North Texan fights Internet sales tax - Dallas News |

North Texan fights Internet sales tax

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A North Texas small business owner says a proposed law on Internet sales tax could put the squeeze on independent retailers.

Stephanie Inge has been selling jewelry online and on eBay for 14 years. Now she's traveling to Washington D.C. hoping to sell Congress on the idea of not passing legislation called the Marketplace Fairness Act.

"We would be responsible for collecting in all 50 states," she said.

A 1992 Supreme Court ruling prevents states from collecting sales tax on Internet purchases.

"There are too many different states regulations and no online retailer could be expected to collect taxes for each of the 50 states," said Dr. Ernan Haruvy, who teaches e-commerce at the Naveen Jindal School of Management at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Right now only businesses that have a physical presence in each state can collect Internet sales tax. And, which has distribution centers in Texas and other states, collects sales tax and supports the legislation which has bi-partisan support.

"eBay is a platform for very small retailers that are essentially independent businesses. Amazon is a very large business that's already been aggressively pursued by the states," Dr. Haruvy said.

He said the legislation being considered would simplify tax requirements so retailers could easily collect sales tax for states.

"It's not clear that it levels the playing field as much as it provides states to collect revenue that they need," he said.

But Inge's sales pitch to House and Senate members from Texas this week is different.

"Consider voting against the streamline sales tax proposal so small businesses can earn a living," she said.

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