The Marketplace Fairness Act also will go through the regular committee process, where it can be debated and amended, rather than going straight to the floor for a vote as happened in the upper chamber.
“The speaker has not made a public comment as to where he stands on the issue,” said Kay Bell, tax specialist at Bankrate.com. “He’s playing it very close right now, trying to gauge where his party is.”
In the House, it will go through the judiciary committee, which is headed by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Virginia Republican. He has said he’s open to considering the bill, but wants to see changes before it goes to the floor for a vote.
“I understand the concerns of retailers on this issue,” Mr. Goodlatte said in a recent statement, before going on to caution that “I do not believe legislation like the Marketplace Fairness Act is sufficiently simplified yet.
“While it attempts to make tax collection simpler, it still has a long way to go. There is still not uniformity on definitions and tax rates, so businesses would still be forced to wade through potentially (thousands) of tax rates and a host of different tax codes and definitions,” he said.
Opponents hope this will give House Republicans a chance to either reject the Marketplace Fairness Act or make critical changes to it.
“I think if a bill is going to get enacted into law, it will be a better bill that doesn’t hurt small businesses that use the Internet,” said Brian Bieron, senior director of global public policy at eBay, which is advocating for changes to the Marketplace Fairness Act or the creation of an entirely new Internet tax bill.
But after a closer battle in the House, the end vote will likely be the same, experts say.
“I do expect it will eventually pass,” Ms. Bell said. “But it’s going to be closer and I wouldn’t be surprised if it is massaged a little bit to make people more comfortable with the bill.”