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Online Sales Tax Legislation Not Dead Yet

  • Dec 6, 2012 | Gail Cole

Hundreds of state lawmakers are in Washington for the National Conference of State Legislatures meeting. They gathered yesterday on Capitol Hill "to lobby for the Marketplace Fairness Act." 

It's too soon to know if yesterday's lobbying will be successful. Recent efforts by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin (D), Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi (R), and Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander (R) to attach the Marketplace Fairness Act (S. 1832) to the National Defense Authorization Act (S. 3254) did not met with success. The 2013 National Defense Authorization Act was approved by the Senate in a 98 to 0 vote on December 4. Senators voted December 3 to invoke cloture with respect to S. 3254, meaning that the Senate closed the current debate on taxing e-commerce without definitively rejecting S. 1832.

Undaunted, the three senators are seeking another opportunity. A spokeswoman for Durbin has stated that "Senator Durbin is working with colleagues … to look for any opportunity to move the bill. … He is keeping his options open… ."

Now state lawmakers have Sentaor Durbin's back. They met with Marketplace Fairness Act sponsors Senator Enzi, Congressman Steve Womack (R-Ark.) and Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.) on Wednesday before moving on to meet with their own members of Congress. Enzi and Womack spoke of how "the internet sales tax would help during the current fiscal cliff talks since it would provide a new dedicated revenue source for state and local governments." (Huffington Post).

In 2012 alone, states will lose an estimated $23.2 billion uncollected tax on remote sales. States lawmakers want to help their states get a piece of that money, which, Congressman Womack reminds, "is not a new tax… ."


Sales tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Gail Cole
Avalara Author
Gail Cole
Gail Cole
Avalara Author Gail Cole
Gail began researching and writing about sales tax in 2012 and has been fascinated with it ever since. She has a penchant for uncovering unusual tax facts, and endeavors to make complex sales tax laws more digestible for both experts and laypeople.