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May 8, 2013

N.H. delegation continues fight against Internet sales tax

New Hampshire’s congressional delegation continues to cry foul over the Marketplace Fairness Act.

There’s nothing fair about it for the tax-free Granite State, they say.

But the U.S. Senate approved legislation Monday, 69-27, which would require Internet retailers to collect sales taxes for orders shipped to states that have such a tax. New Hampshire is one of only five states that does not have a sales tax.

U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H. voted against the bill, saying it unfairly burdens small businesses.

The battle is far from over. The proposal faces tough going in the U.S. House, where the state’s two congresswomen also oppose the measure.

“The fight doesn’t end here,” Ayotte said. “As this legislation moves to the House, I will continue my efforts to protect New Hampshire’s online retailers from being forced to become tax collectors for other states.”

Shaheen filed amendments to exclude businesses in New Hampshire and the other tax-free states, but her efforts failed.

“We shouldn’t be imposing new and unnecessary burdens on New Hampshire small businesses, especially when there is no benefit for our state,” Shaheen said.

Some local business owners expressed frustrated with the Senate vote, including Sarah Geldart of Rick’s Motorcycles in Plaistow. Geldart said 90 percent of her business is done through online sales. The store specializes in used motorcycle parts.

“It’s crazy,” Geldart said. “It would be a big inconvenience to us as a business. We would have to hire another employee just to keep track of everything.”

Geldart said she hasn’t calculated just how big the hit to her business would be.

“We will make less money in profit, based on how we operate,” she said. “I know some people will have to go out of business, but we are going to figure out what the rules are and adjust to it.”

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