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eBay Appeals to Customers to Help Fight Internet Tax

eBay sent emails to its members on Monday asking that they reach out to their government officials to express their opposition to changes in the law that would give states the right to tax every business on the Internet.

The company is appealing to small business owners who would be harmed the most, as well as those who make purchases on eBay.  The appeal is in regards to a decision expected in the coming weeks when the U.S. Supreme Court will rule on a case that could give states the right to tax every small business that makes online sales in their respective states.

The imposition of the taxes by the states is favored by shopping center owners and the major retailers, as well as Amazon.

It’s not clear whether this appeal can have any effect, but eBay wants to create a groundswell of small business owners who rely on eBay to make their opinions known.

The email from eBay notes, "Leaders in Washington, D.C. and in state capitals across America need to know how you feel about new Internet tax burdens – burdens that could negatively impact your ability to sell online in a variety of ways."

It asks recipients to sign a petition that they will deliver to President Trump, key members of Congress, and state governors. Their main arguments are:

  • Keep the Internet as free from government taxation and regulation as possible.
  • Protect entrepreneurs, small businesses and artisans from new taxes, audits or collection burdens because they can least afford the added costs.
  • Continue to prohibit states and localities from applying and enforcing sales and use tax laws on small, remote local businesses who have no political or voting connection to the taxing state.
  • Reject tax policies that raise prices on consumers who shop online with small businesses for artisan, craft, religious, vintage or other niche products because they should not be paying more taxes.

Those wanting to sign can do so here. One of the concerns among some U.S. sellers is foreign businesses selling in competition with them, such as from China, where they are out of reach of state tax laws. If such taxes were instated it would also create a huge burden for eBay to determine which sellers are authorized to collect and pay state taxes.