported last week, the bill, called the Main Street Fairness Act, is expected to be introduced in Congress in the next few weeks. 

eBay opposes the SSTP, and eBay's Government Relations team has created a policy paper urging members to write their members of Congress about the bill. The company recently sent an email to members of its "Main Street" program informing them that eBay sent more than 50,000 of their letters to Congress and urging them to act if they hadn't already.

One eBay seller has his own solution to the sales tax problem. Keith Yockey wrote on his blog, "Have the Merchant Accounts (Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, etc.) collect Sales and Use Tax and submit the funds directly to the State. In turn, the States would pay the related Fees for collection."

eBay is not alone in opposing the legislation. According to BusinessWeek, Overstock.com also opposes efforts to impose the tax collection requirements, while Amazon.com supports it if done in a uniform manner. The magazine quoted Amazon.com spokeswoman Patricia Smith, "We'd be O.K. with a mandatory collection requirement as long as the states' tax systems were truly simplified and the collection evenhandedly applied."




Comments (32) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law   eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law

by: claypipe

Wed May 6 00:05:30 2009

eBay is concerned that the Government is now tapping into one of it's life lines. Amazon is correct about the uniformity of a national tax code. We collected sales tax for NY buyers and it was always difficult, based on counties, percentages etc. Of course if eBay were to ask me to contact my Congressman I would tell them to lobby elsewhere.  They stabbed us in the back after 10 years of selling on the site, and I wouldn't lobby one single thing for eBay. I'll deal with this tax stuff when and if it goes forward. As for eBay all I can say is deal with it. This is our Governments "user agreement". Sorry you don't like it eBay but you can always close your account with our Government, and go elsewhere.....and yes I know this effects sellers mostly but we all knew this time would be coming.

eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law   eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law

by: TekGems

Wed May 6 00:54:14 2009

Yes, I'm opposed to an Internet use tax because its a dumb idea. eBay doesn't want it because it makes eBay sellers less competitive globally.

Its better to enforce the existing use tax laws. Like Keith says, shift the burden from the merchant to the merchant account provider. In the eBay context, Paypal just needs to work with third-party sales tax data provider (e.g. Sabrix, as mentioned in a previous article). When a buyer uses eBay's Checkout system, their ship to address is analyzed to figure out the appropriate sales tax (if in-state) or use tax (if out-of-state). Buyer pays the tax during checkout. Paypal gets a list of all state, city, and other agencies eligible to receive tax payments. Once a day, Paypal sends the tax amount collected for each agency less a processing fee. Paypal will provide a detailed reporting for taxes collected and submitted. For sellers, in-state tax payment filing will continue as usual with just an extra line for pre-payment made via Paypal. For out-of-state agencies, you do not bother the merchant or merchant account provider for more money. You're already collecting a lot more from the buyer than with the current system.

I realize gov't is looking to generate more income. Rather than SSTP, I'd like the USA to throw their muscle around the Cayman Island and other tax friendly nations. I'm sure there's a lot of taxable income there not being collected. While you're at it, generously tax capital gains. Since so many shareholders vote to move jobs overseas, this country needs funding for healthcare, pensions, and other social safety nets that are not being provided by companies any more due to greed.

eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law   eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law

by: Jake

Wed May 6 02:16:19 2009

Yes eBay it's terrible when NEW policys change your business plan & effect sales and profits ...this is what YOUR customers have to put up with everytime YOU (eBay) change your idiotic policys

Tuff!! live with it; as your dumbg CEO keeps telling us sellers

eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law   eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law

by: mark

Wed May 6 02:18:25 2009

Don't worry.....the government just looks at Ebay's tax gripes as "noise."

eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law   eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law

by: Norman

Wed May 6 07:01:14 2009

Ebay is worried about government policies that will drive traffic away from thier site and back to the real main street.  eBay should worry more about the policy they put forth that is so anti seller that they have lost the bulk of unique sellers that used to thrive on the site.  Their latest policy change is so anti seller I don't know why anyone would accept it.  The new buyer protection program allows for eBay to be the arbitrator and allows them to recover funds from sellers to reimburse dissatisfied buyers regardless if they return the product or regardless how they paid.

eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law   eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law

by: NO help for ebay

Wed May 6 07:16:19 2009

This is ebay's problem not us sellers. So NO help from sellers. You must be kidding even asking. Urge the legistrators to force Paypal to pay up, not sellers.

eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law   eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law

by: I pay

Wed May 6 07:33:50 2009

Sorry Ebay and sellers. I collect state sales taxes on my business and now its your time to do what should have been done a  long time ago.

PAY UP YOU AIN'T NO BETTER OR DIFFERENT THAN ANY OTHER INTERNET BUSINESS THAT COLLECTS SALES TAXES.

eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law   eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law

by: joe

Wed May 6 07:52:04 2009

I'm fine with it as long as they collect from all sellers especially international ones like China and Thailand sellers.
Ebay and PayPal hate reporting to anyone, let alone collecting for them also. With Paypal having to start reporting each account holder to the Internal Revenue on 2011 transactions you can be sure their business models will suffer even more than they are now, this is what they truly are worried about. Now what if a GLITCH occurs and ebay fails to collect the taxes for say a day or so,Even a few hours. Can you just Imagine the outcry when Ebay fixes the glitch and then deducts the taxes from sellers, even when they didn't collect them...

DON"T FOR ONE MINUTE THINK IT WILL NOT HAPPEN...

