Dubuque Business Owner to Talk "Main Street Fairness" with Congress

By Katie Wiedemann, Reporter

DUBUQUE, Iowa - A Dubuque business owner says a proposed change to federal tax law would put him out of business. The "Main Street Fairness Act" would require online retailers to collect state sales tax based on where each customer lives, not where the store is located. The goal is to level the playing field for brick and mortar stores.

Wholesale Coin and More owner Jamie Smith will talk with members of Congress next week. Smith sells collectable coins on E-bay.

Smith said, "It's the only platform where I could reach that many buyers. There's just no way I would have potentially 200 million people come across my store front. "

When the coin market was hot, Smith says he netted as much as $100,000 in one year.

But now he's worried his business could be in jeopardy.

"Hypothetically speaking, if I sell a coin set to someone in Utah, Utah wants me to send them some money as well, " said Jamie Smith.

Smith says he has no problem paying taxes here in Iowa, but not to every other state where customers buy his coins. Shipping is major part of Smith's business, so he's a regular customer at the post office.

He believes this proposed tax law would hurt U.S.P.S. as well.

"Pass the Main Street Fairness Act and you might as well kiss the post office goodbye. "

Smith knows not everyone agrees with his stand-point, but he's heading to Washington D.C next week to talk with law-makers. He's hoping congress will at least give him a penny for this thoughts.

Last year, Iowa started requiring online retailers with a store in Iowa to charge sales tax. Estimates vary widely on how much states lose to online sales tax from $3 billion per year to as much as $23 billion.
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