Alibaba Threatening Main Street?

Dec. 18, 2014

Alibaba Threatening Main Street? Brick-and-mortar retailer lobbying groups continuing to pressure the U.S. Congress into changing how state sales taxes are applied to online businesses have turned their attention east. The Alliance for Main Street Fairness ( has produced a television ad warning that, after its enormous IPO, Chinese e-commerce company will take advantage of current tax law to “decimate local retailers.”

“Unless Congress ends special tax treatment for Alibaba and other online giants, main street will never look the same,” the TV ad intones . The ad is part of a campaign to get Congress to pass the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) during its current lame duck session.

The MFA requires e-commerce and other card-not-present merchants that sell remotely to collect state sales tax at the time of a transaction.  It also requires states to simplify their sales tax laws in order to make multistate sales-tax collection easier.