Bill to Tax Mail-Order Sales: With their...

Bill to Tax Mail-Order Sales: With their eyes on revenue of at least $1.5 billion a year, representatives of state and local government asked Congress to require that taxes be collected on mail-order sales to out-of-state residents. Under a 22-year-old Supreme Court decision, a state may not require an out-of-state merchant to collect sales taxes unless the merchant has a retail outlet in the state. A bill introduced by Rep. Jack Brooks (D-Texas), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, would require only that a company regularly solicit business in a state before the state could require that taxes be collected. Supporters of the bill believe that the present law is unfair to local merchants because it allows their competitors to undercut prices by the value of sales taxes, which range from 5% to 8%.

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