Share This Page

'Amazon tax' gains bipartisan support, likely to move through Congress this year

| Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, 9:03 p.m.

WASHINGTON — States could collect millions of dollars more in online sales taxes, with members of both parties in Congress sponsoring legislation on Thursday that would resolve states' decades-long struggle to tax businesses beyond their borders.

“Small businesses and states alike are suffering from the inability to collect due — not new — taxes from purchases made online,” said Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., adding that the legislation is a “bipartisan, bicameral, common-sense solution that promotes states' rights and levels the playing field for our Main Street businesses.”

Amazon started charging Pennsylvania's 6 percent sales tax on Sept. 1 per the state's Department of Revenue that requires companies with a physical presence in the state to collect sales tax.

Amazon has multiple locations in the state.

It also collects the tax in seven other states.

Legislation on the Amazon tax, nicknamed for the colossal Internet retailer, has languished in Congress for years.

In 1992 the Supreme Court decided the patchwork of state tax laws made it too difficult for online retailers to collect and remit sales taxes.

States can only tax Internet sales made by companies with a physical presence within the state's borders.

In practice, that means online retailers such as Amazon.com Inc. collect sales tax in some states and not in others.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.