January 19, 2001, 12:00 AM

NRF Comes Out In Support Of Web Sales Tax

Don Davis

Editor in Chief

The National Retail Federation board is calling for state sales and use tax "equity" across all retail channels. The New York City-based trade group says equity should be ensured regardless of whether a transaction occurs in a retailer's bricks-and-mortar store, on a retailer's Web site, at the Web site of an online-only retailer or through any other kind of remote seller.

"Exempting some catalogues and electronic merchants from collecting sales taxes amounts to an unfair subsidy that penalizes brick-and-mortar merchants, as well as state and local communities that rely on sales tax revenue," says NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin. "NRF believes tax policy should be channel neutral. Providing equal collection obligations-i.e., requiring retailers to collect state sales and use taxes that already exist-for all retail distribution channels merely levels the playing field for retailers and their customers."

Meanwhile, the NRF, along with Web research firms (www.forrester.com) Forrester Research Inc. and Greenfield Online, plan to create an index of online retail trends. The National Retail Federation/Forrester Online Retail Index will aggregate online sales data by product category and dollar value from monthly surveys of 5,000 online shoppers, they say.

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