CHAFFETZ TALKS ONLINE SALES TAX. “If it was easy, it would have been done a long time ago,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz told Morning Tax and two other tax reporters late Tuesday afternoon. The Utah Republican — who got on the phone with reporters after his legislative director spoke to a panel at the American Catalog Mailers Association about the Marketplace Fairness Act and his work on the issue — was vague on the timeline for the legislation, but called himself an “eternal optimist” on getting it done. “I’m not the Chairman, I don’t know when we pull it up. I’m not the Majority Leader to tell you when to bring it to the floor. We’re working on it,” he said.

“I think we’ve made more progress in the last 12 weeks than we have in the last 24 months, at least in the House,” he said. “And the clock is ticking. States want this, businesses are frustrated, courts are getting involved now because of the lack of clarification — all things which can compel the calendar forward. We’re running out of legislative days, but they get turned on again in November.”

Chaffetz also emphasized that in addition to House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte’s seven principles introduced in Sept. 2013 — such as making sure the bill treats online retailers the same as brick and mortar stores and that the bill should be very simple and compliance should be inexpensive — “parity is one of the main themes for me” on online sales tax legislation.

Netchoice executive director Steve DelBianco, meanwhile, told Morning Tax after the panel that Chaffetz’s legislative director didn’t convince him that MFA is the way to go. “The intentions are right, but the details are lacking. I don’t really believe that MFA can be fixed,” he said.