Associations Rail Against Federal Online Sales Tax Bill


ADOTAS – Yesterday we noted that Democrats in both houses of Congress had introduced versions of the “Main Street Fairness Act,” a federal framework for state governments regarding the collection of online sales tax. Amazon, which is bringing out the big guns for recently passed California online sales tax legislation, supports the legislation, as the Internet retailer has long advocated for the feds to take the lead regarding states collection tax off of online sales.

Leading the opposition is eBay, which has quite a stake in the legislation as it serves as a transaction platform for thousands of small businesses and affiliates. Brian Bieron, senior director of federal government relations and global public policy, had some none-too-kind words about the bill, calling it “outdated.”

eBay has a coalition of industry groups backing it up, and sent us statements from a whole lotta people that disapprove of the bill.

American Homeowners Grassroots Alliance (AHGA) President Bruce Hahn:

“The Main Street Fairness Act takes us in the wrong direction. The AHGA believes that Congress should ban the collection of state and local Internet sales taxes rather than expand the collection of sales taxes on Internet purchases.”

Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) President & CEO Ed Black:

“Penalizing businesses for utilizing technology and innovation is not fairness, but merely a shortsighted targeting of new revenue models, while protecting existing business models at the expense of consumers and growth.”

The Electronic Retailing Association (ERA) President and CEO Julie Coons:

“New and misguided remote tax schemes will represent a dramatic blow to electronic retailers struggling to survive in these harsh economic times. New regulatory burdens and draconian cost increases would significantly damage both the marketplace and the consumers who rely on it.”

The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) released the following statement:

“Forcing online retailers to take on the same costs and tax burdens as national retailers is unrealistic and will unbalance the playing field between the ‘brick and mortar’ businesses and the smaller online retailers on the Internet. Congress has an opportunity to pursue a pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda, but the Main Street Fairness Act will set America back at a time when we can’t afford to lose momentum.”

National Taxpayers Union (NTU) Executive Vice President Pete Sepp:

“Giving governments even more sweeping powers to tax won’t restore any part of the private sector to health, especially the small businesses Americans are counting on to lead a resurgence in job and income growth.”

NetChoice Executive Director Steve DelBianco:

“Congress often says that small businesses are the backbone of the economic recovery, but these new collection costs will break the backs of many small online businesses. This legislation fails to define safe harbors for small businesses, virtually guaranteeing that small and medium retailers will receive little help in complying with thousands of state and local tax jurisdictions.”

TechNet President and CEO Rey Ramsey:

“The Main Street Fairness Act bills will make it more complicated, expensive and onerous to conduct business on the Internet. During these difficult economic times, the last thing we need are additional burdens on this growing economic sector.”

Care to share your opinion below?


  1. There is a simple solution: TaxCloud (

    The statements by Internet retailers such Ebay confuse me. My company currently uses a PayPal checkout button that works with TaxCloud’s service so my business (with less than $50k in annual sales) already calculates, collects and remits sales tax for any jurisdiction in any state. It is simpler in most cases for my business to calculate and remit sales tax than to deal with shipping.

    If my business can manage to collect the legally due sales tax for my customers, why is it so hard for Ebay?

    Technology available freely on the internet (like taxcloud) is more than capable of handling sales tax calculation and remittance. Sorry everyone, the “too burdensome” argument carried merit in 1967 and in 1992 (when SCOTUS last ruled on this matter), but in the era of modern computing where Ebay maintains a dominant position, multijurisdictional sales tax calculation and remittance is easily accomplished.

    So what is the real reason Ebay and others chooses to evade supporting your schools, hospitals, infrastructure, libraries, parks and so much more?

    Also how exactly does creating efficiencies for small businesses, increasing profitability resulting in expansion promoting greater demand for full time employees, as opposed to part time, curtail job growth?

    Your objections to the proposed legislation are admirable as they attempt to preserve the shareholder value of the companies you represent. However, as Senator DeMint from South Carolina stated yesterday (8/1) from the Senate chamber “it’s time to do whats best for our country.”

    The Mainstreet Fairness Act will promote greater efficiencies, job growth and competition in the market place. As we all know greater competition leeds to job growth. My guess is the group you represent are scared of a true level playing field creating true competition as the unfair pricing advantage you enjoy will be taken away…. boo hoo.

  2. […] traveling around the US have been …Lawmakers Introduce Online Sales Tax BillGoverning (blog)Associations Rail Against Federal Online Sales Tax BillADOTASJohnson's bill would tax sales by online retailersRapid City JournalPCWorld […]

  3. I am sure Mr. Dunaway wrote this as a side-by-side column next to “Associations that Praise Online Sales Tax Bil” that lists and quotes from the MANY MORE organizations which support this bill.

    The National Retailers Federation (NRF)
    The National Education Association (NEA)
    The Performance Marketing Association (PMA)
    The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)
    The Federal Tax Authority (FEDTAX)
    The Simon Property Group (SPG)
    The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF)
    The The IT Industry Association (CompTIA)
    The Independent Jewelers Association (IJA)
    The Jewelers of America (JA)
    The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA)
    The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB)
    The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)
    The National Governor’s Association (NGA)
    and numerous other state local governmental organizations.

    And, of course, we should not forget the twenty-four (24) states that are full members of the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement.

    We also shouldn’t forget more than 85 businesses (large and small) that are members Business Advisory Council of the SSUTA (including ADP, Amazon, Apple, AT&T, BestBuy, DirectTV, Ernst & Young, General Electric, Home Depot, KPMG, JCPenney, Macy’s, PitneyBowes, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Sears, Time Warner Cable, and WalMart, to name a few).

    If he did not run this side-by-side, then I trust Mr. Dunaway has the journalistic integrity to soon publish a follow-up article as I describe here, right?


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