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Bill would force online retailers to charge state sales tax

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BATON ROUGE- The Marketplace Fairness Act, which is co-sponsored by U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), would allow states to force online retailers to collect sales taxes on Internet purchases.

The bill is intended to help small businesses that often lose out to online retailers who don't have to charge sales tax to customers.

"I think it levels the playing field, it will bring people back in our stores, in essence it helps the state of Louisiana, you know, and it just kinda gets people out," said Kristen Manske, manager at Varsity Sports.

It could also help bolster state tax revenue. The National Conference of State Legislators estimates Louisiana loses out on more than $808 million dollars in Internet sales tax revenue each year.

Still, retailers know when it comes to customers, the price, not taxes, will ultimately influence the sale.

"If the prices are similar I think people will come into the store, but if it's a huge price difference, I think they'll buy it online, regardless if they have to pay tax on it or not," said Marsha Thompson, manager at Tiger Mania.

The state still requires you to pay taxes on Internet purchases, even if you weren't charged sales tax when you made the purchase.


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