Poll: 57% of Americans oppose Internet sales tax

The so-called “Marketplace Fairness Act,” the Internet sales tax proposal that has already passed the Senate and is currently stalled in the House, isn’t all that popular among Americans.

According to a new poll from Gallup, 57% of Americans oppose the Internet sales. The strongest resistance to the tax comes from adults under between under the age of 29.

“Americans, by 57% to 39%, say they would vote against a law that would allow each state to collect sales taxes on purchases its residents make online over the Internet,” noted Gallup, which conducted the poll between June 15-16. “Young adults voice the most widespread opposition to such a law.”

The proposal, which is being pushed by traditional retailers, would allow state governments to collect taxes from online retailers, even if they don’t have a physical precense within its borders. If passed, the the Marketplace Fairness Act would turn Internet retailers into a tax collecting agents for 45 states and the District of Columbia and more than 9,600 taxing jurisdictions.

“[T]hat’s 46 returns (45 states with sales taxes plus the District of Columbia), which have to be filed monthly or quarterly, and 46 potential audits every year,” wrote Jacob Sullum last month at Reason, “not to mention all the misunderstandings, disputes, and hassles that fall short of an audit.”

This would create a significant regulatory burden for online retailers, many of which are small businesses, forcing them comply with tax laws from each state. Many online retailers have explained that the complying with the regulations would force them to raise prices.

Gallup found that 73% of Americans from ages 18 to 29 oppose the Internet sales tax. Among Americans ages 30 to 49, 62% oppose the tax. Older adults, those over the age of 50, are less likely to oppose the tax, with only 46% responding that they are against it.

Opposition exists across party lines, with Democrats (50%), Republicans (63%) and Independents (57%) all against the Internet sales tax.

While revenue-hungry state governments are pushing Congress to pass the Internet sales tax, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) indicated last month that he would oppose it, specifically citing the regulatory burden that it would impose. President Barack Obama, on the other hand, supports the Internet sales tax.

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