Minnesota Amazon Tax Bill Begins At House Tax Committee
- Feb 28, 2012 | Susan McLain
Minnesota Representatives Greg Davids (R), Bev Scalze (DFL) and Tina Liebling (DFL), authored and submitted "...an internet sales tax fairness proposal"(HF 1849) this legislative session. HB 1849 effectively requires Internet retailers, such as Amazon, to collect and remit sales tax on purchases made by Minnesota residents. Previously, bills such as this one have not made it very far in the Minnesota legislature, but this one seems to have promise. Why?
HF 1849 has bipartisan support this time, plus the Governor's support and reliance on Internet retailer sales tax collection to meet his budget goals. However, this bill specifically identifies affiliates as creating nexus for Internet retailers. An Amazon spokesman has "...told the tax committee that his company would likely sever relations with affiliate sellers in Minnesota if the tax were imposed." Also testifying before the House tax committee was affiliate reseller Carri Rocha. She says, "...the solution needs to come from the federal government."
But according to Representative Ann Lencewski (DFL-Bloomington), "...the real purpose of the tax is to bring some fairness to the system. Right now internet sellers don't have to pay sales tax, but 'bricks and mortar' retailers do, which she says is unfair." She indicated that she agrees a federal solution should happen, but she doesn't feel they will act.
Governor Dayton says that the loss of state revenue due to lack of sales tax collection by online retailers "...gives these remote retailers an unfair competitive advantage over Main Street Minnesota retailers. Passing the bill would level the playing field for Minnesota businesses," and subsequently help support the Governor's job plan.
Neil Marriot, of mycablemart.com, says he doubts buyers are turning to the Internet to skate on sales taxes. Instead, he attributes it to convenience." He says, "Before you know it, 50 percent of everything everybody will buy will be over the Internet."