I came across an op-ed the other day in The Hartford Courant, Online Tax Fairness Act Will Hurt Small Businesses. And much to my surprise, the author, Terri Alpert, was not a tax accountant, or an advocate, but a small business owner who sees how the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) may be the thing that pushes her business over the cliff.
So concerned about the MFA’s harms, she took time away from selling her items and growing her business to write this op-ed.
Terri founded her catalog and online brands to advertise unique items that you just can’t find in a big box store. So far she’s seen success with mail-order and online sales.
But if the MFA is passed, she knows the problems that come with it:
- Makes ordering by mail and calculating the required tax so difficult customers will stop buying — disenfranchising senior citizens who do the most shopping by mail.
- Squeezes out unique sellers and the “little guys” as the cost of becoming a remote sales tax collector for some 10,000 different jurisdictions makes it impossible for them to operate.
- Staves off innovation that local businesses need now more than ever.
Terri also worries about the threat of 46 different state audits if MFA is passed.
But what I found most interested is that Terri, like most online and catalog sellers, has no problem collecting sales taxes from out-of-state customers. She only requires that such collection is fair to all parties, both local and remote, something MFA clearly lacks.
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