Death and taxes. The only thing that’s as certain as either of the two is that someone will mention how certain death and taxes are when they want to talk about taxes. And that's my oh-so-clever introduction to a post about, yes, taxes. Specifically, sales taxes and the series of tubes known as the Internet.


There are currently two bills before the US Congress known collectively as the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA). The Senate bill is S.336 and the House bill is H.R. 684. These bills essentially treat small Internet-enabled businesses the same as multi-billion-dollar retailers, while not mentioning the already-in-place huge tax exemptions currently in place for the multi-billion-dollar retailers. If passed, the MFA would give states the authority to force retailers from out of state to collect sales taxes on transactions. To put it another way, if Frank in Ohio bought a server from us, located in Georgia, we would have to collect Ohio sales tax on the sale and remit it to Ohio. EZ Trade Live opposes this act, and in fact, two members of our management staff will be traveling to Washington, DC, along with members of other small businesses from around the country, to speak to members of Congress about it.


The biggest problem with this act is that it will unfairly burden small businesses, and, according to the Small Business Administration, around half of the private sector workforce work for small businesses, making them the lifeblood of the American economy. By making small businesses responsible for collecting sales tax from states other than their state of location, you also make them responsible for the paperwork and administrative costs of compliance. What may be even worse, though, is that you also make those businesses subject to audits from the various states in order to ensure said compliance, and business has enough of that to deal with already.


This is an act that the big guys really benefit from. The so-called “big box” stores already have physical presences in many states, and so for them to comply with this means that they simply have to continue doing what they're already doing. They already collect these sales taxes. For a small company like us to comply would require a much greater relative effort and cost and this, in turn, hurts our ability to compete. The playing field is already tilted in favor of the big boys. They don't need any more help.


It's hard enough for small business to operate in this country these days, and so many of us rely on Internet sales. Please contact your members of Congress and ask them not to support this bill. Don't let Congress turn one of our competitive advantages into an advantage for the big guys.