WASHINGTON—Today U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) released the following statement following Senate passage of the Marketplace Fairness Act (S. 743), a bill to allow state and local governments to enforce current sales and use tax laws that require revenue to be collected on online purchases made by state residents. Murphy is a co-sponsor of the bill.

Right now, someone can walk into a shoe store in Connecticut, try on a pair of shoes, ask for advice from a salesperson, and then walk right out of the store and use a smartphone to buy those same shoes online without paying sales tax,” said Murphy. “Since online retailers aren’t expected to collect a state or local sales tax on the things they sell, the burden is on customers to report the taxes they owe on each product they buy online at the end of the year. This system is ridiculous and shortchanges states by nearly $23 billion in much-needed revenue each year, and puts giant online retailers at an unfair advantage over smaller local businesses in Connecticut and across the country. This bill would let the state of Connecticut collect roughly $152 million each year in uncollected tax revenue, helping to balance the state budget, and reduce dependence on tax increases or cuts to critical services in the state.”

The Marketplace Fairness Act would allow local Main Street retailers to compete on the same level with out-of-state Internet retailers, give states the ability to enforce their own sales and use tax laws, and relieve consumers of the legal burden to report to state tax departments the sales taxes they owe on online purchases. This bill does not create new taxes or increase existing taxes. Rather, it allows states and localities to enforce existing sales and use tax laws so they can collect revenue from online purchases. It requires states and localities to simplify sales and use tax administration and collection, and would exempt small online retailers (remote sellers with less than $1 million in annual revenue) from collection requirements.