Marketplace Fairness Act Aims to Level Retail Playing Field

There may be good news soon for brick-and-mortar tennis pro and specialty shops. In March, the U.S. Senate, by a large bi-partisan majority, voted for an amendment to the budget bill that would require all retailers to collect and report sales tax, including online retailers who have been exempt from many state and local taxes.

Supporters of the Marketplace Fairness Act says it will level the retail playing field. Brick-and-mortar retailers have long argued that they are at a disadvantage, because they have to collect sales taxes while online competitors are exempt.

The Senate’s 75-24 vote was “a clear victory for Main Street retailers and those who believe in free and fair competition,” said Sandy Kennedy, president of the Retail Industry Leaders Association. Identical legislation has also been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, where it also appears to have bipartisan support.

“The overwhelming bipartisan vote in the Senate is proof positive that the federal government’s special treatment of online-only retailers will soon be a thing of the past,” Kennedy said. “While we take nothing for granted, today’s vote opens many pathways to making the Marketplace Fairness Act law this year.”

Even online giant Amazon backs the proposal, despite its long opposition to collecting sales taxes. One reason for Amazon’s change of heart is its decision to build more regional distribution centers to speed deliveries of its goods.