Farm Bureau Urges Support for Bills Leveling the Sales Tax Playing Field

House and Senate legislation to promote fair competition between local and Main Street retailers and Internet-only sellers has the backing of the American Farm Bureau Federation. The Remote Transactions Parity Act of 2017 (H.R. 2193) and the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2017 ( S. 976) would allow states to apply sales tax laws uniformly. Currently, a legal loophole allows some online retailers to avoid collecting the sales tax due during a transaction. While consumers are still liable for paying what’s owed, few do, which gives online stores a strong advantage over their Main Street competitors.

"The businesses that line the streets of our nation’s small and rural towns provide essential goods and services to the farmers and ranchers who work the fields that surround them. But hometown businesses are at a disadvantage when they compete with online-only retailers who don’t have to collect sales taxes. When this disadvantage causes a ‘Main Street’ business to close or scale back, the impact is especially hurtful to already struggling small and rural towns," said AFBF President Zippy Duvall in a letter to House and Senate lawmakers encouraging them to support the bills.

When the sales tax disparity causes a Main Street business to close or scale back, Duvall noted, it’s not only small business owners and the families they serve who are harmed.

“Since local governments and schools rely heavily on property taxes for funding, when sales tax revenues decline they often turn to property taxes to make up the difference. For land-based businesses like farming and ranching, this is particularly onerous,” Duvall wrote.