Tag Archives: collection

Haslam Calls for Congress to Allow States Online Sales Tax Collection

Gov. Bill Haslam told a congressional committee Tuesday that it’s time for Congress to allow states to collect sales taxes from out-of-state catalog and online retailers on purchases by in-state residents, reports the Commercial Appeal.
The governor said that would increase Tennessee tax revenue by $400 million per year, which he said the state could use to cut taxes and spend on infrastructure and higher education.
“Let me be clear: I am a Republican governor that does not believe in increasing taxes. Tennessee is a low tax state to begin with, and we’ve been able to cut taxes over the past two years. This discussion isn’t about raising taxes or adding new taxes. This discussion is about states having the flexibility and authority to collect taxes that are already owed by their own in-state residents. This discussion also is about leveling the playing field for local brick and mortar businesses in communities across Tennessee and across the country,” Haslam told the U.S. House Judiciary Committee.
The committee is hearing testimony on HR 3179, the “Marketplace Equity Act,” which would enable states to collect sales tax on the purchases of residents of their own states from out-of-state online and mail-order retailers.
…Haslam was introduced to the committee by U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, who said Haslam “is part of a mainstream Republican tradition in Tennessee that goes back through Howard Baker, Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker.”

Note: The prepared text of the governor’s remarks is below.

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Court of Appeals Rules in Art Collection Case

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Court of Appeals has ruled that Nashville’s Fisk University can share its Stieglitz art collection with Crystal Bridges Museum in Arkansas.
The court Tuesday also removed a rule by the trial court that would have required Fisk to put $20 million of the $30 million Crystal Bridges planned to pay for its share of the collection into an endowment to maintain the art.
The Tennessean newspaper quoted a spokeswoman for the state attorney general’s office as saying the state will review the ruling (http://tnne.ws/vZQyz2 ).
The collection was a gift from the late painter Georgia O’Keeffe to the school. One of the conditions of the donation was that Fisk not sell the collection.
Fisk has said it needs the money from the sale of the art.

Alexander on Internet Sales Tax Collection

Sen. Lamar Alexander and Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., have written a National Review op-ed piece on the Internet sales tax collection bill they are co-sponsoring. An excerpt:
You may be surprised to learn that, when you buy a TV online, you owe the same state sales tax that you would pay if you had purchased the TV at the appliance store on Main Street. Many online sellers don’t collect the state sales tax, and many purchasers don’t pay it, even though they owe it. This creates an online sales tax loophole.
Main Street retail stores are up in arms about the unfairness of this online sales tax loophole. As William F. Buckley Jr. wrote, “The mattress maker in Connecticut is willing to compete with the company in Massachusetts, but does not like it if out-of-state businesses are, in practical terms, subsidized; that’s what the non-tax amounts to. Local concerns are complaining about traffic in mattresses and books and records and computer equipment which, ordered through the Internet, come in, so to speak, duty free.”
Governors and legislators are up in arms, too. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, next year this online sales tax loophole will cost states $23 billion in avoided taxes. For example, in Tennessee the maximum sales tax is 9.75 percent. Therefore, a $400 TV could be $39 cheaper purchased online than it would be on Main Street. Tennessee could use this lost sales-tax revenue to continue to avoid imposing a state income tax. Wyoming might use the revenue to lower its property-tax rates. Other states might use the lost revenue to reduce tuition at state colleges or to reward outstanding teaching.
…(T)en U.S. Senators are introducing today the Marketplace Fairness Act, bipartisan legislation offering states two ways to make it simple for online sellers to collect state sales taxes. Our proposal exempts online sellers with annual sales of less than $500,000 from collecting any tax at all. Our bill is a rarity for Washington, D.C.: It is only ten pages long.

Amazon Bill Shelved Until January, 2012

Legislation aimed at forcing Amazon.com to collect sales taxes from Tennessee customers when it opens shipping centers in their state was shelved until January on Wednesday.
Paul Misener, vice president for global public policy for Amazon, declared the company “grateful to the committee for recognizing the jobs and investment that Amazon can bring to Tennessee.” The comment came after Sen. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, formally deferred the bill (SB529) until January, 2012.
Earlier, Misener told the Senate Finance Committee that passage of the bill would have raised a “dark cloud” over opening Amazon “fulfillment centers” in Hamilton and Bradley counties now under construction, much less more tentative plans to expand into Knoxville and Nashville.
But the delay of the legislation until the new year still left questions hanging, some of them were raised in the committee hearing.
Misener testified, for example, that the deal negotiated by Amazon with officials of former Gov. Phil Bredesen’s administration only covered a guarantee that the company would not have to collect taxes on sales to customers living outside Tennessee.
He said negotiations are still continuing with the Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration, represented by Revenue Commissioner Richard Roberts, over an “alternative arrangement” agreement to assure that sales taxes need not be collected from Tennesseans, though they are “very close” to an agreement.

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