Prior to that hearing, FreedomWorks joined with the National Taxpayers Union and a number of other conservative organizations applauding the committee for moving to address the issue. We suggested that Congress needed to take action to protect small businesses with at least a pause in any imposition of sales tax burdens. The letter argued: “First and foremost, Congress should act to stop a mad dash for new cross-border power. Then it can do the difficult but necessary work of establishing a responsible national approach to the vital questions surrounding taxes and the internet.”
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There's a wild card, however: More than half of the units sold on Amazon worldwide last year came from third-party sellers, including many small- and medium-sized merchants. David Fildes, head of Amazon’s investor relations, said in its most recent earnings call in April that Amazon collects taxes on behalf of third-party sellers in Washington and Pennsylvania (per those states' rules). “We're not opposed to collecting sales tax” within a system that’s both “simple and applied evenhandedly,” he said.
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Regardless of what happens with the proposed federal legislation, the Supreme Court's decision in the Wayfair case is expected to mean the collection of substantially more money for states from sales tax. And for remote sellers, the decision may mean they will need sales tax software to keep up to date on which states and localities collect sales tax and at what rate.
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On top of that, states are continually introducing new tax laws and modifying old ones to capture revenue on everything from streaming media to bicycles. This last one, oddly enough, was passed in Oregon, arguably one of the more bicycle-friendly states in the country, as part of a transportation bill designed to raise money for infrastructure funding.
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Subjecting small business owners to burdensome taxes may bring some revenue for states, but at the high cost of stifling growth and limiting opportunity. Congress could pass a small business exception that would differentiate eight-person businesses such as Chad White’s from retail giants, allowing those smaller companies to do what they do best: serve customers, and create jobs and hopefully grow into new robust competitors.
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