Email Your Representative to Support the Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act of 2014 (H.R. 3865)

This week the House is expected to vote on the Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act of 2014 (H.R. 3865). This bill would prohibit the Internal Revenue Service from modifying the regulations of 501(c)(4) organizations.

The new proposed regulations were created to restrict certain non-profit organizations in their ability to perform grassroots activity by expanding the definition and scope of “candidate-related political activity” (CRPA). The regulation, and the large amount of required paperwork that goes with it, will have devastating consequences to the Tea Party movement, while showing preference for lobbyists and big business interests.

Use POPVOX to message you Representative to support the Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act of 2014 (H.R. 3865). The new IRS regulations would have harmful effects on the American grassroots movement and limit the voice of the American people.

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Delaware’s Chris Coons Doesn’t Want You to Pay Taxes…Sometimes

Last night, the Senate moved to end debate on so-called Marketplace Fairness Act, more commonly known as the Internet Sales Tax.  The bill would turn small, online businesses into tax collectors for states in which they have no real connection.  Despite representing a state without a sales tax, Delaware Senator Chris Coons favors the legislation.

According to the Associated Press, Coons “supports the bill in part because tax-free Internet sales are eating into sales by Delaware retailers.”  The article continues:

“In our region, we’ve long benefited from significant commercial sales from residents of Maryland, of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and elsewhere, who come to Delaware to shop because we’re a tax-free state,” Coons said. “Over time, the benefit of that has eroded as folks discovered that they could buy the same things online without paying sales tax from home.”

This is earmark-style parochialism at its worst.  Coons wants to end tax-free shopping online so people will bring their tax-free shopping habits back to his home state.

So insular is Coons’ focus, he is urging “residents of Maryland, of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and elsewhere” to break their respective states’ tax laws.  As the same AP article explains, “In many states, shoppers are required to pay unpaid sales taxes when they file state tax returns.”

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46 Tax Audits from Hell

Nothing strikes more fear in heart of employers and employees alike than the dreaded audit.  Under a bill working its way through the Senate, audits could become commonplace for many small, online businesses.  With the way the bill is going to work, people are going to end up calling it the Tax Audits from Hell Act of 2013.

Under the so-called Marketplace Fairness Act, online retailers would become tax collectors for faraway governments thirsty for more revenue.  But because complying with America’s 9,646 different taxing jurisdictions is no easy task, the threat of audits would become a stark reality.  In an attempt to streamline the inevitable avalanche of audits, the bill  sets up:

a single audit of a remote seller for all State and local taxing jurisdictions within that State; 

In practical terms, that means online businesses will face the threat of 46* out-of-state audits.  And while the bill attempts to limit the liability of inevitable software errors, the risk of a multiple audits cannot be ignored.  Even the New York Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin who favors the bill shudders “about the prospect of an out-of-state tax audit.”

A few examples.

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Inside Washington: Look Beyond the Bill Title

The text of legislation matters.  It sounds like a simple premise – and it is – but all too often lawmakers focus on the bill’s title and stated purpose without bothering to read the legislative text.  In fact, a bill’s title frequently leads one to believe the bill is doing the complete opposite of what it will actually do.  Remember, the official title of Obamacare is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

It happens on big bills and small bills alike.  Take the so-called Healthcare Truth and Transparency Act.  The Heritage Foundation’s Diane Katz explained the title “masks malignant intentions as benign.”

Katz explained the bill was introduced “on behalf of ophthalmologists” and would “force” optometrists “to disclose in all advertising their licensing status and empower the Federal Trade Commission to police them.”

The battle between ophthalmologists (physicians) and optometrists (medical professionals) has a long history.  Katz continued:

If enacted, the law would effectively require a disclaimer by optometrists that they do not hold medical degrees. That’s precisely the point the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) is most eager to promote in light of a supposed “epidemic of parallel professionalism.”

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Nothing is “Fair” About Congress Changing the Rules on Businesses After Twenty-One Years

Guest Post by David Addington, The Heritage Foundation

To hear the brick-and-mortar businesses complain of the need to enact S. 743, the so-called Marketplace Fairness Act, you would think that the Constitution entitled every brick-and-mortar store to a successful business model in perpetuity.  The legislation, on which the Senate will act shortly, authorizes states to order out-of-state businesses to collect their state’s sales tax on sales over the Internet.  The legislation overturns the existing rules in the free market, to the benefit of the brick-and-mortar businesses over their competitors.

The rules concerning sales by catalog, telephone, or Internet by out-of-state businesses that have no facilities or employees in a state have been clear for 21 years.  In 1992, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in Quill Corporation v. North Dakota that states cannot force such out-of-state sellers to collect the state’s sales taxes on those remote sales. The proponents of S. 743 want Congress to change the rules that have existed for 21 years so that brick-and-mortar companies have a new government-provided advantage over the Internet-oriented companies.

Millions of business decisions have been made in the free market over those 21 years by businesses of all kinds, choosing whether and to what extent they would rely in their sales of goods and services on physical facilities such a stores and showrooms and whether and to what extent they would rely on catalogs, telephone solicitations, or sales over the Internet.  Many companies have chosen one model or the other, or combinations of the two, to sell their products and services. All those companies have had the opportunity to compete in the marketplace under that stable set of rules set forth in Quill. Apparently, many of the businesses that chose the brick-and-mortar business model are now feeling the heat of free market competition, so they want government to change the rules to favor the brick-and-mortar business model.

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