In Maryland, an estimated $184.1 million more could have been collected in taxes from online purchases in 2012, according to a USA Today graphic.
Advocates of the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 see such a figure as reason to pass the national legislation, which made it through the U.S. Senate on May 6.
- The bill has been called the online sales tax bill.
- It would require e-retailers that sell more than $1 million online each year to collect sales tax on consumer purchases and send the money to state treasuries.
- Maryland’s U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski voted for the act.
View a list of companies and trade associations supporting the act.
Mack McGee, vice president of Canton-based startup Groove Commerce — designers and managers of clients’ e-commerce websites — sees the legislation as the “first piece” in what could be a series of bills “over the next three to five years” regulating the online retail market.
“Additional regulation is coming to e-commerce across the board,” he said. “We’re just not going to be evasive that much longer, just because of the growing impact [of online retail] on the economy.”
According to that same USA Today graphic, consumers spent more than $230 billion online in 2012. From that amount, it’s estimated that states could have collected an additional $11.4 billion through an online sales tax.
Brick-and-mortar stores, with the exception of those in five no-tax states, tend to be in favor of the bill, whereas big Internet retailers like eBay are opposed. (Amazon.com, however, is in favor of the bill. Refer again to the USA Today graphic.)
McGee said that most of the clients Groove works with “are showing at least $1 million a year online.” And that threshold, he thinks, is precisely where further e-commerce legislation will home in on.
“This has so many people in a stir not because the government is coming after e-commerce,” he said. “[But] because its so wide-sweeping at the group it’s going after. The million-dollar threshold is really where I see that [the Marketplace Fairness Act has] been extended further than any place before.”
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