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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    eBay Trying to Rally against Marketplace Fairness
    eBay just sent this to my seller account:

    The voters have spoken. The current lame duck Congress will soon end their work, and come January, a new Congress will take on the challenges facing the nation.

    Unfortunately, there is a last-minute effort underway to rush an Internet sales tax bill—a bill that fails to protect small businesses like yours—into law. If you oppose this lame duck Congress passing this last-minute Internet sales tax bill, the time to let your members of Congress know is now.

    Making your voice heard is easy—click here to contact your members of Congress. Together, we can make a difference.

    Sincerely,

    Tod Cohen
    Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Government Relations
    eBay Inc.
    Here's the bill:
    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-1...13s2609pcs.pdf

    I don't think there is anything negative in the bill from our perspective. I think it is exactly what we all want/need. In particular, I see this line on page 8:
    (b) NO EFFECT ON NEXUS.—This title shall not be
    construed to create any nexus or alter the standards for
    determining nexus between a person and a State or locality.
    Oh, here is an explanation on why eBay doesn't like the Marketplace Fairness act (which Amazon is advocating).

    Debunking the Myths around the Marketplace Fairness Act | eBay Inc. Main Street

    They don't evidently like the $1 million dollar gross receipts definition of a small business. eBay wants a $30 million dollar threshold.
    Merchants, any data you provide to Google Shopping should also be in your affiliate network datafeed. More data means more sales!

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  3. #2
    Affiliate Network Rep JCrooks - AffiliateWindow's Avatar
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    There are a lot of small merchants who won't be able to handle all of the work associated with that low threshold. I don't know that $30 MM is the right amount, but I'd definitely prefer at least $5 MM instead. Make the threshold too low and a lot of your smaller niche merchants will disappear, leaving only the big boys.... and I know that wouldn't be popular.
    Jeannine Crooks - Always happy to share what I know! - Voted Best Network Rep 2013 & 2014
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  5. #3
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    The bill is good for big retail and govt, not for small-mid sized business or for consumers.

    First, Tax collection & Audits...
    It's not simply collecting one tax rate for one state, it is 45 possible rates for 45 possible states. Then, within each of those states there are different categorization of products in order to understand if that product is taxed or not taxed, and so on. (e.g. is a belt an accessory or clothing and does Harris County--where the purchaser is shipping the belt, NOT where the customer lives--on tax holiday.)

    Second, Privacy...
    Every single purchase is categorized and attributed to an address and shared with private organizations (SSTGB, Inc. and CSPs) as well as all the states to keep...creating an NSA-like consumer profile...unintended or not.

    Third, Foreign Advantages...
    I don't know how one can argue it's good for American business when it does not require foreign business to collect this tax, file tax returns to every state, every month, or be subjected to onerous/expensive/paralyzing audits by 45 states.

    Additional Tax...
    It's also a new tax for sales tax free states as they have to collect it now, and charge tax to residents if they wish to mail products elsewhere.

    Compliance and 'free' software...
    Compliance will be a nightmare, integrating govt mandated software w/o free support and requiring APIs from multiple states will be totally impossible, and prepping data in a new way for this unwanted software will create so many errors for business (and costs) it makes this legislation a tax trap! (Auditing wagons and services are already gathering their wagons, muskets and cannons. Using your misplaced Tea Party reference.)

    Ebay is right.
    This is not a partisan issue. It's a information one. If you look beyond the surface you can't deny that the Marketplace Fairness Act is a monstrosity. Meaning well (maybe), doing well (no), having far reaching effects, snowballing each year (yes).

    See the eMainStreet Alliance video series on MFA on Youtube. It's great.

  6. #4
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    As a software developer, I don't really see what the problem is. Software companies that provide shopping cart and checkout solutions will hop on this immediately. A new series of businesses will crop up to help and they will be included as monthly service add-ons to shopping carts. These add-on businesses will take tax collection and payment out of the hands of the merchant.

    I'm sorry DavidPaul, I see this is your first post, and frankly, I feel like you are somehow connected as a lobbyist. A lot of your objections are just fear mongering. I really can't stomach people who prey on other people's fear of the unknown.

    Internet tax collecting is the right thing to do and a law has to get passed. State's rights are going to require a convoluted mess because states don't want to give up power to the federal government. A law with 45+ sets of rules is the only way to get something through congress, ever. That's just the way it is...
    Merchants, any data you provide to Google Shopping should also be in your affiliate network datafeed. More data means more sales!

  7. #5
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    If you 'Ad Hominem' You Subtract Truth
    I am not at all connected as any kind of lobbyist. Shame on you for accusing me as such. I'm guessing your ad hominem attacks come b/c you have no evidence to prove your argument. Find me, I run a local record label in AZ, sunsetalliance.com. I'm a director of digital marketing and have IT experience as well. I'm happy to chat in person. The lobbyists behind this bill are from Walmart, Amazon, Home Depot, Best Buy, Lowes...and so on.

    But you are wrong. Only Certified Software Providers (CSPs) can provide the free software and solutions. Check out this video:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7fU...JuSILm&index=4

    Just because I'm well-read and well-informed, doesn't make me a lobbyist. It actually makes me responsible. I learn much from the all-VOLUNTEER group of small business owners: eMainStreet Alliance. Check them out.

