December 29, 2000, 1:34 PM — Officials from 27 states Friday agreed to support a proposal that would make it easier for states to collect online sales taxes.
Charles Collins, co-chairman of the Streamlined Sales Tax Project, said the states voted to approve the draft legislation Friday.
The proposal next goes to the National Governors Association in Washington and to the National Conference of State Legislatures for consideration. The draft legislation would have to be adopted by individual state legislatures to become law.
If passed, the legislation would simplify the complex and different sales tax rules now used by the states to collect taxes on items sold online and in catalogs.
Under current law, retailers do not collect sales tax on a purchase unless they have a physical presence in the state where the buyer is located. And although the buyer still owes a "use tax" -- the equivalent of a sales tax -- most people do not pay it. State officials say they stand to lose billions in tax revenue as online sales increase.