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H.J.R. 4 Enrolled





Chief Sponsor: Steve Eliason

Senate Sponsor: Wayne A. Harper

             7      LONG TITLE
             8      General Description:
             9          This joint resolution of the Legislature urges the United States Congress to pass S. 336
             10      and H.R. 684, the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would permit states that enact
             11      certain tax simplification and uniformity standards to require retailers whose sales to
             12      consumers in the state exceed a minimum threshold to collect applicable sales taxes on
             13      sales in the state.
             14      Highlighted Provisions:
             15          This resolution:
             16          .    urges the United States Congress to pass S. 336 and H.R. 684, known as the
             17      Marketplace Fairness Act, which would permit states that enact certain tax
             18      simplification and uniformity standards to require retailers whose sales to
             19      consumers in the state exceed a minimum threshold to collect applicable sales taxes
             20      on sales in the state.
             21      Special Clauses:
             22          None
             24      Be it resolved by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             25          WHEREAS, the Supreme Court of the United States held in Quill v. North Dakota, 504
             26      U.S. 298 (1992) that the "dormant" or "negative" Commerce Clause of the Constitution of the
             27      United States prohibits a state from requiring a retailer to collect and remit sales tax on sales to
             28      consumers in the state unless the retailer has physical presence in the state;
             29          WHEREAS, the Supreme Court further held "that the underlying issue is not only one

             30      that Congress may be better qualified to resolve, but also one that Congress has the ultimate
             31      power to resolve";
             32          WHEREAS, the sales tax, as applied to consumer purchases, can be a transparent tax
             33      levied by state and local governments;
             34          WHEREAS, the sales tax is, from the individual consumer's perspective, one of the
             35      simplest taxes imposed by state and local governments;
             36          WHEREAS, a complex aspect of sales taxation, from the individual consumer's
             37      perspective, is the requirement to pay "use" tax directly to the state or locality when sales tax is
             38      not collected by the retailer;
             39          WHEREAS, the electronic commerce industry needs to be left free from government
             40      interference, and any argument in favor of taxing sales on the Internet is problematic in light of
             41      constitutional provisions regarding interstate commerce and interstate compacts;
             42          WHEREAS, because there are over 9,600 state and local taxing jurisdictions in the
             43      United States, each with unique and changing definitions, rules, and holidays, the sales tax is,
             44      from a remote seller's perspective, one of the most complex and costly taxes imposed by state
             45      and local governments;
             46          WHEREAS, consumption taxes can be used to achieve competitiveness;
             47          WHEREAS, the sales tax has been a stable source of state and local revenue and
             48      provides some level of certainty for states and localities;
             49          WHEREAS, some proposed federal legislation authorizing states to require all retailers
             50      whose sales to consumers in those states exceed a minimum threshold to collect sales taxes has
             51      garnered support from some businesses and organizations;
             52          WHEREAS, despite the progress states have made in simplifying state sales tax
             53      collection for remote sellers, there remain some inequities between the burden of tax collection
             54      obligations imposed upon sellers with physical presence and the burdens those same
             55      obligations would impose on remote sellers serving consumers in multiple states without
             56      physical presence;
             57          WHEREAS, any federal legislation should be fair to both in-state and remote sellers,

