eBay CEO enlists users’ aid to defeat online sales tax bill

eBay is trying to marshal its users to change federal sales tax legislation pending in the Senate that could usher in the first national Internet sales tax.

eBay CEO John Donahoe began sending e-mails to the online auctioneer’s users on Sunday, asking they contact their federal representatives to express their opposition for the Marketplace Fairness Act. The proposed legislation, which the Senate is expected to vote on this week, would allow states to require online vendors to collect sales and use tax on certain out-of-state purchases. Only businesses with less than $1 million in annual U.S. sales would be exempt.

Donahoe, who argued that the proposed tax places an unreasonable burden on small retailers, singled out rival Amazon, which supports the legislation.

“This legislation treats you and big multi-billion dollar online retailers — such as Amazon — exactly the same,” Donahoe wrote in the e-mail, which was first reported by Reuters. “Those fighting for this change refuse to acknowledge that the burden on businesses like yours is far greater than for a big national retailer.”

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