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letters | internet sales tax measure

Up to Congress to act on outdated court ruling

In his April 24 op-ed “Everything to fear in Internet sales tax” columnist Jeff Jacoby argues that American taxpayers should beware the Marketplace Fairness Act currently pending in the Senate. However, he fails to mention that the last Supreme Court ruling on this issue took place in 1992, before Internet access, much less online shopping, even existed. This decades-old ruling has created a loophole that gives certain online sellers a competitive advantage over brick-and-mortar retailers. The Supreme Court invited Congress to address this problem. It’s now up to Congress to act.

Jacoby tries to convince us that this legislation would place an unnecessary burden on small online retailers, as it would force them to become “tax collectors.” However, the Marketplace Fairness Act includes a small-seller exemption, which covers about 99 percent of online retailers. For the remaining 1 percent, tax collection software has been on the market for years and is being used by numerous retailers.

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