Fax Congress for Free and Tell them to Vote NO on an Internet Sales Tax and the Marketplace Fairness Act! (S.743) Send a free fax to Congress and tell your Senators and Representatives to vote no on the 2013 Internet Sales Tax/Marketplace Fairness Act (s.743)!

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Please vote NO on the Marketplace Fairness Act/S.743 ("Internet Sales Tax")!

I oppose the bill for the following reasons:

1. It allows ANY state to demand an audit from a small business/small business owner, forcing the business to produce documents and/or hire tax attorneys and other legal representation to oversee/defend against any unfavorable findings. I do not wish a tax-hungry state to come into MY state, demand business and potentially personal documents and tax information -- my business afairs, tax records, and other financial materials are the sole purview of myself, my home state, and perhaps the Internal Revenue Service at the Federal level. I have no association with any other state other than my home state (no "nexus" in any other state) and I do NOT consent to any other state's jurisdiction over me merely because I sell items via the Internet.

Indeed, the bill, as I understand it, puts me at a disadvantage to those business who do NOT sell on the Internet as (although limited to one state per year) I will be forced by any of the other 49 states, DC and US Territorial Governments to allow each and every one of them to audit my records and make demands upon me even though I have no connection with them, while "brick and mortar" merchants who have no physical presence out-of-state will never be encumbered with such a burden.

2. It imposes additional burdens on small businesses and business owners by forcing them to keep track of sales to each state tax jurisdiction.

Regardless of what "software" is offered to small business owners, entering, updating, and maintaining a new database of all sales and where they were shipped, tax rates charged, and where remittances, costs small business owners time and money, which will either result in fewer hires and/or higher prices.

As it is there are too many requirements, many enacted by Congress, which consume a great deal of the time and effort of a small business (such as credit card sales reporting to the IRS, another new requirement recently enacted by Congress). Adding yet another reporting requirement (let alone the aforementioned auditing burdens, above) gives small business owners less time to run their business, make money, hire staff, and only serves to feed even more time and effort into the bloated Federal black-hole of documentation and reporting which already wastes an inordinate amount of a small business owner's time and effort.

3. The bill may be fine for Amazon and other large online retailers, as it "makes peace" with local state tax jurisdictions and allows them to expand and quicken delivery times, but small business owners do not have the staff, time, or frankly the inclination to worry about collection and reporting to 49+ new jurisdictions. Of course Amazon will "gladly" step in and offer a "service" to do this for the small business merchant, which involves more cost and reporting obligations, as well as allowing Amazon and other large data aggregators to have confidential and potentially proprietary information as to a given small business's customer base, overall sales, etc. I do not want information about my dealings with customers or for that matter my purchases from other online merchants to all be filtered through a few "tax clearinghouses" like Amazon, E-Bay and similarly situated large online retailers.

4. $1 Million in revenue is too small an amount for many online retailers who sell expensive equipment (often with low margins), such as office telephone equipment, electronic parts, antiques, artwork, etc.

Moreover, how to the 49 plus other jurisdictions "inquire" as to if a given small business goes "over" the $1 million revenue limit? Can any state demand from any small business proof that they have not gone over the $1 million limit? Does the bill not effectively give any and all states access to the records of any small business by a given state making a request for "proof of exemption"?

5. In cases of litigation, a small business owner will be forced to enter into expensive and likely protracted litigation IN THE FOREIGN STATE, the costs of which are usually higher than complying with potentailly errant tax decisions on the part of the foreign state. Unlike the litigation of a tax issue in a small business's home state, where a small business owner may use the same lawyer(s)/representation which he uses for other legal matters, to defend against an errant and adverse tax inquiry/decision in an out-of-state jurisdiction, the small business owner will have to retain the services of an out-of-state firm, which will generally be prohibitively expensive and give foreign states a great deal of leverage in forcing small business owners to accept their adverse tax decisions.

A small business with no out of state offices or other contacts has not and should not be responsible to the capricious and unchecked whims of habitually arrogant and unresponsive state tax agencies, whose sole motivation is generally to raise more revenue.

While arguably there may be a need for some equalization between online and small "brick and mortar" merchants (although the costs of shipping and warehousing lessen the alleged differences between the effective costs of the two), this could be accomplished by many other less intrusive, less top-heavy, and less administratively burdensome means than allowing other states to exert nearly unchecked authority over citizens and entities which for over 200 years have been forbidden from their (generally less than altrusitic) purview.

If a given state were concerned about the demise of "brick and mortar" stores, they could lower sales taxes for such establishments and/or effectuate programs to help equalize the (perceived) benefits between such retailers and "online-only" merchants.

Or, perhaps revenue-hungry states should be called upon to increase their oversight of their local use-taxes so as to compell their own citizens to pay for what they purchase out of state... But of course we know this will never happen as it (a) requires to states to do extra "work" to monitor this, and (b) will alienate the voters in a given state.

So, instead, the states, in conjuction with large online retailers (who effectively were going to have to comply with nexus rules as they expanded their national distribution networks) reached a "grand bargain" whereby the states don't have to do anything new and get windfall of new revenue by bullying around effectively recourse-less small online merchants, and large online retailers eliminate the perceived "competition" from smaller retailers with home-state only points of sale/distribution and, adding insult to injury, offer the small internet retailers a "service" which allows the large sellers a further degree of insight and overview into the activities of their smaller competitors.

This ill-conceived bill thus in actuality serves the interests of fewer than 100 or so constituents: The 50 State, DC and Territorial tax jurisdictions, and the handfull of large online-retailers who will benefit from it. The rest of us: small business owenrs, small business employees, and consumers in general, will be poorly served by the "Marketplace Fairness Act", and I strongly encourage you, based on the above, to vote against it and other similar thinly vieled anti-small-business, anti-consumer, and anti-privacy bills.

Thank you!

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Last Update: 05/03/2013