eBay is asking its users to tell Congress they don’t want an online sales tax.
In a letter sent to users on Sunday, eBay President and CEO John Donahoe encourages customers to join the marketplace in telling Congress “No” to the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would force some online merchants to collect and pay sales tax on the items they sell. eBay asks users to fill out a short form to send an automated letter to their senators, asking them to oppose the legislation.
The Marketplace Fairness Act, which the U.S. Senate voted to bring to the Senate floor for debate on Monday with a 74-20 vote, would give states the authority to force online and remote sellers who make more than $1 million in annual sales to collect and pay sales taxes. It also aims to simplify sales tax codes to make collection easier for merchants.
Supporters of the bill, which include Amazon.com, say the act will level the playing field between online retailers and brick-and-mortar stores, which have to collect sales tax from customers. However, eBay officials say the legislation would burden buyers and sellers, if passed.
“For consumers, it means more money out of your pocket when you shop online from your favorite seller or small-business shop owner,” Donahoe says in the letter. “For small-business sellers, it means you would be required to collect taxes nationwide from the more than 9,600 tax jurisdictions across the U.S.”
The letter states that if legislation passes and online sellers fail to collect sales tax, they could be audited by out-of-state tax officials thousands of miles away. That, Donahoe says, is “just wrong and an unnecessary burden.”
“If Congress passes online sales tax legislation, we believe small businesses with less than 50 employees or less than $10 million in annual out-of-state sales should be exempt from the burden of collecting sales taxes nationwide,” his note adds.