Catalogers Voice Their Opposition to Internet Sales Tax Law
At the American Catalog Mailers Association's (ACMA) National Catalog Forum in Washington, D.C. yesterday, assorted catalog mailers and suppliers voiced their concerns regarding the Main Street Fairness Act (aka the internet tax law) and discussed their options to help see that the bill isn't passed. Having already been passed by the Senate this past Monday, the next hurdle to the bill becoming law is its passage in the House. The ACMA and its members are fighting to make sure that doesn't happen.
The group's main points of contention? The costs their businesses will have to incur from implementing a tax collection system for the roughly 9,600 different tax jurisdictions across the country will be prohibitive, not to mention the complex nature of managing all that tax information. The added expense would be just another strain on their already burdened catalog businesses, they argued, with the end result being job losses.
Whoever named the bill the Main Street Fairness Act should get a Pulitzer prize for fiction, said Allen Abbott, chairman of the ACMA and former president and CEO of catalog retailer Paul Fredrick MenStyle, noting that the bill is unfair to the small catalog and internet retailers for whom the bill is intended to help. The media coverage of the Main Street Fairness Act, dubbing it the internet sales tax, has been remiss in considering the impact it would have on catalogers, who still receive a percentage of their orders (in some cases as much as 10 percent) via the mail, said Louis Geisler, president of AmeriMark Direct, a direct marketer of women's apparel, shoes and accessories. Those mail-in orders are subject to the tax as well.
To help stem the tide of the Main Street Fairness Act, the ACMA organized a "fly in" in advance of its National Catalog Forum. Participants rearranged their schedules to come in a day early to voice their opposition to the bill on Capitol Hill. It focused its attention on members of the House, and its message was clear: if the Main Street Fairness Act is passed, it will cost the catalog/direct marketing industry jobs.