Congress is again considering the Marketplace Fairness Act, which has cleared a procedural vote in the US Senate, and the prevailing opinion is that this august body will soon pass the bill. After that, it will go to the House of Representatives, where the outcome is a bit more in doubt.


To briefly summarize, this is a bill that would empower the states to require any business that has sales within their border to collect sales tax from the customer and send it to the state, even if the business has no physical presence within that state. A customer in Florida buying from us herein Georgia would be charged Florida's sales tax, making us a revenue collection agency for the state of Florida. Or Tennessee, or California, etc.


I've talked about this in a previous blog entry, but I feel this needs to be addressed again. I urge readers in the US to contact your members of Congress and let them you know oppose this bill. It would be a regulatory nightmare for small business which lacks the administrative infrastructure to deal with collecting and paying taxes to the forty-five states that currently charge a retail sales tax, and that's not to mention the various local sales taxes. I can't remember what the different sales tax rates are just for the counties that make up metro Atlanta. I don't want to think about the paperwork nightmare that will come with having to do this for counties and cities across the country.


This is a bill that stacks the deck in favor of big business, because they already have to pay many of these taxes, due to having physical locations or other substantial presence in many other states. For them, this bill changes nothing, and that's why they're in favor of it. They have to do this anyway, and now they want the little guys like us to have to do it as well, disproportionally increasing our cust of doing business.


Let me ask you this: Do you like doing business with a small company where you know the name of everyone you'll deal with, where they'll remember you, your preferences, and who think of you as an actual person? If so, contact Congress and tell them this act is a bad idea. If you prefer to do business with a huge corporation where you'll never talk to the same person more than once and where you're nothing more than an account number, then support this act, because that's what you'll be getting more of.