New legislation would level the playing field for small businesses in Iowa, according to Decorah Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Nikki Brevig.

The U.S. Senate recently delayed a vote on the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would require online businesses to collect sales tax, until May 6, following a stalemate in the U.S. Senate on the issue.

Brevig urges the community to let Senators Chuck Grassley and Tom Harkin know they support the tax.

"These (Internet) companies should be paying. It's required by law. And as consumers, if we don't pay sales tax, we are required by the IRS to claim that on our taxes," said Brevig.

She said according to a University of Tennessee study, last year Iowa online companies neglected to charge approximately $98.4 million dollars in sales tax.

"That's money our state is missing out on ... things that can help our state. It can pay for schools, infrastructure and miscellaneous city and state projects," said Brevig.

The Chamber director said the state of Iowa has recently streamlined the process for businesses to collect and report sales tax and there is no additional cost to the business. The consumer pays the tax.

"All businesses should be doing this. We encourage people to contact their legislators," said Brevig.



Easy to support

Brevig said a quick and effective way to show support for the Marketplace Fairness Act is to visit the Chamber's website, decorahareachamber.com, and click on Initiatives.

On the list of Initiatives is a link to Marketplace Fairness Act, which contains links to email Grassley and Harkin.

"The more voices that come out, the easier it will be for them to support this," said Brevig.