Competing arguments on Internet sales taxes were in focus Monday. At a Capitol media briefing, Pete Sepp with the National Taxpayers Union said polling finds voters in Wisconsin strongly oppose out-of-state tax collection on the state’s online merchants.
The survey of 400 likely voters was conducted from June 3rd to the 5th, and found that Wisconsin residents opposed, by a 63 to 30 percent margin, the Marketplace Fairness Act. The federal legislation would allow revenue agencies in one state to collect internet sales taxes in another state.
Sepp said the prospect of additional revenues could be a double-edged sword for states. “Every state revenue department that thinks this is a good idea because suddenly revenues will come flowing back to their states, they need to realize this works 45 other ways,” he said, referring to the 45 states which currently collect sales taxes.
The U.S. Senate has passed the Marketplace Fairness Act, also known as e-fairness legislation, but the House has not acted on the measure. “Whether you sell on-line or, whether you sell as a brick and mortar outfit, you collect and submit the tax for where you are located,” said Sepp. “That’s fair, isn’t it?”
“We right now have a ridiculous tax policy that harms Wisconsin businesses,”said Alliance of Wisconsin Retailers executive director Scott Stenger. “It says we’re going to give a benefit to an out-of-state business that employs nobody (in Wisconsin), pays no taxes. We’re going to give them an advantage over a Wisconsin-based business that employs thousands of people and pays taxes. E-fairness legislation simply closes a tax loophole that allows out-of-state companies to avoid collecting sales tax – something the government forces all businesses in Wisconsin to do.”