U.S. Senators approve bill to let states tax online purchases

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The U.S. Senate voted 69-27 on Monday to adopt the so-called Marketplace Fairness Act, which allows states to require online sellers to collect sales taxes on all purchases, CNN reports. However, it could be a tougher sell in the U.S. House.

Some House Republicans still view the bill as a tax increase on consumers, but other House Republicans argue it simply enforces the collection of taxes already charged at traditional brick-and-mortar retailers.

The Star Tribune notes Target Corp. and Best Buy Co. are among the Minnesota-based retailers that have pursued the legislation for decades. Currently, Internet giants like Amazon and eBay are not required to collect the tax if they do not have a physical location in the state.

Best Buy issued the following statement:

Best Buy is encouraged by the passage of the Marketplace Fairness Act in the U.S. Senate and the clear bipartisan support the measure received. This legislation does not represent a new tax, rather it simply helps to ensure fair competition that ultimately benefits consumers and our communities. The current laws were put in place before the Internet or e-commerce even existed. Just as retail has evolved over the years, the tax code needs to evolve to reflect modern patterns in how consumers shop not by creating a new tax but by enforcing the laws already on the books. We hope that the U.S. House acts swiftly as well.

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

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