The President of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce says online retailers should have to collect the same sales taxes that brick and mortar stores are required to charge.
“Somebody selling a product who’s in your backyard pays. Somebody selling a product who’s not in your backyard doesn’t necessarily pay,” Steve Roberts said.
The U.S. Senate is expected to take a final vote before the end of the week on legislation that would give states the authority to force online retailers to collect sales taxes for Internet purchases. Businesses with less than $1 million a year in online sales would be exempt.
The measure does have Republican support in the Senate. However, it is expected to run into opposition in the U.S. House of Representatives where opponents say the bill could set a precedent for further expansions of state level tax collection authority.
Roberts says House members should listen to the business owners they represent.
“The brick and mortar folks recognize that they are a visible part of the community. They’re employing people. Not only are they paying sales tax, they’re paying all the other taxes and fees that are required to located either in a city or a county,” Roberts said on Thursday’s MetroNews Talkline.
“They’d like to have the field leveled up a little bit.”
According to numbers from the U.S. Commerce Department, U.S. Internet sales totaled $226 billion last year.
In the same time, the National Conference of State Legislatures says states lost $23 billion in uncollected sales taxes for those purchases.