Bozeman, MT – Simms Fishing Products is urging the U.S. Congress to approve legislation that enforces sales taxes on Internet sales from out-of-state retailers with online revenues totaling more than $500,000.

The proposed legislation, titled the Marketplace Fairness Act (S-1832), levels the sales tax collection playing field for local retailers by granting the states authority to enforce existing laws and require out-of-state, online retailers to collect and remit sales taxes to those states. Sponsored by Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming), the proposed legislation has strong bipartisan support.

“Our business and the sport of fly fishing depend on healthy specialty fly shops,” said K.C. Walsh, president of Simms. “This legislation will close a critical loophole that has given an unfair competitive advantage to online retailers. Our dealer-partners in states with high sales taxes have been hit hard trying to do business under the current structure.”

The legislation does not mandate a new sales tax. Under current law in 45 states, consumers are supposed to pay sales taxes on the goods they purchase, but online sellers are not collecting the tax in the same way that local brick-and-mortar businesses are.

“With the Internet and modern shopping methods, fly fishers can go online and get an all-inclusive price to have an item delivered to their doorstep,” said Bill Kiene, owner of Kiene’s Fly Shop in Sacramento, Calif. “When an online retailer doesn’t charge California’s 8-10 percent sales tax, that price comes in below what my shop must charge. This bill would rectify that.”

This legislation is being supported by a wide variety of retailers, manufacturers and organizations. The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association and The National Bicycle Dealers Association are in favor of this legislation. Amazon.com, Sears Holdings Corp. and traditional retailers including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. also back the measure.

“Specialty fly fishing retailers have been critical to our growth in revenues and jobs,” said Walsh. “They are being unfairly impinged by online retailers who do not currently collect sales taxes, challenging their viability and jobs in local markets. Please contact your legislators to support the Marketplace Fairness Act.”

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