eBay posted an announcement asking members to sign a petition to oppose an Internet Sales Tax. Here is the full wording:
“eBay supports tax policy that is fair to entrepreneurs, artisans and small businesses and opposes efforts to impose taxes that are harmful to sellers like you, who are vital to the American economy. For all the small business sellers that use eBay there has never been a more critical time to stand against new and unfair Internet taxes.
The U.S. Supreme Court will make a decision in the coming weeks that could give states the right to tax every small business on the Internet.
The issue is just as pressing on Capitol Hill. States, shopping center owners and giant retailers are lobbying hard to increase taxes on small business owners like you, and everyone who buys from you online. When the Supreme Court makes its decision, it will bring together the various threads on the issue of Internet sales tax.
Our leaders in Washington, DC and in state capitals across America need to know how you feel about new Internet tax burdens – burdens that could negatively impact your ability to sell online in a variety of ways. The link below takes you to a petition we plan to deliver to President Trump, key members of Congress and select state governors. Please digitally sign the petition today. It will take you less than three minutes and help us tell political leaders that you stand with us against these new taxes.
Feel free to encourage your networks to also sign the petition. Rest assured that eBay will continue to fight this battle on your behalf!”
Sales Tax is an Issue for Small Businesses, But This Petition Might Be Self Serving
Last month’s Supreme Court hearing on sales tax collection addressed some real concerns about individual states becoming overzealous in enforcing tax laws beyond US constitutional limits.
While eBay’s points are valid to a degree, it is unreasonable to believe the tax issue will go away regardless how the Supreme Court decides in South Dakota vs. Wayfair, Inc.
Two states have enacted so-called Marketplace laws that require marketplaces to collect sales tax on behalf of its merchants and submit those taxes. Both Amazon and Etsy are following those laws today and presumably would follow similar law enacted by other states.
It seems eBay has chosen not to follow these marketplace laws yet, probably because the company does not have a physical presence in both states and it hopes to continue to avoid the issue.
However, being a California company, one could only assume California is not far behind in enacting a marketplace law and that would eBay right in the middle of sales tax collection in its home state.
This petition seems an attempt by eBay to try to hold of any sales tax collections laws that may impact its operation.
But even those who want the Supreme Court to keep the sales tax rules as they are argued in briefs to the Supreme Court that marketplaces may be the best way to solve this problem as the majority of “lost” tax revenue could be collected through a small number of marketplace operators.
It seems a bit that eBay doesn’t want to get into the tax collection business, somewhat understandable, but also it seem a bit naive considering the current political climate.