Many online retailers would like to see Congress standardize sales tax rates and remittance procedures so they would not have to comply with varying rules from thousands of taxing jurisdictions. But prospects for quick action are not good.
The American Catalog Mailers Association, which represents retailers that sell via printed catalogs and online, is among the groups lobbying Congress to create national sales tax rules that will ease the post-Wayfair burden on online retailers. But Brian Johnson of The Vogel Group, a lobbyist for ACMA, is not optimistic that Congress will act swiftly, in part because the matter falls under the purview of the House Judiciary Committee, which does not often deal with tax issues.
“Tax issues just aren’t prevalent enough for a lot of committee members to have staff that have a deep understanding of the issue,” Johnson says. “We spend a lot of time educating around this issue, the history of the Wayfair case, and the complexities businesses are still facing.”
It doesn’t help, in Johnson’s view, that Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler has shown little interest in the issue, instead focusing more on issues like immigration, antitrust and allegations of misconduct by former President Donald Trump. Nadler’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
Others have shown more interest. Six members of Congress, including U.S. Rep. Andy Kim of New Jersey and U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, both Democrats, last fall asked the General Accounting Office to update its 2017 study on the cost of sales tax collection for online retailers. But Johnson says the GAO has not responded to that request. Nor has he seen any indication that the administration of President Joe Biden is focused on easing retailers’ sales tax burden.
For more on online sales tax, read our in-depth article, “The barely bearable burdens of online sales tax.”