The Times West Virginian


May 12, 2013

Marketplace Fairness Act helps level playing field for small businesses

FAIRMONT — Local business professionals like the fact that the Marketplace Fairness Act would treat all retail equally in terms of sales taxes.

On May 6, the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 was passed in the U.S. Senate by a 69-27 vote. The legislation now awaits the decision of the U.S. House of Representatives and then President Barack Obama, who has expressed his support of the bill.

Right now, only businesses that have an actual store location in a state can be obligated to collect sales taxes. When Walmart, Target, Kmart and other large companies with a physical presence in states across the nation get online purchases, they have to charge sales taxes. But these taxes don’t have to be collected by Internet retailers, such as Amazon and eBay, unless they have a facility in the particular state.

The Marketplace Fairness Act would give states the authority to mandate that retailers collect taxes for online sales, as well as sales from catalogs and radio and TV advertisements. That money would go to the state where the shopper resides.

Some parties, including representatives from states that don’t have sales taxes, are against the new legislation because they see it as a tax increase.

The legislation includes an exemption for companies that have less than $1 million in Internet sales.

Bridget Lambert, president of the West Virginia Retailers Association, explained that the small-business tax exemption would cover what is considered to be small businesses. Businesses that have more than $1 million in annual remote sales are not designated as small online retailers, and they are competing with other stores that are located in hometowns.

She said the collection of online sales taxes actually falls to the consumer at this point in time.

“These taxes ironically are due to the state of West Virginia,” Lambert said. “It is a tax that already is owed by the consumers.”

State tax forms include a line for West Virginia consumers to remit a use tax. However, there’s usually a large percentage of consumers who don’t remit use taxes. The Marketplace Fairness Act would guarantee collection and remittance for online sales, which isn’t currently happening, Lambert said.

“West Virginia and all the other states are losing significant tax dollars,” she said.

West Virginia’s U.S. senators — Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who co-sponsored the bill, and Sen. Joe Manchin — are both on board with the concept of the Marketplace Fairness Act, which the West Virginia Retailers Association has been supporting, Lambert said.

West Virginia has a lot of main street merchants that support their communities with taxes and employ citizens, she said. They operate locally, but are competing with online retailers that have an advantage.

Lambert hopes the legislation keeps moving foward, because a delay from Congress would have a continued negative impact on retailers, she said.

The West Virginia Legislature recently passed House Bill 2754, and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed the legislation into law. Lambert explained that this is a sales and use tax clarification bill.

It designates that retailers that have a presence in the state — a store or a distribution center — and do online sales must collect the 6 percent sales tax, she said. This will impact Amazon, which has a facility in Huntington, beginning Jan. 1, 2014.

“West Virginia is being proactive as well as our national delegation at this point,”  Lambert said.

She said the federal legislation will uniformly streamline these sales tax practices.

“I would think any chamber of commerce representing small business in the community would be in favor of this because it does level the playing field,” said Tina Shaw, president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce.

She said she doesn’t think it’s fair if a small-business retailer located in a community offers a product, but a customer can go on the Internet and purchase the same product on eBay or Amazon without having to pay the sales tax.

Email Jessica Borders at or follow her on Twitter @JBordersTWV.

Text Only
  • MM Consulting Services-JB.jpg MM Consulting caters to unique needs

    MM Consulting Services LLC is ready to help clients be successful by catering to their unique needs.
    The “MM” in the name stands for Marianne Moran, who started this Fairmont-based business in January 2013. She offers a wide range of marketing and advertising consulting services.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Organization shows Americans how tax dollars are spent

    Last week, the deadline arrived for citizens across the state and country to pay their 2013 income taxes.
    But how exactly are those federal income tax dollars spent by the government?
    Anyone who has ever pondered this question can turn to the National Priorities Project for a detailed answer.

    April 20, 2014

  • Statewide online directory lets you track local goods

    A new online tool is providing a detailed look into West Virginia’s local food system.
    The West Virginia Food Mapper, a statewide interactive mapping application, was officially finalized and launched in February through a partnership among several entities. Those partners include Downstream Strategies, the West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition and its Meat Processing Working Group, and the West Virginia GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Technical Center.

    April 13, 2014

  • Chancelors reopens at new site after devastating fire

    Nothing, not event a devastating fire, can keep Chancelors down.
    At the beginning of March, this family-owned auction business and store opened at its new location beside Premier Body Works, a mile and a half past the Barrackville Covered Bridge.

    April 13, 2014

  • Despite coal decline, West Virginia remains strong in exporting

    Companies throughout West Virginia are bringing new dollars into the economy by exporting.
    The governor’s office recently reported that the state’s exports in 2013 totaled $8.4 billion. This is the third-highest amount of exports that West Virginia has seen in its history.

    April 6, 2014

  • Mannington B&B Wireless offers affordable service

    B&B Wireless is now offering affordable cellphone services to the Mannington area.
    Owner Brad Weaver recently opened this store, which is an nTelos Wireless exclusive retail provider, at 122 Market St. in Mannington. The new business is located beside Hero’s Corner Cafe and shares a building with Fancy Nancy’s Gift Shop.

    April 6, 2014

  • NASA IV&V, TMC play key role in launch of satellite

    A modeling and simulation product developed by the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Facility and TMC Technologies, both in Fairmont, recently played a key role in launching a satellite off the ground.
    Brandon Bailey is the lab manager of the Jon McBride Software Testing and Research (JSTAR) Laboratory at NASA IV&V.

    March 30, 2014

  • Quality of life focus at White Hall Hearing Care

    White Hall Hearing Care encourages people to do their ears a favor and visit an audiologist.
    Owner Barb Litton Cox, a nationally certified state licensed audiologist, opened her office on March 4 at the White Hall Professional Complex, located at 177 Middletown Road.

    March 30, 2014

  • Small Business Resource Summit and Entrepreneurs Café set Tuesday

    Main Street Fairmont is helping small businesses find opportunities to grow.
    The Small Business Resource Summit and Entrepreneurs Café are scheduled for this Tuesday at Veterans Square, located at 320 Adams St. in downtown Fairmont.

    March 23, 2014

  • Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham opens doors

    The team of the new Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham is glad to be in Fairmont.
    The hotel, located at 20 Southland Drive next to the Middletown Mall, officially opened its doors on Friday, March 21. That afternoon, the management team and staff welcomed members of the public to tour the new facility and enjoy lunch during an open house.

    March 23, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Business
House Ads