I recently received an email from eBay Inc Government Relations. It was a short, simple letter, but chilling in it’s implications. eBay is actually asking for our help, because of legislation under consideration in Congress that would impose added taxes and the collection of additional taxes on internet sales.

Under current law (in my state, at least) we collect state sales tax only on items sold in our state. The new legislation would completely change current sales tax law and force online sellers to collect and pay sales taxes in over 9,500 jurisdictions nationwide.

If you see evil big-business in this, you’d be correct. According to the letter, “Mega-billion dollar retailers have launched an effort to attach these internet sales tax proposals to potential end of year legislative vehicles.”

I’m not a lawyer, and I’m not sure my interpretation here is the correct one. But it sounds to me that we would have to literally file sales taxes on every sale we make, in the exact tax district the purchase was made from.

I can see why ‘mega-billion dollar retailers’ are pushing this. Small online sellers lack the resources to manage this amount of added paperwork, not to mention stay on top of all the laws and rules of some 9,500 separate jurisdictions. It would soon drive most of us out of business.

Regardless of the harmful impact on individuals and families who supplement or make their living on eBay, this is for the sole benefit of driving competition out of business. Cutthroat.

Attaching these somewhat-hidden agendas to ‘potential end of year legislative vehicles’ is, in my opinion, a devious and underhanded way to get them passed:
(a) without us as voters being aware or being able to oppose, and
(b) by making them a required condition of other proposals that might have broader support.

Anybody who knows me well, knows my faith in our government is severely strained (I’m being very nice here…)
But for what it’s worth, eBay Main Street is encouraging us to contact leadership in both the Senate, and the House of Representatives, and express our opposition to “internet sales tax proposals being included in any end of year legislation.”

To make this easier, the email I received has contact information. Phone numbers, and internet, whichever (or both) that you prefer.

For U.S. Senate Majority Leader Reid, please click here or call (202) 224-2158

For U.S. Senate Minority Leader McConnell, please click here or call (202) 224-3135

For Speaker of the House Boehner, please click here or call (202) 225-0600

For U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader Cantor, please click here or call (202) 225-4000

This information, as I mentioned, came to me by email from eBay Main Street. I’m a member of eBay Main Street. Found them through a previous announcement from eBay. Liked what they stood for, so signed up.

My question isn’t regarding the accuracy of the email. I don’t really see any reason to doubt it. It’s about the accuracy of my interpretation. Particularly the part regarding us as online sellers having to keep track of sales tax for 9,500+ jurisdictions.

Do I understand that right? Can anybody confirm, or better explain? It’s important, because the way it looks, if these proposals become law, it would certainly kill a lot of dreams and destroy a lot of families.

As it is, our government makes it amazingly difficult for small businesses to survive, all the while proclaiming how they ‘love small businesses’. But so far, we can still work toward the dream of financial independence. Take that away, and we’re trapped in a caste system with no chance of upward mobility.