Senators voted overwhelmingly May 6, 2013, to approve the Marketplace Fairness Act by a vote of 69 to 27. The law will force internet retailers collect the sales tax that purchasers would have paid with an in person purchase, if the retailer's sales online total more than $1 million a year.
The move has been lauded by brick-and-mortar retailers who claim that companies like Amazon or eBay that can offer sales tax free transaction in most states have an unfair advantage in the market. They further complain that their businesses are being used as showrooms, where customers come to test out merchandise, but hold off on making purchases until they can enjoy maximal savings online.
"We ought to have a structure in place in the states that treats all retail the same," said CEO of the National Retail Federation Matthew Shay, reports the Washington Post . "Small retailers are collecting (sales tax) on the first dollar of any sale they make, and it's only fair that other retailers who are selling to those same customers the same product have those same obligations."
Anti-tax advocates and small business proprietors who do the majority of their business online oppose the law, noting that a requirement to charge sales tax will have essentially no effect on large online retailers, but will create a logistical nightmare for smaller operations with fewer employees, reports The New York Times.