NetChoice Executive Director Steve DelBianco and Utah State Senator Curt Bramble (pictured) left blood on the canvas as they pulled no punches defending their respective positions about exportation of sales taxes.
Along with ACMA President Hamilton Davison, DelBianco has been among the most persistent lobbyists for fair alternatives to the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA), which seeks to undo the 1992 Quill v. North Dakota precedent that businesses must have a physical presence in a state for that state to require them to collect sales taxes. Senator Bramble, who is also president of the pro-MFA group, National Conference of State Legislatures, squared off with Mr. DelBianco in a session at the recent National Catalog Forum in Washington.
Although the outcome was fairly predictable — clearly neither side impacted the other side’s position — Mr. DelBianco along with the anti-MFA audience put the senator on the defensive. “As a CPA,” Senator Bramble said, “I don’t believe Quill would be decided today on a current contemporary fact pattern the way it was in 1992 when it was based on a 1980s fact pattern. Without a Federal solution where you can have safe harbors and put some context to the compliance, your worst nightmare ought to be every state with a sales tax doing their own thing and trying to comply. If your businesses aren’t nimble enough to find a fix, this is a problem.”
Mr. DelBianco countered that it’s not inevitable that Quill will fall. “It’s also not inevitable that states will gain new taxing authority because Federal legislation, which we’ve supported, avoids giving tax collectors reaching over borders to collect,” he said. “We’re trying to avoid tilting the field to penalize and punish catalog and internet businesses.”
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