Join The Discussion

 

Obama calls for offshore drilling in Southeast

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Tuesday outlined a politically fraught plan for allowing oil and gas drilling offshore along parts of the Atlantic coast while imposing new restrictions on environmentally fragile waters off northern Alaska.

read more >

Two from Fort Worth appointed by Gov. Abbott to university boards

Steve Hicks, a University of Texas System regent who has been a vocal opponent of regents who have criticized the system’s flagship campus in Austin, was reappointed to the board by Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday. 

read more >

Museum District: Area’s evolution creating more interaction, public spaces

Fifteen years ago if someone had shot a cannon from Fort Worth’s world-renowned museum district, nobody would have noticed, joked Lori Eklund, senior deputy director of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. But that has changed.

read more >

Energy Transfer Partners, Regency Energy announce $18B merger

Energy Transfer Partners LP of Dallas and Regency Energy Partners LP have entered into a definitive merger agreement.

read more >

American Airlines' first 787 Dreamliner arrives at D/FW

American is preparing the plane to begin service sometime in the second quarter.

read more >

 

Senate approves Internet sales tax proposal

A

Melanie Hicken

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The Senate approved a long-anticipated Internet sales tax proposal on Monday, moving the legislation one step closer to enactment and paving the way for shoppers to pay sales tax on the majority of online purchases.

The so-called Marketplace Fairness Act would allow the 45 states (and the District of Columbia) that currently charge sales taxes to require large online retailers to collect tax on purchases made by their residents. The law would only apply to online sellers that have sales of at least $1 million in states where they don't have physical operations, like a store or a warehouse.

The Senate voted 69 to 27 to approve the bill, which enjoyed bipartisan support. But before it can become law, it must be approved by the House, where Republicans are split on the issue.

Some House Republicans have already expressed support for the bill, arguing that it would level the playing field for small brick-and-mortar retailers. They say it would not create a new tax, but rather enforce the collection of taxes already charged at traditional retailers. But other House Republicans still view that as a tax increase on consumers or say it would overburden Internet businesses in their states.

The Obama administration has endorsed the bill, so if it can gain approval in the House, it is likely to become law.

If the bill is enacted, academic studies estimate more than $12 billion in additional sales taxes will be collected from online purchases each year.

Big brick-and-mortar retailers with an online presence, such as Wal-Mart, already charge sales tax for web purchases. But in many states, you can still shop tax-free at Internet-only retailers like Amazon or Overstock.

That's because under current law, online sellers are only required to collect tax in states where they have a physical presence. And while most states require shoppers to pay a so-called "use tax" when a sales tax wasn't collected at online checkout, few people actually follow through.

"This collection disparity has tilted the competitive landscape against local stores, creating a crisis for brick-and-mortar retailers around the country and in your state," David French, senior vice president of the National Retail Federation, one of the bill's loudest supporters, said in a letter to Senate members.

Close to 30% of online shoppers surveyed by advisory firm AlixPartners recently said they would shop more at brick-and-mortar retailers if the tax became reality. Nearly half, though, said that an Internet sales tax would have no effect on their online shopping habits, according to the survey of about 2,500 consumers.

After years of battling individual state efforts, Internet giant Amazon is supporting the bill, in part because the company is already collecting sales tax in nine states where it has warehouses.

Many other online retailers remain opposed to the legislation, saying that the sales tax would hurt business and create an administrative nightmare because they would have to determine tax rates for different states and localities at checkout.

Anti-tax group Americans for Tax Reform has also come out strongly against the legislation, which it says "can only be viewed as a tax increase." It did not respond to a request for comment.

Meanwhile, eBay is lobbying for a $10 million exemption for small businesses.

< back

Email   email
hide
Catch
How 'bout them Cowboys?