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Creative Measures to Pass Amazon Bill


Senator Mike Enzi, from Wyoming, submitted the Marketplace Fairness Bill as an amendment to the Small Business Jobs and Tax Bill (S. 2237). The bill, known now as Amendment 2496, was introduced and submitted to the Senate for consideration on July 10, 2012.

Currently, as an amendment, the Marketplace Fairness bill has 14 bipartisan cosponsors. Before being submitted as an amendment, the bill had 18 bipartisan cosponsors, five which joined this month.

AMENDMENT COSPONSORS (14)Sen Durbin, Richard [D-IL] - 7/10/2012
Sen Alexander, Lamar [R-TN] - 7/10/2012
Sen Johnson, Tim [D-SD] - 7/10/2012
Sen Boozman, John [R-AR] - 7/10/2012
Sen Reed, Jack [D-RI] - 7/10/2012
Sen Whitehouse, Sheldon [D-RI] - 7/10/2012
Sen Bingaman, Jeff [D-NM] - 7/10/2012
Sen Cardin, Benjamin L. [D-MD] - 7/10/2012
Sen Rockefeller, John D., IV [D-WV] - 7/10/2012
Sen Blunt, Roy [R-MO] - 7/10/2012
Sen Levin, Carl [D-MI] - 7/11/2012
Sen Akaka, Daniel K. [D-HI] - 7/11/2012
Sen Klobuchar, Amy [D-MN] - 7/11/2012
Sen Franken, Al [D-MN] - 7/11/2012
BILL COSPONSORS (18)Sen Akaka, Daniel K. [D-HI] - 7/12/2012
Sen Alexander, Lamar [R-TN] - 11/9/2011
Sen Bingaman, Jeff [D-NM] - 1/24/2012
Sen Blunt, Roy [R-MO] - 11/9/2011
Sen Boozman, John [R-AR] - 11/9/2011
Sen Cardin, Benjamin L. [D-MD] - 1/30/2012
Sen Corker, Bob [R-TN] - 11/9/2011
Sen Durbin, Richard [D-IL] - 11/9/2011
Sen Franken, Al [D-MN] - 7/12/2012
Sen Inouye, Daniel K. [D-HI] - 3/29/2012
Sen Johnson, Tim [D-SD] - 11/9/2011
Sen Klobuchar, Amy [D-MN] - 7/12/2012
Sen Levin, Carl [D-MI] - 7/12/2012
Sen Nelson, E. Benjamin [D-NE] - 7/12/2012
Sen Pryor, Mark L. [D-AR] - 11/9/2011
Sen Reed, Jack [D-RI] - 11/9/2011
Sen Rockefeller, John D., IV [D-WV] - 3/29/2012
Sen Whitehouse, Sheldon [D-RI] - 11/9/2011

 

The Small Business Jobs and Tax Act is primarily sponsored and cosponsored by Democratic Senators. The bill is described as a bill “[t]o provide a temporary income tax credit for increased payroll and extend bonus depreciation for an additional year, and for other purposes.”

In a recent floor statement reported on July 12, 2012, Senator Enzi gave an overview of the highlights of the Marketplace Fairness Act:

  • The bill gives states the right to decide to collect – or not to collect – taxes that are already owed.
  • The legislation would … provide two options by which states could begin collecting sales taxes from online and catalog purchases.
  •  The first option is the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement, which is supported by 24 states that have already passed laws to simplify their sales tax collection rules.
  • The second option puts in place basic minimum simplification measures states can adopt to make it easier for out-of-state businesses to comply.
  • The bill also carves out small businesses so that they are not adversely affected by the new law by exempting businesses with less than $500,000 in online or out-of-state sales from collection requirements. This small business exemption will protect small merchants and give new businesses time to get started.

In his statement, Enzi emphasizes that technology is advancing and that managing sales tax is made easier with the technology available today. He also notes that he has been working on this type of legislation since 1997 and that “[t]en years ago, the bills we considered to try to close this loophole were not adequate to solve the problem.”

In March, just two days after the National Association of Counties officially endorsed the bill, Senator Durbin, from Illinois, cosponsor, noted that when the bill was introduced, there were 10 co-sponsors, five Democrats and five Republicans.

He also stated that the Act is “…supported by 200 organizations” including

…the National Governor’s Association, National Conference on State Legislatures, national Conference of Mayors, National League of cities, the Governing Board of the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement, Retail Industry Leaders Association and the American Booksellers Association.

In addition he reminded his audience that “Amazon, the biggest online retailer in America, has for years opposed any effort to collect state sales taxes on online purchases. Amazon supports our bill.”

If you go to the Senate website in order to view Senate Bill 2237 and its associated proposed amendments, you will find that the bill has had over 60 amendments introduced. The Senate is currently considering the proposed amendments.

Cosponsors of the small business jobs act:

  • Sen Blumenthal, Richard [D-CT] - 5/9/2012
  • Sen Casey, Robert P., Jr. [D-PA] - 4/25/2012
  • Sen Coons, Christopher A. [D-DE] - 7/10/2012
  • Sen Durbin, Richard [D-IL] - 4/25/2012
  • Sen Landrieu, Mary L. [D-LA] - 4/25/2012
  • Sen Schumer, Charles E. [D-NY] - 4/17/2012
  • Sen Whitehouse, Sheldon [D-RI] - 4/26/2012

The official summary of the Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act:

Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow certain employers a tax credit for 10% of the excess (if any) of: (1) the wages and compensation paid to their employees in 2012; over (2) the amount of such wages paid in 2011, up to a maximum amount of $5 million. Extends for one year the 100% bonus depreciation allowance for business assets. Increases the amount of alternative minimum tax (AMT) credits that corporate taxpayers may elect to accelerate in a taxable year in lieu of claiming bonus depreciation.

According to the July 16, 2012 report by Huffington Post, "...the Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act is off the table..." now that "...lawmakers in the Senate blocked the Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act."

According to the "Latest Major Action" stated on the U.S. Senate website, the bill has been "Returned to the Calendar. Calendar No. 341" as of July 12, 2012.


Avalara Author
Susan McLain
Avalara Author Susan McLain
Susan McLain began her career as a technical writer in technology industries such as satellite networking and medical devices. Her skills encompass technical and marketing writing, usability engineering, verification and validation testing and protocol writing, requirements development, business analysis, technical illustration/graphic design and marketing. She has owned her own business providing service to small to medium sized business and in other positions, she has been in project management, documentation and marketing. She is currently the content specialist for Avalara helping to “make sales tax less taxing.”