Amazon, eBay square off over federal Internet tax bill

Amazon, eBay square off over federal Internet tax bill

November 9th, 2011 by Andy Sher in Local Regional News

U.S. Senator Bob Corker is seen in this file photo.

Photo by John Rawlston/Times Free Press.

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander speaks during a press conference in this file photo.

Photo by Jenna Walker/Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE - E-commerce titans Amazon and eBay are squaring off today over the introduction of federal legislation that would require Internet retailers to begin collecting sales taxes.

Amazon, which is opening giant distribution centers in Hamilton, Bradley and Wilson counties, is backing the bill, which counts U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., among its sponsors.

But eBay is opposed.

Amazon's vice president for global policy, Paul Misener said in a statement that the company "strongly supports enactment of the Enzi-Durbin-Alexander bill and will work with Congress, retailers, and the states to get this bi-partisan legislation passed."

In a statement issued by eBay, Tod Cohen, the company's vice president for government relations and deputy general counsel, called the legislation "another Internet sales tax bill that fails to protect small business retailers using the Internet" and said it " will unbalance the playing field between giant retailers and small business competitors.

"It does not make sense to expand Internet sales tax burdens on small businesses at a time when we want entrepreneurs to create jobs and economic activity," Cohen said.

The legislation is supported by the Alliance for Main Street Fairness, a national coalition of traditional brick-and-mortar retailers ranging from Wal-Mart to mom-and-pop operations.

"This is exactly the kind of legislation we need to let everyone compete fairly," said Donnie Eatherly, owner of P&E Distributors with facilities in both Nashville and Chattanooga. "If we can get this legislation passed, it will, quite literally, save a lot Tennessee businesses."

For complete details, see tomorrow's Times Free Press.