Winners and losers in proposal to tax all Internet sales - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Winners and losers in proposal to tax all Internet sales

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The U.S. Senate passed a bill Monday that could empowers states to collect sales taxes on all your Internet purchases. The measure moves to the House, where it faces a tough sell.

The Marketplace Fairness Act could bring tens of millions of dollars to state coffers, but it would change the way you shop online.

"This is the shipping department of Cafe du Monde," said Kerry Wofford as she packed baskets for Mother's Day.  "This department is basically online ordering."

It could be affected by the Marketplace Fairness Act.

"Anybody purchases anything from us outside the state of Louisiana, we charge shipping charges and send them on their way," said owner Jay Roman.

Right now, businesses such as Cafe du Monde that have a storefront in the state already are required to collect sales taxes from Internet business in Louisiana, but not other states.

People who shop E-Bay or Amazon, for instance, are also not always charged sales tax.  The bill before Congress would change that.

"If you're an online seller in Louisiana and you sell to a couple of thousand different zip codes, You're going to have to remit the tax to each one of those jurisdictions represented by each different zip code," said State Treasurer John Kennedy.

Roman said he'd have to keep 50 different ledgers to keep track of sales in each individual state.

Opponents say the bill would be a new tax on the American people. Those in favor say it would level the playing field for stores competing with cyber shopping.

Christian Street Furniture is a Louisiana company that does no Internet sales.

"Customers can come in and look at our furniture and find furniture that's similar on web sites and get it for cheaper. They man not have to pay sales tax or shipping," said Lindsay Irby of Christian Street Furniture.

Kennedy estimates the bill, if passed, could bring an extra $250 million to the state. But he says the downside of that is the money will come from Louisiana citizens.

According to the Associated Press, the bill got bipartisan support in the Senate -- it passed on a 69-27 vote -- but it faces opposition in the House, where some lawmakers regard it as a tax increase. Anti-tax advocates such as Grover Norquist and the Heritage Foundation oppose the bill, and many Republicans have been wary of crossing them.

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