Senators stall vote on Internet sales tax for now

Supporters of the legislation still hope to vote in the Senate Friday or Saturday

By , IDG News Service |  IT Management

Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, called on the Senate leadership to allow his committee to debate and amend the bill. The bill should go to the committee because it "has so many problems," he said Thursday.

But supporters said Baucus has long bottled up Internet sales tax bills in his committee. The Finance Committee has "become a dungeon" for the bill, said Senator Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican.

Only five states, including Oregon and Montana, do not levy sales taxes. Residents of the other states are required to report purchases they make from websites and catalogs and pay sales tax. Many U.S. residents don't know of the requirements to pay tax sales taxes on Internet purchases, and the state requirements are largely ignored.

When the bill comes to a final vote in the full Senate, it is likely to pass. The Senate on Monday voted 74-20 to close debate and move to a final vote on the bill. The legislation faces an uphill battle in the House of Representatives, where tax-adverse Republicans hold the majority.

The bill has been the subject of a huge lobbying effort on both sides in recent days. Among the groups supporting the Marketplace Fairness Act are the Consumer Electronics Association, the National Retail Federation, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, Amazon.com, Best Buy, the American Booksellers Association and the Alliance for Main Street Fairness.

Opposing the bill are several trade groups and Internet companies, including TechAmerica, the Financial Services Roundtable, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, eBay, Etsy, the Information Technology Industry Council, the National Taxpayers Union, NetChoice and TechNet.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

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