Small Business Owners Still Hoping for Internet Sales Tax

Over the last several years, e-commerce has grown into a huge industry, but many smaller companies might be concerned that the giants of that sector are cutting into their ability to generate sales and revenues. For this reason, many small business advocacy groups are pushing federal lawmakers to institute more financial protections for the smaller firms they represent.

The biggest of these, which has been discussed for years now, is the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would require e-commerce companies to charge sales tax to consumers regardless of where they live, according to a report from political news site The Hill. Currently, federal law only requires such charges to be levied if a company has a physical presence in the state in question. Interestingly, small business owners and advocates seem to mostly be irked with leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives, as the Senate passed the bill around the middle of last year, but there has been no action in the House.

“It’s time for them to move,” Donnie Eatherly, the owner of an auto parts distributor in Goodlettsville, Tenn., told the site. “The House has sat idly by and done nothing. [Speaker of the House John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio] claimed countless times to have run to stand up for small businesses.”

Why the inaction?
For his part, Speaker Boehner says that a committee on the bill run by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte’s, a Virginia Republican, will need more time to evaluate its impact, the report said. Meanwhile, another well-known Republican, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, noted that he believes the bill would favor larger companies over smaller ones, which might be ill-equipped to handle the potential added cost.

Those trying to advance the bill through the House have considered trying to attach it to another piece of legislation that would be more likely to pass (specifically, one that would extend a moratorium on taxing internet access), the report said. However, that comes with the acknowledgement that if the bill cannot be passed by the end of the year, it might not be able to succeed next year either, when Republicans have a tighter grip on both houses of Congress.

In the meantime, owners who want to prepare their companies for the most success may want to consider the ways in which cutting other costs, such as those for small business insurance, could go a long way. For instance, finding more affordable liability insurance could save thousands annually.