NetChoice in the News

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Colorado should rethink its tattletale tax reporting law

There is a lot of talk in the state Legislature these days about taxes — from tax hikes on marijuana and new taxes for improved transportation to reduced taxes on business personal property and even eliminating taxes on some personal hygiene products.

However, lawmakers may want to add one more tax-related issue to this robust debate — a re-examination of rules that would make the Department of Revenue privy to the personal online shopping habits of Coloradans.

Six years ago, state lawmakers addressed the internet sales tax issue through legislation. It was a fatally flawed law, aimed at increasing collection of sales and use taxes for purchases made online or through catalogs. Lurking in that bill was a dangerous intrusion into the private lives of Colorado citizens.

Read More at the Colorado Statesman

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Hoosier Internet sales tax bill is ill advised

The U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court precedent protect Indiana’s businesses from the scourge of Chicago and New York tax collectors.

Today, Indiana businesses, whether selling online, over the phone or via catalog, only must collect sales taxes for purchases to Indiana consumers. The businesses only must file taxes with the Indiana tax collectors and face audits from Indiana auditors.

As a result, Indiana’s main street businesses, such as Burton’s Maple Syrup in Medora, easily can use the Internet to reach customers across the country.

But it appears some lawmakers in Indianapolis are prepared to upend these protections and expose Indiana businesses to tax collectors from across the country.

Read more at Northwest Indiana Times 

Internet Retailer - The online sales tax may see new life in Congress

Steve DelBianco, executive director of NetChoice, a group that represents e-retailers and actively champions the Online Sales Tax Simplification Act option, says he expects Congress to resurrect prior legislation. “There is not yet movement towards a compromise bill, so I would expect reintroduction of each of the alternatives,” he says.

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Don’t let ticket companies take a fundamental freedom in Virginia

Twenty-five years ago, Seinfeld warned us of the dangers of double-dipping. However, double-dipping is not relegated only to hors d’oeuvres and sitcoms. In the real world, Ticketmaster has perfected the double dip, reaping billions of dollars by managing events and selling tickets on the primary market.

For years, Ticketmaster has dipped into the revenues of bands and other acts via its Live Nation Entertainment Group and then dipped into the discretionary income of consumers, charging fees per ticket sale on the primary market.

Now, the company has its sights set on a new challenge: the triple dip.

READ MORE at the Washington Post

POLITICO - Morning Tax: NOT A FAN

Eight out of 10 people in Colorado aren’t big fans of a law that forces retailers to tell the state government about purchases made from them, in order to ensure that use taxes on those purchases are made. Two-thirds of people in Colorado also say the law violates their privacy, according to the survey from Morar Consulting of 500 residents. (The survey was sponsored by NetChoice, which opposes the law.) The Supreme Court brushed aside the opportunity to consider the law late last year — and to re-examine the precedent that bars states from collecting sales taxes from businesses without a physical presence.

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BNA Bloomberg - Most Colorado Residents Oppose Reporting Law: NetChoice

“Colorado consumers are in for a rude privacy shock when this law goes into full effect,” Steve DelBianco, NetChoice Executive Director, said in a statement. “In many cases, linking a particular retailer to a specific customer will give the state information on that individual’s health concerns, political leanings, sexual orientation, personal tastes, and financial circumstances.”

By collecting and reporting shipping addresses, the state will learn when Colorado consumers have their purchases delivered to a different address than where they live, “potentially revealing personal and very private relationships,” DelBianco said.

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Before It's News - CEI Joins Coalition Letter Supporting Email Privacy Act

We, the undersigned civil society organizations, companies and trade associations, write to express our support for the Email Privacy Act (H.R. 387). The Act updates the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), the law that sets standards for government access to private internet communications, to reflect internet users’ reasonable expectations of privacy with respect to emails, texts, notes, photos, and other sensitive information stored in “the cloud.” It represents true bipartisan, commonsense reform on privacy and was endorsed unanimously by the House of Representatives in the 114th Congress.

NetChoice

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FTC Horse

Ohlhausen should direct FTC to focus on real harms to privacy

When was the last time you read a privacy policy? I mean actually read it, not just clicked “I agree”?

The FTC has said time and time again that “consumers don’t read privacy policies.”  They’ve been doing this for nearly a decade. In 2007, then-Federal Trade Commissioner Jon Leibowitz declared that “in many cases, consumers don’t notice, read, or understand the privacy policies.” Likewise, study after study has substantiated this fact.

Of course, it doesn’t take an FTC chairman, or a researcher to tell us this, we all know that we rarely, if ever, read the privacy policies we’re presented.

READ MORE at The Hill

Boston Business Journal - Retail groups blast Baker sales tax gambit as ‘budget gimmick’

Boston Business Journal – Retail groups blast Baker sales tax gambit as ‘budget gimmick’

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Overstock, Others Will Report, Not Collect Colorado Tax

BNA Bloomberg – Overstock, Others Will Report, Not Collect Colorado Tax

By Tripp Baltz

Two major internet retail companies said they will comply with Colorado’s reporting and notice law, but won’t go further to collect and remit the state’s sales and use taxes on remote sales.       

High-ranking executives at the companies—Overstock.com Inc., one of the top 50 online retailers in the country, and Colony Brands Inc., one of the top 200—told Bloomberg BNA they wouldn’t be coerced into collecting and remitting sales and use taxes in Colorado, a state where they have no physical presence. Some interests had thought the reporting requirement might motivate companies to go ahead and collect the taxes as well, but the  executives said otherwise.

