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May 1, 2013

Area shops: Web tax levels playing field


Americans for Tax Reform says the bill would be an unfunded mandate for private businesses because it would force them to be tax collectors for the states.

The group — which is led by conservative activist Grover Norquist and has signed commitments from most Republicans in Congress to oppose tax increases — also contends that passage would open the door to other Internet-based taxation, such as a levy on Web use.

Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook, however, disagrees.

“This bill does not impose any new tax,” he said Tuesday in response to questions emailed to his office. “Rather, it only allows the existing sales tax to be collected at the time of sale versus paid at the time of filing taxes, as is required by state law for every New Yorker now.”

He also said he the legislation would help small businesses.

“Across the 19th District, local retailers are struggling to compete with out-of-state online and catalog companies,” he said. “My priority in Congress is to protect our local small businesses, and ensure their fair treatment.”

The House version of the bill is not as far along as the Senate version, and its prospects less certain. Moreover, a House version might contain different provisions, such as a higher or lower threshold at which it would apply.

“I would certainly be open to increasing the small-business threshold to ensure we don’t overburden our smallest businesses,” Gibson said.

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