Supporters of the bill should require states to pay for software integration costs if they think it will be easy, said Steve DelBianco, executive director of NetChoice, an e-commerce trade group opposed to the sales tax bill. The bill doesn't require states to help with software integration costs, he said.
"The claim that it's free and easy and that this is plug-and-play out of the box ... misses the whole notion of software integration," DelBianco said. "It's not free and easy, and it's not affordable."
The study covers Internet businesses with sales between $5 million and $50 million a year. Among the set-up fees, according to the study: $30,000 to $100,000 in website implementation for the sales tax software and $40,000 to $100,00 for order management system integration.
Annual maintenance fees include $20,000 to $100,000 in reporting and auditing costs and $10,000 to $100,000 in lost sales from check-out problems because of address-matching requirements in the Marketplace Fairness Act.
The Marketplace Fairness Coalition, a group supporting an Internet sales tax, discounted the study, saying some businesses already collect sales taxes for states.
"This is nothing more than a smoke screen to disguise the fact that some companies are desperate to preserve their government tax advantage over brick-and-mortar retailers," coalition spokesman Ron Bonjean said by email. "The Marketplace Fairness Act simply removes the government from the business of picking winners and losers in the marketplace and that's why the Senate passed it this year in a broad and bipartisan vote."
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 email address is email@example.com.