After Supremes' Decision, Womack Urges Congress to Act on Online Sales Tax

U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., is heartened by Monday's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to let stand New York's online sales tax law.

According to the Associated Press, the court on Monday

without comment turned away appeals from Amazon.com LLC and Overstock.com Inc. in their fight against a New York court decision forcing them to remit sales tax the same way in-state businesses do. This could hurt online shopping in that state, since one of the attractions of Internet purchasing is the lack of a state sales tax, which makes some items a little cheaper than they would be inside a store on the corner.

According to the Stephens Washington Bureau, Womack's now ready for Congress to act on his "Marketplace Fairness" bill, which would give states authority to require online-only businesses with Web sales of $1 million or greater to collect sales tax from customers.

"In 1992, the Supreme Court did not shut the door on the collection of sales tax by remote sellers; it invited Congress to address the issue. Today’s decision validates that," Womack said Monday.

In October, Arkansas Business' Luke Jones wrote about the latest moves around the marketplace bill, which has had bipartisan support. In Arkansas, both Republican Sen. John Boozman and Democrat Sen. Mark Pryor are co-sponsors. Republican 2nd District Rep. Tim Griffin has also shown support. And of course, the bill has been lauded by many Arkansas business leaders and brick-and-mortar shops.

Others have voiced reservations about the legislation, including small and medium businesses with online components, especially Web developers that design sites for retail businesses, who say the accounting behind the tax would be complicated at best and difficult to regulate.

Still, the retail industry is hoping this holiday shopping season is the late tax-free season for online-only retailers, and they're urging Congress to move forward on a vote.