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Marketplace Fairness Next Year, Maybe

Washington, D.C. Retail

There’s no business like slow business. A coalition of retail associations and local governments took to the Hill yesterday [Dec. 3rd] to resuscitate the stalled Marketplace Fairness Act, which would have the federal government help collect taxes on out-of-state online sales.


Under current law, state and local governments are powerless to collect taxes on items sold to local residents by companies outside of their jurisdictions. This makes untaxed items purchased online cheaper compared to goods sold in mom and pop stores. According to groups like the the National Retail Federation and the US Conference of Mayors, online retailers have an unfair advantage, which leads to fewer local sales and empty tax coffers. The National Association of Counties’ Scott Dacey said that transferring sales from local businesses to online retailers shifts the tax burden of providing for infrastructure onto property owners, making the situation even worse. Despite support from several Republican congressmen, according to online newspaper Roll Call, House leadership was not convinced to bring the bill to the floor for a vote, effectively killing it until the next session.