Monday, May 6, 2013

Marketplace Fairness Act passes the Senate

Today the United States Senate, on  a 70-24 vote, passed the Marketplace Fairness Act. Here is a link to the bill: http://marketplacefairness.org/bill-text/. The MFA will make anyone selling anything on the internet to collect the taxes from the locality that the buyer is from. Current law states that internet retailers only have to collect the taxes in States that they have a brick-and-mortar store in. Also, under current law, we as consumers of e-retailers are suppose to remit the proper taxes to our own locality if tax is not collected.

Amazingly, Amazon.com is one of the major businesses pushing the MFA. Some feel the need for MFA is to level the playing field between e-retailers and brick-and-mortar businesses. If the House passes the bill and President Obama signs it into law it will be an overreach by the Federal Government since the Supreme Court decision in  Quill Corp vs. North Dakota, 1992, where it was determined that States could only collect taxes on e-retailers if that e-retailer had a physical presence in the State.

In citing the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, the Supreme Court struck down North Dakota's attempt to collect taxes via Quill Corp on North Dakota customers. Copy of the SCOTUS decision can be found here: http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/91-0194.ZO.html. Based on this and other cases cited in the 1992 decision is remarkable that Congress would pass a law that clearly violates the Constitution. Then again they did pass the Affordable Care Act that was only deemed Constitutional because it is consider a tax not to have health insurance.

Hopefully the House of Representatives have read SCOTUS and understand the Commerce Clause and Due Process Clause or we may see yet another piece of legislation passed that violates the Constitution.