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CEA Pushing Online Sales Tax Collection

Our colleague Juliana Gruenwald reports over on Tech Daily Dose:

Fresh off its success in helping to derail anti-online piracy legislation, the Consumer Electronics Association has set its sights on persuading lawmakers to pass legislation that would require online retailers to collect sales taxes from out-of-state customers. ...

CEA Chairman Randy Fry, co-founder and president of California-based Fry's Electronics, is in Washington this week to press for action on a bipartisan Senate bill offered by Sens. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., that would let states require online retailers to collect sales taxes from out-of-state customers. There would be one caveat - states would have to simplify tax structures or sign on to a tax-simplification project launched in 1999 by a group of states.

Fry told Tech Daily Dose Wednesday evening that it's an issue that will require a "tremendous amount of education." This will include making clear to lawmakers that the bill does not create a new tax but instead allows states to collect a tax consumers already owe, he said. He argued that his company has lost sales, particularly on big-ticket items, to online firms that don't collect sales taxes from out-of-state customers. Though he couldn't quantify how much business he has lost, "it's a significant" amount, Fry said.

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