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Wed November 9, 2011
Bill would require companies to collect online sales tax
Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi introduced legislation that could bring billions of dollars into the federal treasury, but it isn’t a tax increase.
Enzi is spearheading a movement to allow states to easily collect taxes that are already on the books. Americans in forty five states owe sales tax on every item purchased over the Internet, yet companies currently aren’t responsible to collect that tax. Enzi’s legislation would force online retailers to start collecting sales taxes when an online purchase is made and send the tax money to Wyoming and other states. He says the proposal could bring in more than twenty billion dollars.
“This bill that we have is a jobs bill and an infrastructure bill," Enzi said. "A lot of people don’t realize that sales tax helps pay for schools and police and firemen. They may not realize that it pays for infrastructure, like streets and sewers.”
Enzi’s proposal allows states to decide how to spend the money brought in through online purchases. It exempts businesses with online sales that are less than half a million dollars. A similar proposal in the House exempts businesses that bring in less than a million dollars, which could be a point of contention for this divided Congress.