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Ayotte pushes against Internet taxation

Republican New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte is working with Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden on a resolution that puts the Senate on record opposing any federal legislation giving a state authority to impose new tax collection requirements on Internet businesses and entrepreneurs.

The new resolution, similar to one Ayotte sponsored last year, opposes any bill "that would force online retailers to collect sales taxes for other jurisdictions in which those retailers do not have a physical presence," Ayotte's office said in a statement.

"Online businesses should be a source of jobs, not a source of new tax revenue," said Ayotte, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee. "New Hampshire prides itself on having no sales tax, and our Internet retailers shouldn't be forced to become tax collectors for other states.

"We need to be vigilant to preserve our tax-free status, and I will continue to fight any federal effort that would require New Hampshire Internet businesses to collect sales taxes," Ayotte said.

According to Ayotte's office, under current U.S. Supreme Court precedent, "When a customer in Illinois (which has a sales tax), for example, buys a product from an online vendor in non-sales tax New Hampshire that has no physical presence in Illinois, Illinois cannot currently force the New Hampshire vendor to collect and remit the Illinois tax on that sale.

"However, cash-strapped states looking to plug budget holes continue to push for a new law that would force online retailers to collect sales taxes for jurisdictions nationwide," the statement said.

According to the Ayotte statement, Joe Cortese, an online coin and stamp dealer from Pittsfield, said, "If small online retailers are required to collect sales taxes for jurisdictions across the country, these businesses will shrink rather than grow. The compliance costs in terms of time and money would simply be too much to bear. The consequences would be significant not just for businesses like mine, but for the entire economy."

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