IT WILL... %^&*^%$&*@#$^$^^&

eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law   eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law

by: jake

Wed May 6 08:06:49 2009

Joe, I’m lost on your comments, why have you chosen Asian sellers to pin point?
This is a US state tax = government sales tax NOTHING to do with International sellers on ebay US.
Many Asian and in fact most large volume International sellers are business‘s and pay their business tax to their HOME Countries so what you are talking about has gone over my head as I am no way obliged to pay or collect US state or sales tax’s ???? via internet sales or anything else.

Do you have a problem with China & Thailand..what about India, UK , Germany, Australia etc etc you make no sense  

eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law   eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law

by: Walter

Wed May 6 08:33:01 2009

With the way ebays been going lately I dont know why they are so worried.
Dont you have to actually make sales to charge sales tax? lol

eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law   eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law

by: Jim

Wed May 6 08:58:35 2009

Considering that the average American already works until mid-April just to pay their tax bill (every penny to Uncle Sam) we should all be taking a stand AGAINST any new taxes. Just because you hate eBay doesn't make this a good law. We are WAY overtaxed in this nation.

Where did I get my April date?
http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxfreedomday/

eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law   eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law

by: claypipe

Wed May 6 09:53:51 2009

@ Jim

Don't start preaching hate about taxes or the U.S.....Look what is happening in Great Britain. This is a sign of things to come. The new world order. Other countries are also considering it.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/05/michael-savage-ban
ned-fro_n_196631.html

We have the patriot act which currently defines this type of speech. Under this act there is now a young boy in North Carolina who has been in the custody of the FBI for more then two months with limited access to see his Mother. He is accused of sending a threatening email.....Read the "entire" article before you comment on the charge......One of the comments:...."They're saying that 'we feel this individual is a terrorist or an enemy combatant against the United States, and we're going to suspend all of those due process rights because this person is an enemy of the United States".....

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.vie
w&pageId=97099

So
Jim pay your taxes and don't complain. Thank our government for raising them, and commend them for the superfluous job they have done for us, and the American economy. If not you and I may find ourselves on this list with millions of other Americans who still feel they have a right to free speech.

I wonder how the author of our Declaration of American Independence would view or react to what is now happening in this country.

I have to admit and fully believe if Mr. Jefferson were alive today he'd be one of the names on that growing list.

God Bless America.



eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law   eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law

by: Anon

Wed May 6 10:11:57 2009

Atlas will shrug.

eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law   eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law

by: Keith Yockey

Wed May 6 11:06:14 2009

Of course eBay is concerned.  You should be as well, as it affects us all.  Be glad they are saying no to SSTP as it is bad law.
Amazon? Ha, they don't even collect sales tax on behalf of sellers as it is ... in fact they blatantly do not obey Sales Tax law now.  Read my blog mentioned in the Article.  If States would enforce existing Use Tax law, there would be no need to write new law and allow more power of the Government over us.  Letting the Merchant Accounts pay States directly (States pay the fees) is a win-win for sellers.
It's great that the public is complaining, but that's not enough.  Change will not come about unless you speak out and offer your own solutions. Doing nothing allows Legislators to take away States Rights and destroy business with extra paperwork.
http://www.thedumbdog.com/blog/?p=62

eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law   eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law

by: On Lies and Secrets

Wed May 6 11:09:17 2009

I think some of the rationale in the talking points in the 'policy paper' issued by the ebay corporation are laughable given the ebay corporation's own hostile actions against small businesses that hamper their growth and profitability.  Statements like: "Small business expansion (fostered by Internet marketplaces like eBay), is a major job creator helping to move the U.S. economy moving forward" and "Given the economic challenges facing small businesses and families, now is not the time to impose new tax burdens on American consumers and small business owners" come off as pure hypocrisy in the face of recent changes to ebay's service and price structure. If the ebay corporation cared so much for small businesses, then why do they charge more and more for less service and why is their customer service so poor?  Why does the ebay corporation give free services (listings) to the largest businesses yet charge every single small business a fee for the same service? I have a very hard time believing that the ebay corporation cares anything at all about small businesses or U.S. workers given their other actions in the marketplace.

eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law   eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law

by: Greg

Wed May 6 11:42:34 2009

Interesting.  Sellers make money through their online stores while shop owners make money from their stores in the malls or on main street.  I don't see a difference.  However, this could really scare off weekend warrio eBayers who sell a few things a year.  Would this act also include sales on craigslist?

eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law   eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law

by: nora

Wed May 6 13:00:13 2009

I'm a small seller and wonder if we will have to give out our Social Security Numbers.
As a small seller I do not want to take out a business license and be charged for that too.
I'm not comfortable with giving out my SS# on-line, to eBay or any other site.

eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law   eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law

by: B. Robert

Wed May 6 13:11:21 2009

If I purchase an item at any store in my city, I pay taxes on that purchase. If I then sell that product on eBay or other sites, I have to pay taxes again on the same product sale?

We are being taxed beyond acceptability. How can the American Voters let the lawmakers continually get away with this?

Vote these nuts out of office and see how fast your rules on taxation change. All too often writing letters and lobbying are thought to be the answer to fair legislation. Forget it..it will never happen. The only way too control our destiny is to vote the jerks who abuse the American people out of office.

When will you all wise up to what you must do? These people work for us! Let them know it in your vote.

eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law   eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Wed May 6 13:29:02 2009

Before everyone gets riled up, even if enacted, this law won't affect many ebay sellers because it's based on annual sales volume (as I udnerstand it).

eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law   eBay's Main Street Program Fights Sales-Tax Law

by: TekGems

Wed May 6 15:11:09 2009

B. Robert -- being a tax collector and tax payer are two different things. When you collect sales tax, you submit what you've collected to the state. You are not paying the tax, the buyer is.

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