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MRAA launches Internet survey

Friday, July 13, 2012   (0 Comments)
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Twenty years ago, the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas supported a sales tax on catalog sales in an effort to level the playing field for main street small businesses. Now, Internet sales are under a similar type of scrutiny.

Currently, companies without a physical presence in a state where the consumer lives don’t have to charge sales tax on Internet purchases, such as boat parts and accessories.

A number of states have passed laws that would require consumers to pay sales tax on Internet sales. States are struggling to balance budgets and to meet service demands of the public. According to the National Conference of State Legislators, a new Internet sales tax could generate $23 billion in revenues.

The activity in state legislatures is driving support for legislation in Congress that could make collection of sales tax a standard practice on the Internet. The bill, S. 1812, the Marketplace Fairness Act, exempts online businesses making less than $500,000 a year from collecting sales tax. Under this bill, the Internet tax would not include boats. It would only apply to parts and accessories, as a state sales/use tax is currently paid at registration for boats bought on the Internet.

The bill, sponsored by Senators Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming), Richard Durbin (D-Illinois) and 13 others, was introduced in November. It has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee, but the House is also interested with the House Judiciary Committee planning a hearing on July 24.

The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas is launching a survey to explore the impact Internet sales are having on dealers' businesses and ask dealers whether they support or oppose an Internet sales tax. Click here to take the survey.