    45+ sets of rules for online/remote retailers, but 1 for brick/mortars. you mean. And it gives states sovereignty of citizens and businesses beyond their borders. Your constitutional argument is weaker than your lobbyist one.

  8. #6
    Affiliate Network Rep JCrooks - AffiliateWindow's Avatar
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    Actually all of DavidPaul's comments have been discussed for a while by opponents to the bill and are considered valid points. The assistance of software and payment services, while helpful, will add another cost to the whole process which many companies will not be able to afford. The constant threat of audits from any of the taxing authorities is also an issue.

    I'm not saying that a bill shouldn't be passed, but I do agree that the threshold needs to be higher.
    Jeannine Crooks - Always happy to share what I know! - Voted Best Network Rep 2013 & 2014
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  9. #7
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    I would say dump the tax at a state level and let them answer to the individual taxing bodies in their state. Set it at 5% which gives the online merchants a better deal and more viability. Of course this will have to be revised and rehashed but if we wait for a perfect solution we will get what we have today, a long wait. Meanwhile states are losing tax revenue they sorely need and the federal government isn't collecting either. Marginal propensity to consumer, consumers will purchase where they get the best deal or ignore the tax and order online for convenience.

  10. #8
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    Thanks JCrooks. Not that you agree, but for pointing out that what I'm saying has been substantiated many times.
    If one has a technical or software dev background one should also know that each state is required to provide its own API. What a nightmare! Troubleshooting and testing and support is a huge need, but has had little discussion in Congress. Basically, CSP's have sad the software is plug & play but haven't been honest about integration requirements or been clear that the software won't work unless data is prepped properly on the business level...a new requirement that many won't be able to do on their own or afford. So yes, it would be reasonable to consider a higher threshold, say $30million exception.
    But even still, I don't begrudge success so I don't want my more successful brothers and sisters burdened either. Nor do I want states to step up their tax collection efforts. Nor do I want states to have access to my purchase history. Nor do I want foreign biz to sneak through the loopholes and not collect that tax or be subject to the regulations/audits/mandated software.

  11. #9
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    Let's get back on point. In order for the affiliate marketing industry to move forward, we need this law or something similar to pass.

    I just don't understand why a small business owner would want to try to skirt tax collection. It is their responsibility as citizen's of the United States. The fact that we have gone this long without tax collection in some states for online purchases is mind boggling.

    I also don't understand why someone would even want to attempt to roll their own tax collecting and remittance software. Of course you would want a certified software company to provide the solution.

    State and local government rely on sales tax to provide public services, including school funding. I personally will lose a very large amount of money by having to pay taxes for online services such as web hosting. But... It is the right thing to do...
    Merchants, any data you provide to Google Shopping should also be in your affiliate network datafeed. More data means more sales!

  12. #10
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    It's not skirting tax collection. No online retailer is complaining about collecting tax for the state where they reside. They already do. (We already do)

    You must also consider the complications with 3rd party carts, multi-channel selling, returns and damage product calculations, etc.

    One rate for one state (where one resides) and only one audit per year with limited DOR inquiries is rarely ever argued.

    Remote retailers already collect and remit tax. And 83% of online sales, reported by Forbes and elsewhere are big-retail sales where tax is collected as well.

    You promote the expansion the size of bureaucracy and control of big retail and govt over the marketplace. Now which lobby are YOU working for?

    Let's not argue the 'right' thing to do. Let's be more practical. I already pay tax on hosting. So I guess I'm already doing the right thing. And no one is stopping you from declaring your non-taxed purchases, if you are going the self-righteous route. I mean, it's the law, right?

    Frankly, I'll leave it at that, as I wish not to be more contentious. We obviously disagree. I would forward those to a great video series on MFA that's certainly clarified things for me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMEK...JuSILm&index=1
    Last edited by DavidPaul; November 13th, 2014 at 02:46 PM. Reason: Adding an additional line of text

  13. #11
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidPaul View Post
    You promote the expansion the size of bureaucracy and control of big retail and govt over the marketplace. Now which lobby are YOU working for?
    You are arguing against a law that is good for affiliate marketing, while on an affiliate marketing forum? If we don't get a measure passed, we will eventually be out of business. Are you not aware of the danger our industry faces from affiliate nexus laws?
    Merchants, any data you provide to Google Shopping should also be in your affiliate network datafeed. More data means more sales!

  14. #12
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    DavidPaul,

    There are some good objections in your post, of course - but this statement is misleading.

    Additional Tax...
    It's also a new tax for sales tax free states as they have to collect it now, and charge tax to residents if they wish to mail products elsewhere.
    No new tax is created, and States with no sales tax, such as Oregon for example, would not need to create a sales tax for their residents. Oregon could continue to be a sales tax free State if they so chose to. They would not need to charge residents of Oregon anything at all, and they would still be free to ship packages to other States if they wished.

    They would need to collect sales tax from residents of OTHER States - if they were shipping, for example, to New York which does have a sales tax. There would be no effect to any Oregon sales tax, Oregon resident, etc...
    Thanks,

    Brian Littleton
    President/CEO - ShareASale.com, Inc.

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