Lehigh Valley

Marketplace Fairness Act making its way through House

Marketplace Fairness Act making its way through House

Some local business owners are calling on lawmakers to start enforcing the "Use Tax" law.

The legislation requires that online shoppers pay state sales tax even if the company doesn't charge it.

At Dan's Camera City in Allentown people are looking for deals on all types of equipment.

"The biggest challenge we face is people who feel they can save money by purchasing the same product over the internet and then not paying sales tax on it," said co-owner, Mike Woodland.

Woodland and others are asking lawmakers in Washington D.C. to turn states "Use Tax" law national.

The 2013 Market Fairness Act was introduced February 14th in the U.S. House of Representatives.

"There is literally hundreds of millions of dollars being left on the table without this type of enforcement," added Woodland.

"Everything is going up," said Orel Bautista, an online shopper from Bethlehem Township. "So anyway I can try and save some money would be great."

The legislation calls for online retailers to charge sales tax and it streamlines the process on how each state would collect, and audit consumers that don't pay state sales taxes.

Sites like Amazon have added a line with the suggested sales tax.

But for now the online giant has stopped short of charging the tax citing they need to make software changes according to the Pennsylvania state revenue department last year.

"There is a lot of local businesses whose that's not the case because they simply can't compete against out of state merchants who have a six percent advantage to them," said Woodland.

Some shoppers say even if sales tax is charged or enforcement is more strict, it may not help local retailers.

"I do actually shop where it is cheapest, so if it was still cheapest after the sales tax then I probably would," said Mary Pinegar, an online shopper from Bethlehem.

Brick and mortar retailers say they just want a fair chance to compete.

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