Ebay Recruits Users to Lobby Congress Over Tax Act

April 21, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

Ebay recruits users: EBay is looking to recruit a number of users to help lobby against federal sales tax legislation that it says would burden online merchants.

Company Chief Executive John Donahoe told Reuters that the firm will send out millions of e-mails to users in asking them to send a message of Congress to request changes to the Marketplace Fairness Act. The e-mails started on Sunday.

The legislation would give power to states to tax retailers who live outside their boundaries. At present, state governments can only tax merchants who have a physical presence in the state.

Donahoe also said that Amazon Inc., the chief rival of eBay, supports the legislation.

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

The Marketplace Fairness Act is due to be voted on in the Senate in a few days.

Ars Technica reported that Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Gap, and a number of politicians support the move. Opponents include eBay, Americans for Tax Reform, and the Heritage Foundation.

In March, Americans for Tax Reform said the act “would not only hurt small business but also complicate state sales tax and force everyday American to pay more in taxes.”

“At a time when Americans are already overtaxed, passing the Marketplace Fairness Act would be only make things worse. Allowing the federal government to increase their taxing authority so broadly would be a disaster for the American people and businesses across the country,” the group said.