Tell Congress “No!” To New Sales Taxes & Burdens For Small Online Businesses

Congress is considering online sales tax legislation that is wrongheaded and unfair, and I am writing to ask for your help in telling Congress “No!” to new sales taxes and burdens for small businesses.

Whether you’re a consumer who loves the incredible selection and value that small businesses provide online, or a small-business seller who relies on the Internet for your livelihood, this legislation potentially affects you. For consumers, it means more money out of your pocket when you shop online from your favorite seller or small business shop owner. For small business sellers, it means you would be required to collect sales taxes nationwide from the more than 9,600 tax jurisdictions across the U.S. You also would face the prospect of being audited by out-of-state tax collectors. That’s just wrong, and an unnecessary burden on you.

Big national retailers are aggressively lobbying Congress to pass online sales tax legislation to “level the playing field” with Amazon. And, as they compete with big retail, Amazon is advocating for this legislation too, while at the same time they are seeking local tax exemptions across the country to build warehouses. This is a “big retail battle” in which small businesses and consumers have a lot to lose. But eBay is fighting, as we have for more than 15 years, to protect small online businesses and sellers and ensure healthy competition, value, and selection that benefit consumers online.

The solution is simple: if Congress passes online sales tax legislation, we believe small businesses with less than 50 employees or less than $10 million in annual out-of-state sales should be exempt from the burden of collecting sales taxes nationwide. To put that in perspective, Amazon does more than $10 million in sales every 90 minutes. So we believe this is a reasonable exemption to protect small online businesses. That’s what we’re fighting for, and what big companies such as Amazon are fighting against.

I hope you agree that imposing unnecessary tax burdens on small online businesses is a bad idea. Join us in letting your Members of Congress know they should protect small online businesses, not potentially put them out of business. Click here to make your voice heard. Together, I believe our voices can make a difference.


John Donahoe
President and CEO
eBay Inc.

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One Comment

  1. Sten Wilson says:

    Small businesses with less than one million dollars in remote sales will be exempt from having to process sales tax already due. Let’ look at on million in remote sale for a moment. For example, a merchant selling bottled water on the Internet would have to ship one tractor trailer load every three days. That would mean that same retailer would ship over 110 tractor trailer loads of bottled water a year. Is this what a mom and pop retailer looks like in our mind. Of course not.

    Remember, the $1MM small seller exception does not include domestic sales. So any business selling over $1MM in merchandise in their home state is still exempt from remote sales tax processes.

    Finally, Mr. Donahoe’s beloved eBay already offers their larger merchants sales tax functionality as part of their shopping carts. Modern technology freely available to Mr. Donahoe and any other merchant or platform easily and seamlessly integrates into any checkout or shopping cart platform. Freely available modern technology that automates sales tax calculations, collections and remittances for any jurisdiction in ant state. Sales tax automation eliminates legacy burdens for all merchants providing greater efficiency and profitability, especially for smaller merchants.

    I know, because as a “small merchant” already processing sales tax for thousands of jurisdictions in dozens of states, I no longer have to pay my accountant or bookkeeper for the remedial sales tax processing. I did not have to implement multiple software programs. One free system does it all.

    To me, it seems eBay’s fees and commissions are Mr. Donahoe’s primary concern. Maintaining a 5-10% pricing advantage enables greater flexibility in eBay’s fee and commission structure, and has nothing to do with what’s best for merchants of any size.


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