Online Sales Tax Could Soon Pass Senate

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(WHNT) - The U.S. Senate may soon vote on a law that would result in you paying more taxes.

The Marketplace Fairness Act would allow states to implement sales taxes for online purchases.

The bill got a lot of support in the Senate from both sides of the aisle in a test vote.

Online retailers boomed in the last decade, and WHNT News 19 Political Analyst Jess Brown explains that the digital purchases left state governments out in the cold.

Brown says online purchases helped drain sales tax revenue alongside the recession.

If the federal government allows state governments to collect sales tax revenue from online purchases it could help their bottom lines.

Brown explains, "Projections are this would add millions of dollars a year to the treasuries of state governments."

Technically online consumers should declare the online purchases at the end of the year on their tax statements, but many don't - and there's not much the states can do about it.

Brown points out, "Frankly, state governments probably have neither the administrative ability, the administrative resources, nor the political will to go start auditing individual taxpayers for this purpose."

Plus online retailers can sport cheaper prices without sacrificing revenue by dodging sales tax.

Brown adds, "Sales tax in this country is becoming unfair for locally based merchants.  Merchants that are primarily selling to consumers on a real-time basis in a real store versus merchants that are simply hawking their wares strictly online."

If the federal government manages to pass the Marketplace Fairness Act, it could correct some of these perceived imbalances.

The website promoting the Marketplace Fairness Act says Governor Robert Bentley supports the motion.

Senators Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions both voted 'yes' in a test vote on the issue.
and both of their offices say they will support the bill going forward.