“Overstock will not be voluntarily collecting and remitting in a state where we don’t have physical presence,” Jonathan Johnson, chairman of the board at Overstock.com, told Bloomberg BNA Jan. 19. “We’ll report to the state and give notice. We’re not going to do something voluntarily that we think is wrong.”

“It’s pretty black and white to us this is blatantly unconstitutional, and flies in the face of the interstate commerce clause,” said Don Hughes, chief financial officer at Colony Brands Inc. in Monroe, Wis. “We’re not going to comply with taxation without representation.” Read more

BNA Bloomberg - High Court May Soon See South Dakota Online Sales Tax Case

Another state-court case has been on hold pending the federal proceedings—the American Catalog Mailers Association and NetChoice brought suit last April challenging the facial constitutionality of S.B. 106.

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Martindale.com - Colorado: US Supreme Court Leaves Notice and Reporting Requirement Intact

Similarly, Bloomberg pointed to a statement by the executive director of NetChoice, in which he expressed concern that because the Supreme Court did not choose to take on the DMA case, “states will now be unrestrained in passing new ‘tattletale reporting’ laws that force online and catalog retailers to report personal information and purchase data to state tax collectors.”

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Stubhub Concourse - Positive Tickets Legislation Introduced in Virginia and Missouri

In Virginia, this legislation has quickly gained the attention of fans and media. The Richmond Times Dispatch published two articles highlighting that the bill would (link is external) “protect the right of Virginians to buy an event ticket and to give it away as they please,” said Steve DelBianco, executive director of NetChoice. The second article (link is external) discusses the restrictions Ticketmaster has enforced on fans buying or selling tickets. StubHub supports this common sense approach to ticket restrictions that are often deemed inconvenient, unworkable, and unfair by fans.

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Richmond Times Dispatch - Markus Schmidt: Albo bill could clear hurdle for resale of concert tickets

Steve DelBianco, executive director of NetChoice, a Washington-based trade association of e-commerce businesses and online consumers, said that while the delegate’s proposal is brief, it would protect consumers’ rights.

“When people buy an event ticket they can give that away as they please,” DelBianco said. “While the bill doesn’t prohibit (Ticketmaster) from issuing these restrictive tickets, they also have to issue a transferable ticket, giving fans a choice.”

Ticketmaster and LNE have yet to respond to Albo’s proposal, but DelBianco said the companies might not be opposed to removing the roadblocks they created eight years ago — because they can now rely on a new federal law that prohibits cyber scalpers from using bots to scoop up thousands of tickets for popular sporting events, concerts and theater performances to resell on other websites.

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Richmond Times Dispatch - Stuck with a paperless ticket to a game or show? Albo bill would make it easier to sell in Va.

“Restricted ticketing is not a surgical solution, it’s a treatment that’s worse than the disease,” said Steve DelBianco, executive director of NetChoice, a Washington-based trade association of e-commerce businesses and online consumers who share the goal of promoting convenience, choice and commerce on the net.

Albo’s measure would protect the right of Virginians to buy an event ticket and to give it away as they please, DelBianco said.

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State Tax Notes Names NetChoice as Organization of the Year

This week State Tax Notes named NetChoice and NCSL as “Organizations of the Year.”

In a world in which federal and state officials are debating ways to regulate and tax online commerce, NetChoice is at the forefront of the loyal opposition.

State Tax Notes recognizes NetChoice for its role in fighting proposals that fly in the face of its goal of “promoting convenience, choice and commerce on the net.

In the state remote sales tax arena, NetChoice moved quickly to sue South Dakota even before S.B. 106, the state’s remote sales tax bill, took effect May 1. On April 29 NetChoice joined the American Catalog Mailers Association to sue the state on the basis that S.B. 106 is facially unconstitutional.

NetChoice has been a consistent presence on the remote sales tax issue. It has fought diligently against efforts to pass legislation such as the Marketplace Fairness Act, a proposed federal law that would allow states to require remote sellers to collect and remit sales tax. Read more

ABC News - After 10 years of iPhone, calls for government to regulate video uploads, livestreaming

“I think that’s a really slippery slope,” said Carl Szabo of NetChoice, which advocates for a free internet.
Szabo says the government could attempt to regulate, but it would not be able to keep up with technological innovation. As soon as a law is passed, he says, that technology could be obsolete.

“You’re beginning to look at issues of free speech and the intrusion on free speech by governmental entities. So it’s very dangerous,” added Szabo.

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Keloland TV - South Dakota Testing Online Sales Tax

Another group suing South Dakota, NetChoice, issued this statement:

“If this law were allowed to stand, South Dakota businesses will suffer when other states impose unreasonable administrative and tax collection burdens on South Dakota-based retailers… Indeed, if every state followed South Dakota’s lead, online retailers across the country would be responsible to over 12,000 different tax jurisdictions and face legal jeopardy from 46 state tax auditors.”

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Steve DelBianco speaks with Small Business Radio

Part 1: We’re losing the battle for online taxes and consumer privacy

Part 2: The ongoing war for privacy and security in the cloud

Part 3: How much online freedom did you lose in 2016?

Inside Sources - Amazon Reports Record Year As Congress Examines Online Sales Tax

“Forcing small and mid-sized internet and catalog retailers to navigate the vagaries of thousands of arcane tax jurisdictions, including varying definitions and sales tax holidays, could lead many to stop selling in some states. That would reduce consumer choice and competition,” Steve DelBianco, executive director of NetChoice, a trade association that represents online retailers, wrote in November.

DelBianco and other retailers have expressed support for a hybrid approach from Goodlatte dubbed the Online Sales Simplification Act. The act, so far only released in draft form, makes online retailers subject to tax rules and audits only in states where they have a physical presence.

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