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Josh Barro

Why Doesn't Ron Wyden Want Sales Taxes That Work?

Ron Wyden's convoluted, parochial argument against collecting online sales taxes.

The Senate is currently debating the Marketplace Fairness Act, a law that would make it easier for states to collect online sales tax. Right now, if an Internet seller has no physical presence in the buyer's state, he doesn't have to collect tax on the sale. The buyer is legally obligated to report the sale himself and pay "use tax," usually by disclosing the sale on his state income tax form.

Most people don't do this. (Be honest: Do you?) So taxes go uncollected.