No Online Sales Tax Bill From The Senate Until May

Online sales taxes won't be heading for the U.S. House of Representatives this week after all. Late Thursday (April 25), the Senate voted again to move the "Marketplace Fairness Act" forward—but Sen. Harry Reid said a deal was reached to postpone the final votes on the bill until after the Senate returns from a one-week recess, according to Forbes.

The deal, which puts the final vote during the week of May 6, means senators will be able to leave town as scheduled, instead of being tied up in procedural fights into the weekend. Opponents of the bill, who represent too few votes to defeat it, refused to voluntarily allow the votes to be taken on Thursday, which would have resulted in a past-midnight session on Thursday and votes through Friday and into Saturday.

That won't change the ultimate result in the Senate, where at least 60 senators have voted to move the bill forward during every procedural vote. The bill would allow each state to require out-of-state online retailers to collect sales taxes on purchases by the state's residents.

Thursday's vote also blocks all except technical amendments to the original bill. That would eliminate any chance to increase the $1 million threshold in taxable sales for small businesses. Ebay (NASDAQ:EBAY), among other bill opponents, was lobbying for an exemption for any online retailer with less than $10 million in out-of-state sales or fewer than 50 employees.

However, those changes may still be made. Once the Senate has finally voted, the bill will move on to the House, where it will have to go through the committee process that the Senate avoided—and Rep. Dave Camp, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, has also pushed for the $10 million threshold. If the supporters of online sales taxes don't want the measure to die in committee (the fate of every previous attempt over the past 12 years), a $10 million threshold looks very likely.

For more:

- See this Forbes story
- See this The Hill story

Related stories:

Online Sales Tax Bill Could Help Chains With Taxes, Too
Online Sales Taxes March Forward, While Ebay Rallies Its Anti-Tax Troops
Online Sales-Tax Bill Could Get Senate Votes Next Week