Senators' effort to add Internet sales tax to defense bill falls short

Senators in favor of an online sales tax may try to move it forward in other ways

An effort by three U.S. senators to add an Internet sales tax amendment to a military spending bill has failed, at least for now.

Last week, Senators Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, Mike Enzi, a Wyoming Republican, and Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, proposed a version of the Marketplace Fairness Act as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, a large military spending bill.

But on Monday, the Senate voted to close debate on the defense bill and proceed toward a final vote without considering the sales tax amendment. The senators are unlikely to offer the amendment during final debate on the defense bill, a Senate staffer said.

More amendments to the defense bill could be offered Tuesday, before final passage of the bill.

Still, the trio of senators may try to find another bill to which they can add the sales tax amendment, a spokeswoman for Durbin said.

"Senator Durbin is working with his colleagues ... to look for any opportunity to move the bill," she said by email. "He is keeping all of his options open, whether that be to work for a vote on the bill as a stand-alone or part of a larger piece of legislation."

The Marketplace Fairness Act would allow the 46 U.S. states with sales taxes to require online sellers with no physical presence within their borders to collect the tax from their customers. Currently, due to a 1992 Supreme Court ruling, online retailers that have no physical presence in a state don't have to collect sales tax from residents who buy from them. As a result, the states receive no sales tax from those transactions.

Supporters of an online sales tax law say the current system is unfair to brick-and-mortar retailers, who have to tack on tax charges of close to 10 percent in some states, and to states, which lose billions of dollars in tax revenue owed to them.

Two tech trade groups, the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) and NetChoice, opposed the effort to add the sales tax bill to the defense legislation.

The sales tax proposal would "allow states to penalize the innovative e-commerce business model by targeting small online businesses as convenient sources (and collectors) of revenue," CCIA President and CEO Ed Black said in an email.

The proposed change in online tax collection is a significant step that "deserves more extensive consideration than attachment to the unrelated defense authorization bill," Black added.

The effort to add the sales tax amendment to the defense bill was just a "dry run," said Steve DelBianco, executive director of NetChoice. "If they can't attach this mess to a defense bill, they will try tomorrow to attach it to anything else that moves" in the last weeks of this congressional session, he added.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags U.S. SenateSteve DelBiancoe-commerceNetChoiceDick DurbinlegislationgovernmentMike EnziinternetComputer and Communications Industry AssociationLamar AlexanderEd Black

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?