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Local business leaders urge support for online tax reform

5:21 PM, Jul 18, 2013   |    comments
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(WBIR - Knoxville) Closing the online sales tax loophole could jump start the economy, according to a national study.

Thursday, some small business owners in Knoxville gathered to talk about the study, which was commissioned by The Alliance for Main Street Fairness, an organization that supports requiring all businesses to collect sales tax.

The research shows that requiring online businesses to collect sales tax would lower overall tax rates, encourage job creation and boost the economy.

Currently, online retailers only have to collect sales tax if they have an actual office of some kind in the state. Local business owners say that gives online retailers an unfair advantage and results in big tax losses for the state each year.

They're urging Tennessee's lawmakers to support the Marketplace Fairness Act in Congress, which would allow states to require all retailers to collect sales tax.

"In essence, the study says, as a state dependent on sales tax as Tennessee is, we are most at risk. It also says passing the bill would generate an additional 15 billion dollars over 10 years and help create almost 47,000 new jobs," said Scott Schimmel, owner of Bliss.

The bill is currently in the House of Representatives.

The local business leaders specifically urged Congressman Duncan to support the bill. It passed the Senate with support from Senator Lamar Alexander.

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