U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) tonight voted against an amendment to the Senate budget resolution that aims to force online retailers to collect sales taxes for states in which they do not have a physical presence.
Standing up once again for New Hampshire Internet retailers, Ayotte took to the Senate floor for the second time this week to express her strong opposition to the proposal, which she said is unfair to businesses in New Hampshire - a state that doesn't have a sales tax.
"This proposal would trample on the rights of New Hampshire, which has made the decision to not have a sales tax," said Senator Ayotte. "Congress shouldn't force small online retailers to become tax collectors for other states. I will fight this proposal every step of the way, and I will continue to work across party lines to protect New Hampshire's small online businesses from this power grab."
A budget resolution is intended to provide a spending blueprint for the nation - but it does not carry the force of law. The amendment passed, 75 to 24.
In her remarks on the Senate floor on Thursday, Ayotte expressed her opposition to this proposal using comments from business owners in Franconia, Pittsfield, Amherst, Rindge, and Boscawen.
Senator Ayotte has worked diligently to protect New Hampshire Internet businesses from sales taxes. In addition to introducing a bipartisan resolution last year expressing the sense of the Senate that no federal legislation should give states the authority to impose any new burdensome or unfair tax collecting requirements on Internet businesses and entrepreneurs, she also posed tough questions to proponents of online sales tax legislation during a Senate Commerce Committee hearing last year.
Under current Supreme Court precedent, absent a sufficient connection, a state cannot force out-of-state Internet businesses to collect and remit sales taxes. For example, when a customer in Illinois buys a product from an online vendor based in another state that has no physical presence in Illinois, authorities in Illinois cannot currently compel the out-of-state vendor to send it the Illinois tax on that sale. However, cash-strapped states looking to plug budget holes continue to push for a new law that would force online retailers to collect sales taxes for jurisdictions nationwide.
In addition to Ayotte's efforts to protect New Hampshire's online retailers from having to collect sales taxes for other states, earlier this year she introduced the "Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act" (S. 31), legislation that would prevent state and local governments from imposing new taxes on Internet access, and prohibit any multiple or discriminatory taxes on e-commerce.