ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Shopping online can save us a lot of money But the internet hasn't been fair to a lot of businesses so now Congress hopes to level the playing field between online retailers and brick and mortar stores.
If you buy a new pair of shoes from an online retailer today and they're coming from someplace other than in Illinois...that retailer doesn’t have to charge you Illinois sales tax, meaning the state loses out on millions of dollars each year. The state does require individuals to report our online purchases when we file our taxes, however, not everyone does. Congress wants to go one step further; Illinois Senator Dick Durbin and others plan to introduce on Thursday The Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013. It would give states the option to collect sales tax owed to them by out of state businesses. Local store owners think the bill would help them have an edge over huge sites like Amazon.
“We try to carry a lot of items you won’t find on sites like that but for other things we do have yeah, it’s easy for people to check on their smart phones. Especially on prices for things like a box set, if it doesn’t outweigh the shipping costs," says Skylar Davis, owner of Culture Shock in Rockford.”
States aren't allowed to collect sales tax from out of state retailers right now, so if this change passes, places that are hurting for revenues, including Illinois, would have another way to bring more cash into state coffers.
Congress tried to pass similar bills in 2011 but they failed to gain enough support from both parties. This bill is a bi-partisan effort. Illinois passed a law in 2011 that forced online retailers to pay sales tax but the state Supreme Court later declared it unconstitutional.