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Washington Watch - May 8, 2013


Senate Passes Marketplace Fairness Act; House Action Uncertain

The United States Senate recently passed S. 743, Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013, by a vote of 69-27. The legislation addresses the 1992 Supreme Court ruling, Quill Corp v. North Dakota.

For the past several years traction has grown on this issue, as Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) has championed efforts in the Senate introducing legislation in the 112th and current, 113th, Congress. In the House, Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.) has introduced identical legislation, H.R. 684, Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013, which currently has the support of 65 co-sponsors.

The legislation passed by the Senate and the companion language in the House would allow for States to collect and remit sales taxes from internet sales. The legislation exempts companies with revenue of less than $1 million in internet sales.

Some states have taken steps to address the situation, commonly known as the “Amazon Rule”- requiring big online retailers to collect and pay sales tax. Currently 10 states require Amazon specifically to collect and pay sales tax even if they do not have a physical presence in the state. However, this causes a mismatch of state laws that are confusing and inconsistent.

Specific to the $1 million exemption level, opponents argue that current federal government definitions of small businesses should be considered and the exemption increased to either the Small Business Administration definition ($20 million) or the Internal Revenue Service definition ($30 million) of a small business.


Senate Hearings and Meetings on Comprehensive Immigration Reform Begin

The Senate Judiciary Committee will soon begin holding meetings to discuss the Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill, S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.

The committee requested all amendments to be filed by May 7. The committee received over 300 amendments to the bill, including one amendment by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) that would tighten criteria for legalization and require a new electronic employment verification system be implemented more than twice as fast as the bill contemplates.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will meet at 9:30 a.m. ET on Thursday, May 9, and you can watch the proceedings via the Committee’s webcast.

The NASE has been vocal on the issue of most importance to our members, the employment verification program. We continue to look for feedback from our members and encourage you to contact us at advocacy@nase.org.


Application for Health Insurance Exchange Released

On April 30th, the Department of Health and Human Services released the new, simplified exchange health care application for both individuals and families.

The simplified application process will allow for the individual or head of household applying for health insurance to verify possibly eligibility in other federally administered health care programs, including the Health Insurance Marketplace (exchanges), Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and access to tax credits to pay for premiums.

Applications to secure health insurance in the marketplace will be accepted starting on October 1, 2013, but we recommend spending some time and familiarizing yourself with the application so that you are ready to go when the marketplace opens for business.

Market Place Consumer Application - Individual

Market Place Consumer Application - Family

Market Place Consumer Application - Individual without Financial Assistance

For more information on health care reform, please visit healthcare.gov.


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Visit NASE Advocacy to view archived editions of Washington Watch. While you’re there, read the latest updates from the Washington, D.C. office, write your Congressperson, and find out how you can join the fight for micro-business.

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