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US Internet Sales Tax Rules Get The Thumbs Up

Mike Godfrey, Tax-news.com, New York

28 December 2000


The Streamlined Sales Tax Project (SSTP) has voted to adopt rules to make it easier for US states to collect online sales taxes, according to its co-chairman Charles Collins. The next step is for proposals to go to the National Governors Association in Washington and to the National Conference of State Legislatures for consideration. The draft legislation would have to be adopted by individual state legislatures to become law.

The Project has support in about 40 states. National retailing associations would also like to see SSTP simplifications become law. At least five states must enact legislation incorporating the SSTP rules before they become effective. Leaders of the SSTP are confident that they will get these five states in 2001. If passed, the legislation would simplify the complex and different sales tax rules now used by the states to collect taxes on items sold online and in catalogues.

Under current laws in the US, retailers do not collect sales tax on a purchase unless they have a physical presence in the state where the buyer is located. And although the buyer still owes a "use tax" - the equivalent of a sales tax - most people do not pay it. State officials say they stand to lose billions in tax revenue as online sales increase.

A copy of the legislation can be found on the Streamlined Sales Tax Project website at www.geocities.com/streamlined2000.

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