Amazon says it supports federal bill for online sales tax collection

Amazon.com has been striking deals with states over the collection of sales tax, but the Seattle online retailer’s bigger goal is federal legislation that addresses the issue. Today, the company came out in support of a bill proposed by U.S. Senators Mike Enzi, Dick Durbin, and Lamar Alexander to create a constitutional framework for collecting sales tax online.

“Amazon strongly supports enactment of the Enzi-Durbin-Alexander bill and will work with Congress, retailers, and the states to get this bi-partisan legislation passed,” said Paul Misener, Amazon vice president, global public policy.  “It’s a win-win resolution – and as analysts have noted, Amazon offers customers the best prices with or without sales tax.”

According to The Hill, the bill would close a loophole in which online retailers were exempted from collecting sales taxes where they don’t have physical operations or stores. The National Retail Federation is supporting the bill, but eBay is opposing the measure  arguing that it could hurt small retailers.

“This is another Internet sales tax bill that fails to protect small-business retailers using the Internet and will unbalance the playing field between giant retailers and small-business competitors,” said eBay vice president Tod Cohen tells the LA Times. “It does not make sense to expand Internet sales tax burdens on small businesses at a time when we want entrepreneurs to create jobs and economic activity.”

Meanwhile, the LA Times separately reports that Amazon is planning to roll out an optional service early next year that will allow it to help small online merchants better collect taxes. The Times notes that third-party merchants on Amazon could utilize the tax collection service for a fee of 2.9 percent of taxes collected.

The LA Times notes that “it’s a strategy that could reap millions of dollars in new revenue for Amazon, which has been among the most vocal opponents of government attempts to tax e-commerce.”