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Chamber takes stance on business legislation

Letter to editor

POSTED: March 4, 2014 11:00 a.m.

Editor, As an integral part of the business community in Liberty County, the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce has taken an official position in favor of two key pieces of legislation. During the last board meeting, the chamber’s board of directors considered the legislation for the Georgia Full Accountability in Collection Taxes (FACT) Act of 2014 and the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013. The board voted to support both bills.
Both pieces of legislation will affect business on the local level, and the chamber board of directors believes it is important to provide our official stance and offer insight to the community regarding the decision.
The FACT Act, House Bill 713, proposes an increase in transparency in the reporting of sales and use tax. The premise is to allow local governments to have a better idea as to where revenues are derived. This legislation would allow the Georgia Department of Revenue to share sales-tax information with local government officials and to share all sales-tax information in executive session, if necessary, while ensuring that the information retains its confidential nature.
The local government also will be allowed to research sales and use tax errors, under-reporting of sales and use taxes, misuse of sales and use tax exemptions and fluctuations in distributions amounts. In addition, it will forbid local government to contact any taxpayer identified in confidential information.
Currently, the bill is waiting to go through the House Ways and Means Committee.
Additional information can be found at www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/en-US/Display/20132014/HB/713 or http://www.daily-tribune.com/view/full_story/24492408/article-Battles-sponsors-FACT-Act-for-tax-transparency.
The second bill is a federal bill known as the Marketplace Fairness Act (S.B.336/H.R.684). It grants states the authority to compel online and catalog retailers, regardless of their location, to collect sales tax at the time of the transaction. Local retailers already are required to collect sales tax, and the Marketplace Fairness Act would make that same requirement of online retailers.
The Marketplace Fairness Act is not a new tax. Currently, online sellers must collect sales tax from customers in their own states. However, a 1992 decision by the Supreme Court makes it so that retailers do not always have to collect. The Marketplace Fairness Act, which already has been passed by the U.S. Senate, holds online retailers to the same tax-collection standard as brick-and-mortar local retailers.
By supporting the Marketplace Fairness Act, the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce joins more than 300 organizations that support the legislation, including Amazon, one of the world’s largest online retailers.
Additional information can be found at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c113:14:./temp/~c113Sq5K16 or http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query.
The chamber board did extensive research and reading on these issues and feels that supporting the legislation is a positive step. We believe that, if passed, these pieces of legislation will strengthen the economy and allow greater transparency within the tax code.
The chamber board is made up of small-business owners, some of whom sell out of state; bankers; real-estate agents; service providers; medical professionals; retailers and more.

— Liberty County Chamber of Commerce
board of directors

 

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