Proposed online sales tax gains Minnesota support in Washington

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The days of tax-free online shopping appear to be numbered.

NBC News says the U.S. Senate voted in favor of considering The Marketplace Fairness Act -- which would allow states to collect sales taxes on all Internet purchases. Currently, online retailers are not required to collect state sales taxes if they do not have a physical location in the state.

Both of Minnesota's Democratic U.S. senators support the bipartisan bill, Minnesota Public Radio reports.

"I have seen with my own eyes people go into Best Buy, spend half an hour with a very eager salesperson who's helping them in any way they can, and they look at dozens of TVs and then go back outside the store and then buy it on the Internet," U.S. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said on the Senate floor last week, according to MPR. "That's not how things should work."

U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., agreed with his colleague's concerns. "State and local budgets have been hit really hard since the great recession," he said

Traditional big-box retailers, such as Twin Cities-based Target and Best Buy, are also backing the new legislation.

Minnesota officials estimate the sales tax exemption for online purchases cost the state roughly $450 million last year.

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