Leaders of the U.S. House and Senate can't agree on an online sales tax bill. (Photo from Flickr user StormKatt)
By Jim Anderson
CHICAGO - What are the chances of a federal law requiring on-line retailers to collect sales tax?
U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton) said it has no chance in the House as a stand-alone bill.
“This larger question about the online sales tax issue is going to be an issue that if it’s dealt with will be dealt with in a larger tax reform package,” he said.
But U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said it was broadly supported in the Senate, and has nothing to do with the federal tax code, so it shouldn’t be part of a tax package.
“We ended up with 75 votes. We had 49 Democrats and 26 Republicans. This is a strong bipartisan issue, so I hope I can get a chance to talk to Congressman Roskam, but it has nothing to do with the federal tax code,” he said.
The measure that Durbin is pushing would enforce existing state taxes, which in-person retailers already have to collect. Durbin said the measure is not only an issue of revenue for states and cities, but also one of fairness to the in-person retailers that do collect sales tax.
Both Roskam and Durbin are leaders in Washington. Roskam is the chief deputy majority whip in the House, and Durbin is the majority whip in the Senate.