Bob Robicheaux, chair of the Marketing, Industrial Distribution and Economics Department, appeared on FOX 6's Good Day Alabama to discuss the implications of the Marketplace Fairness Act on Alabama coffers (Dr. Robicheaux appears at 1:45 after a news report on the U.S. Senate vote).
On May 6, the U.S. Senate passed the federal legislation, which would allow states that currently charge sales taxes (like Alabama) to require large online retailers to collect tax on purchases made by their residents. Currently, online retailers are not required to collect the sales tax that is owed. That responsibility is left to the buyer, who is required by state law to track the sales tax from online purchases themselves and remit them with their taxes each year.
The law would only apply to online sellers that have sales of at least $1 million outside of states where they have physical operations, like a store or a warehouse.
Dr. Robicheaux conducted research in 2012 that calculated the costs to Alabama of not requiring large online retailers to collect tax on Alabama purchases. The research has been cited by Gov. Robert Bently as reason why the act is needed.