Currently North American states are only capable of squeezing out sales tax from online merchants and affiliates with physical stores located within their borders. States also must rely on consumers to self-report purchases made with online retailers.
This gives online-only Amazon and similar services the upper hand in pricing over retail giant Walmart which seemingly builds a brick-and-mortar store every ten miles or so. However Amazon actually supports the new bill as it continues to build new distribution centers throughout the nation to improve delivery timing. eBay and many others who do business online do not.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Thursday filed a motion in support of the measure. Because of this move, the Senate is expected to vote on Monday on whether to end the debate and move forward with the proposed measure. An actual vote on the legislation is expected to be made by the end of next week.
Backers of the measure told Reuters that the Senate has the 60 votes needed to end the current debate, and follows a successful 75-25 vote of a nonbinding version of the bill last month. Although the legislation has gained momentum, it's possible the progression will slow once it reaches the House of Representatives where some Republicans view the move as just another tax hike.
One source told Reuters that Rep. Steve Womack, one of the bill's sponsors in the House, has been lobbying fellow Republicans to support the new tax bill. Meanwhile, Republican Bob Goodlatte, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, is skeptical about the measure.
"While it attempts to make tax collection simpler, it still has a long way to go," Goodlatte said.