Target: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
Goal: Ensure local businesses can compete in the global market by closing sales tax loophole for online-only retailers.
Currently, online retailers are not required to collect sales tax at the time of purchase. Instead, they operate under a system of self-reporting. From the consumer perspective, this means that if sales tax is to be collected in the state they reside, but is not collected at the time of an online purchase, the consumer must keep track of purchases, calculate the sales tax, and submit that amount directly to the state. This is a confusing and unnecessary burden that is also nearly impossible to enforce.
From the business perspective, local “brick and mortar” businesses wind up unable to compete with the artificially lower prices created by online retailers not collecting sales tax at the time of purchase. Unable to compete with these faceless online shops, local businesses, which represent the heart of most American towns, are forced to close, frequently bringing down local economies with them.
Legislation currently before the Senate would change all this. The Marketplace Fairness Act of 2015 is a bipartisan bill sponsored by Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), which would end the special treatment of online retailers and require them to collect sales tax at the time of sale.
A recent national poll indicates that seven out of 10 voters support such legislation and that 80 percent of Americans believe collecting sales tax at the time of online purchase is easier than the current self-reporting system. Additionally, 90 percent of Americans believe brick and mortar businesses are crucial to their local economic health and over half feel that the current system, giving preferential treatment to online-only vendors, is unfair.
Tell Congress to support local economies and pass this legislation without delay.
Dear Mr. McConnell,
Local businesses are the lifeblood of America. In the current system, they’re frequently unable to compete with online-only retailers who are not required to collect sales tax at the time of sale. The price advantage this offers online sellers severely cuts into the profits local businesses can earn, frequently causing them to close and taking local jobs and economies down with them.
With S.698 currently before the Senate, there is the opportunity to rebuild American towns and provide jobs for many still seeking work. In closing the current tax loophole, local businesses would once again be able to compete in the marketplace and use their profitability to provide jobs in their communities. We urge you to work with the Senate and pass this legislation without further delay.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Phillip Ingham