Main Street Fairness Act Would Require Interstate Sales Tax Collection

Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-MA) has introduced legislation to help states collect the more than $18 billion in sales tax revenue which is lost annually to internet and other remote sales. It is estimated that uncollected tax revenue will grow to some $23 billion by 2013.

The Main Street Fairness Act (H.R. 5660) is the latest version of legislation which has been introduced several times in the wake of a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court decision (Quill Corporation v. North Dakota) which held that a state cannot require a seller to collect sales tax unless that seller has a physical presence (e.g., a store location) in the state.

The Quill decision further held that only Congress can authorize a sales tax collection requirement.

Delahunt’s bill would allow any state that was a participant in the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement to require out-of-state sellers to collect and remit state and local sales taxes on shipments made into participating states. At the present time, some 29 states are SSUTA participants and three others have taken the first steps to joining the interstate tax compact.

The bill anticipates an exception for small sellers to be crafted by the SSUTA member states.

One major feature of H.R. 5660 is that it is co-sponsored by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, to which the bill has been referred.

NAMM members with an interest in the legislation should contact their member of Congress asking for support of their position.