EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

April 25, 2013

N.H., Mass. leaders divided over Internet sales tax

Shaheen, Ayotte oppose proposal

Kay Normington hopes to expand her online gift shop sales, but now she’s having second thoughts.

Normington, owner of The Kitchen at Windham Junction, already is tired of all the paperwork and the state requirements she must meet to continue running her small restaurant and gift shop.

Now, a bill before the U.S. Senate would require retailers who sell merchandise over the Internet to collect state and local sales taxes for those purchases. The taxes would be sent to the states where shoppers live.

The legislation is making some small-business owners nervous.

“That’s crazy,” Normington said yesterday. “It would definitely discourage me. It would definitely be a hassle.”

She said she already has enough to do to keep her 10-employee business running.

“There is already so much work involved,” she said. “It’s just not worth it.

Business owners wonder how they would be affected by the proposed Marketplace Fairness Act, especially in the Granite State. The state does not have a sales tax, nor a mechanism in place to collect one.

New Hampshire’s two U.S. senators are speaking out against the proposal, saying it would hurt business. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., supports the act.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H, filed an amendment yesterday to exempt states such as New Hampshire that don’t impose a sales tax.

“The Internet sales tax legislation that the Senate is considering this week is bad for New Hampshire small businesses and our country’s economy as a whole,” Shaheen said in a statement.

U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., is also a vocal opponent of the bill.

Shaheen and Ayotte spoke against the bill on the Senate floor this week, concerned that supporters of the tax are trying to push it through.

“Supporters of the online sales tax are trying to rush it through the Senate before consumers and businesses can rise up to oppose it,” Ayotte said.

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