             58      whether such legislation requires sales and use taxes to be collected on a point-of-sale or
             59      point-of-delivery basis; and
             60          WHEREAS, the state of Utah has adopted or supports, and Congress is considering, the
             61      following items in federal legislation:
             62          1. State-provided or state-certified tax collection and remittance software that is simple
             63      to implement and maintain, and paid for by states;
             64          2. Immunity from civil lawsuits for retailers utilizing state-provided or state-certified
             65      software in tax collection and remittance;
             66          3. Tax audit accountability to a single state tax audit authority;
             67          4. Elimination of interstate tax complexity by streamlining taxable good categories;
             68          5. Adoption of a meaningful small business exception so that small, remote seller
             69      businesses are not adversely affected; and
             70          6. Fair compensation to the tax-collecting retailer, taking into account such elements as
             71      the exchange fees retailers are charged for consumer credit card transactions, which fees apply
             72      equally to any state taxes collected on the purchase of goods sold as well as the actual purchase
             73      amount;
             74          WHEREAS, the Marketplace Fairness Act, currently introduced in the United States
             75      Senate as S. 336 and the United States House of Representatives as H.R. 684, helps level the
             76      playing field between remote sellers and main street sellers by requiring larger remote sales to
             77      collect the same sales and use taxes that the brick and mortar stores in Utah already collect;
             78          WHEREAS, in Quill Corp. v. North Dakota (1992), the Supreme Court of the United
             79      States indicated that Congress has the ability to resolve this sales tax collection inequity
             80      between remote sellers and brick and mortar sellers;
             81          WHEREAS, the Marketplace Fairness Act will provide states with the authority to
             82      require remote sellers to collect and remit the sales tax due if the state is willing to make
             83      significant simplifications for sellers;
             84          WHEREAS, Utah has already shown the way by adopting all the simplifications and
             85      uniformity standards required in the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement;

             86          WHEREAS, these simplifications, along with the ease of reporting through recent
             87      technological advances, have removed the obstacles to remote sellers collecting sales taxes just
             88      like any other retailer;
             89          WHEREAS, this is evidenced by the fact that over 1,800 sellers have voluntarily
             90      registered to collect the taxes in the states, including Utah, that have conformed their laws to
             91      the requirements of the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement;
             92          WHEREAS, there is an urgent need to pass this long overdue legislation to level the
             93      playing field for all retailers;
             94          WHEREAS, the legislation is about fairness, simplification, and stemming the erosion
             95      of state sales tax systems;
             96          WHEREAS, that both houses of Congress have agreed on the approach and legislative
             97      language indicates there is a readiness to take this important step to safeguard state sales tax
             98      systems;
             99          WHEREAS, although purchasers still owe a corresponding use tax on taxable
             100      purchases from remote retailers, most individuals are either not aware of this requirement or
             101      choose to ignore it;
             102          WHEREAS, while the Internet was essentially unknown to consumers in 1992, the
             103      loophole identified in the Quill Corp. v. North Dakota decision points out the competitive
             104      advantage online and mail order merchants have over traditional brick and mortar stores that
             105      are required to collect and remit sales tax from their customers;
             106          WHEREAS, no compelling reason exists for government to continue to give remote
             107      sales retailers a competitive advantage over in-state merchants who live and work in a
             108      community, hire employees, and pay taxes;
             109          WHEREAS, the United States Congress should act now so businesses compete on the
             110      basis of price and service, not on the ability of one form or retailer to avoid collecting taxes;
             111          WHEREAS, the Marketplace Fairness Act would give states the authority to require
             112      remote sellers with more than $1 million in total remote sales in the preceding calendar year to
             113      collect their state's sales and use tax on sales to customers; and

             114          WHEREAS, the Marketplace Fairness Act identifies minimum simplification
             115      requirements a state must enact before it can require remote sellers to collect its sales and use
             116      taxes, making it easier for the remote sellers to comply with the laws of multiple states:
             117          NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislature of the state of Utah
             118      urges Congress to enact S. 336 and H.R. 684 to authorize states, consistent with this resolution
             119      and principles of taxation espoused by national associations of legislators and governors, and
             120      subject to the enactment of any necessary state laws, to establish true fairness in state tax
             121      collection for both retailers having physical presence in a state and retailers who are remote
             122      sellers.
             123          BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Legislature of the state of Utah, having
             124      addressed the principles of fairness outlined in this resolution, urges Congress to require all
             125      retailers whose sales to consumers exceed a minimum threshold to collect and remit applicable
             126      sales taxes on sales in the state.
             127          BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be sent to the members of
             128      the United States House of Representatives and to the members of the United States Senate.

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