The U.S. Senate voted 74-20 to start floor debate on the “Marketplace Fairness Act,” which would allow states to collect sales taxes through online retailers even if the merchants don’t have physical operations in those states. The Monday vote bypassed the Senate Finance Committee, where similar bills have died repeatedly since 2001. Senate debate on the bill is expected to resume Tuesday morning.
If passed by the Senate, the bill will still have to be passed by the House of Representatives and signed by the president before becoming law, although recent reports suggest Obama supports the tax and would sign the bill.
That means states would have to meet certain requirements, including providing free tax-calculation software, in order to collect sales taxes through non-resident online merchants.