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US National Tax Association E-Commerce Tax Report

Tax-news.com

04 September 1999


The National Tax Association is a mixed Government/private body which began studying E-Commerce taxation in 1997. This draft report, published in July, makes no firm recommendations. It states: 'The inability to reach a comprehensive agreement may be traced not only to specific substantive disagreements, but also to more profound policy differences, including the clash between state and local governments' concern for their authority, their need to preserve their tax base, diverse fiscal requirements, on the one hand, and the business community's concern for a simple, uniform, and administrable tax regime in which it can operate at reasonable cost.' Not much help there for the Advisory Commission.

The difficulty facing the NTA, the Commission and, eventually, the Congress, is that there are literally thousands of taxing authorities in the US, and a enormously wide set of tax rates and conditions. While it seems inevitable that there must be rationalisation of this tangle, if a basis for Internet taxation is to be found, getting to it through the legislative minefields of Washington and the US constitution is a daunting and scarcely imaginable process. It will be years before offshore and out-of-state sellers need worry about Internet taxation

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