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Digital Goods and Services Tax Fairness Act of 2013

  • Jul 25, 2013 | Gail Cole

 There is more talk of fairness in Washington D.C.

The Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 (MFA) was created to level the playing field between online retailers and retailers on Main Street. Should it pass the House and become law, it would grant states the right to require certain remote retailers to collect and remit sales tax.  In return, states would simplify their tax code to make it easier for out-of-state sellers to comply with tax law.

MFA was introduced in February of this year. The Senate passed it with conviction, but it has languished in the House since early May.

Last month, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania) introduced the Wireless Tax Fairness Act. Their intent is “protect consumers from overbearing taxation and keep the mobile internet as an innovative juggernaut.” No action has been taken since the bill was introduced.

Earlier today, Senator Wyden and Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota) introduced the Digital Goods and Services Tax Fairness Act of 2013. Their goal? To “clarify federal rules related to the taxation of digital goods and services, and prevent unfair and duplicative taxation.”

According to a press release issued by Senator Wyden’s office, the Digital Goods and Services Tax Fairness Act “provides some ‘rules of the road’ for taxing digital goods and services and establishes a framework for fairness across many tax jurisdictions.” The bill would prohibit “state and local governments from applying taxes to those products that do not apply to similar tangible goods.”


A state or local tax jurisdiction that taxes physical newspapers may also tax electronic newspaper subscriptions. If physical newspapers are not taxed, electronic newspapers cannot be taxed.

The Digital Goods and Services Tax Fairness Act also seeks to prevent “stacked taxes,” meaning that legitimate taxes imposed on digital products “can only be imposed on the final customer or end user.”

There are a growing number of tax fairness acts out there, suggesting a growing number of sales tax changes. How does your business handle them? Automation makes it simple.

photo credit: PatrickSeabird via photopin cc

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.