A state-by-state sales tax system could force small sellers to rely on large online retail platforms like Amazon, Etsy and eBay who have the infrastructure to deal with the complexity, said Steve DelBianco, President and CEO of NetChoice, an e-commerce trade association.
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“Think about the chaos that would ensue if in fact Quill were to disappear. It is not just 12,000 state and local jurisdictions. There’s also 550 Indian tribes who would assert any business anywhere in the country owes them sales tax for sales made to resident of that jurisdiction.” – Steve DelBianco, NetChoice, Executive Director
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NetChoice, in a letter to Nebraska senators, cautioned that the bill would “violate the privacy expectations of Nebraska citizens … the state would know they are buying from vendors whose names reveal sensitive private information, such as medical conditions, financial problems, sexual preferences, and political beliefs.”
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There’s no doubt that our current physical presence protection standard has enabled billions of dollars of economic growth. Time and again, Quill and the ITFA have stood up to legal and legislative challenges that threatened the digital economy.
The Supreme Court should recognize this on Tuesday, and leave our vibrant e-commerce ecosystem intact, while leaving it to Congress to make our nation’s laws.
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DelBianco also said the ITFA issue could well come up in oral arguments if the solicitor general, who
will take 10 minutes on behalf of the state, repeats his reasoning that the court need not overturn
Quill but can simply exempt internet commerce from the physical presence requirement.
“If they do that they are going to run smack into the ITFA, and the defendants’ lawyers are going to
have a response to that,” DelBianco said. “That’s imposing a burden on internet retailers that is not
on catalog and other remote retailers.”
A separate brief from NetChoice argues that brushing aside the current precedent would violate the Internet Tax Freedom Act, though some experts are quite skeptical of that case.
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In January the U.S. Supreme Court granted a petition for a Writ of Certiorari to the Supreme Court of South Dakota. Following the hearing, the high court is expected to render its decision by the end of the current term in June. Along with its coalition partner organization NetChoice, the ACMA will host a press conference immediately following the April 17th hearing on the Supreme Court steps.
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UPDATE: NetChoice says: “While the recently-enacted Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) has provided useful new tools for prosecutors, its amendment of Section 230 was never necessary to reach its goal.”
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NetChoice, a trade association of Internet retailers, says the tax requirement would hurt small Internet companies, forcing them to comply with “overbearing tax compliance burdens.”
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This is the first time a state has attempted to expand the definition of physical presence to include the use of in-state internet cookies or CDNs. To no one’s surprise, this directive immediately was challenged by NetChoice, a trade association of internet companies and organizations dedicated to advancing the interests of e-commerce businesses and online consumers, and the American Catalog Mailers Association, with the plaintiffs advancing two arguments in their suit.
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“A small to midsize main street store decides to go online and overnight has to immediately figure out and comply with twelve thousand different tax jurisdictions and subject themselves to and subject themselves to 46 different state audits,” Szabo said.
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NetChoice, a trade group that represents Chinese internet retail mammoth Alibaba, Overstock.com, eBay, PayPal and others, has asserted that such changes have the potential to hurt small businesses and that Georgia’s proposal raises privacy concerns.
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As is the custom, SCOTUS gave no reason for not accepting the case, according to Law 360.
Yahoo was supported by Facebook Inc., Google LLC, Dropbox Inc., Evernote Corp., Glassdoor Inc., the Internet Association and NetChoice, according to Law360.
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The court provided no explanation, as is typical, in denying Yahoo’s certiorari petition in a privacy case that saw the company attract legal solidarity from Facebook Inc., Google LLC, Dropbox Inc., Evernote Corp., Glassdoor Inc., the Internet Association and NetChoice.
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Even as Facebook was turning in favor of SESTA-FOSTA, behind the scenes NetChoice was instrumental in getting a manager’s amendment to the law written into it as it passed through the House. That amendment basically removed the Section 230 change with wording was eerily similar to text floated by NetChoice.
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“The U.S. Supreme Court missed an important opportunity to clarify the privacy rights of Americans over their data when they die,” Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel at NetChoice, said in a statement.”
NetChoice, a trade association with high-powered members like Facebook and Google, sided with Yahoo in its fight to prevent the release of a dead person’s emails.
“Massachusetts made the wrong decision last year in obligating Yahoo to disclose private data to those managing the estate of Ajemian,” Szabo said. “Unfortunately, without legislation, the state’s residents will see privacy protections disappear when they pass away.”
Carl Szabo, the vice president and general counsel for e-commerce trade association NetChoice, said the playing field between hotels and short-term rental operators is already uneven, in favor of hotels.
“The online platforms we’re talking about don’t get any of the tax incentives or tens of millions of dollars in business development incentives that many of these large platforms get to enjoy,” Szabo said. “So if we want to create true fairness, maybe the large hotels should give back all these incentives and business tax deductions that they receive today and then we’ll be in a more level playing field.”
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As the anti-trafficking bill gained momentum this year, the tech industry splintered, with players like Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg expressing robust support for congressional action and groups like Engine and NetChoice scrambling to halt or water down the legislation.
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NetChoice works to prevent barriers to e-commerce. Whether taxes on the Internet and goods through the Internet, non-tech neutral privacy initiatives, or other international Internet issues, NetChoice weighs-in to protect e-commerce.