WASHINGTON — Congress entered the protracted fray overimposing taxes on e-tailing once again on Friday and this time a mainopponent — Amazon.com — appears to be on its side.
Sen. DickDurbin (D., Ill.) introduced long-anticipated legislation Friday thatwould authorize 24 states to require all Internet retailers to collecttax on online sales.
The debate over taxing Web sales has takenplace in Washington for more than a decade without any resolution, butbrick-and-mortar retailers are hoping this is the year Congress willact.
In a stunning twist, Amazon.com, which has battled statesagainst a sales tax requirement and threatened to sever businesspartnerships, said in a letter to Durbin that it supports hislegislation and has always supported a “simple, nationwide system ofstate and local sales tax collection, evenhandedly applied to allsellers, no matter their business model, location or level of remotesales.”
Paul Misener, Amazon’s vice president of global publicpolicy, in the letter, a copy of which was provided by Durbin’s office,said, “Introduction of your bill returns the discussion of interstatecollection of sale tax to Congress, which the Supreme Court says is theappropriate forum to resolve the issue.”
Sears Holdings Corp.also supports Durbin’s bill.
A movement by several states inrecent months backing legislation requiring online sellers to collectsales taxes could also provide the impetus needed on Capitol Hill. Mostrecently, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation in late Junethat requires out-of-state Internet companies to collect sales taxes andremit them to the state.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 1992case, Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, that retailers are required tocollect sales tax from out-of-state customers only if they have a“physical presence” in the customer’s state.
Durbin’s bill,dubbed the Main Street Fairness Act, would authorize states that haveadopted the Streamlined Sales & Use Tax Agreement of 1999 —developed to simplify sales tax laws in response to the Supreme Courtdecision — to require out-of-state sellers to collect sales taxregardless of whether they have a physical presence or not. The billwould cover Internet-only sellers as well as “remote sellers,” such ascatalogue companies.
Durbin’s office said 24 states have changedtheir laws to comply with the Streamlined Sales & Use TaxAgreement, but the Quill decision directed Congress to sanction theagreement.
Traditional retailers are backing federal legislationand a national standard requiring e-tailers to collect sales taxes,arguing they are put at a competitive disadvantage alongside smallretailers when consumers choose Internet-only Web sites over storesbecause of the added cost of sales tax.
“We believe there shouldbe a level playing field where all retailers follow the same rulesregardless of whether they sell their merchandise in a brick-and-mortarstore, through the mail or online,” said David French, senior vicepresident of government relations at the National Retail Federation.“This bill would end a situation where Internet sellers have had anunfair price advantage over local stores for far too long. Tax policyshould be channel neutral and not favor one segment of an industry overanother.”
Durbin’s bill exempts small businesses, as defined bythe governing board of the Streamlined Sales & Use Tax Agreement,and compensates retailers for any startup administrative costsassociated with collecting sales taxes.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast