Gearing up for the fight to take place in Congress over not just one but three federal sales tax nexus bills, over the weekend, eBay again reached out to its users through a mass email campaign aimed to increase awareness of and membership in eBay Main Street, the Internet e-retailer’s grassroots network that “keeps [users] informed of public policy matters that may affect the eBay, PayPal , StubHub and other eBay Inc. communities, as well as commerce as a whole.”   The site offers visitors a summary of law and eBay’s position on Internet sales tax.

The text of the eBay email:

Dear eBay User,Government action can impact businesses, including eBay sellers and PayPal users. Issues like Internet Sales Taxes, online privacy, and reducing barriers to small business exports can have a real bottom-line impact. The eBay Inc. Government Relations team knows that engaged eBay users can make a powerful difference toward achieving sound government policy. If you are not yet a member, we invite you to join the 250,000+ eBay users who comprise Main Street, eBay Inc.’s grassroots advocacy network. The Main Street community promotes government policies that protect small businesses and individual entrepreneurs. Together, eBay sellers are making a huge difference on key issues, including the following:

  • Internet Sales Taxes: Small businesses and individuals using the Internet should not face new sales tax burdens. When California enacted an Internet Sales Tax law last summer, Main Street members were critical in convincing state legislators to exempt from the law all sellers with less than $1 million in sales into the state. That pro-small business provision protected nearly all eBay sellers. Now the U.S. Congress is considering a new Internet Sales Tax. Main Street members will play a pivotal role in ensuring small business protections are included in any federal law.
  • Sensible Privacy Policy: There is no national law governing the collection and use of customer data. This creates a risk for businesses large and small, as well as all Internet users. eBay Inc. has called on Congress to pass a federal privacy bill that would provide clear rules for businesses as well as fundamental consumer protections. This would promote Internet and mobile commerce growth, while protecting small businesses and sellers from burdensome privacy and data security laws.
  • Reduced Barriers to Cross Border Trade: eBay sellers are globally competitive and regularly sell outside the U.S. The U.S. Government has the power to help continue this success by reducing unnecessary customs barriers to cross border sales. eBay sellers can lead the way for Congress and make it easier for small businesses to become active participants in the global marketplace.

The eBay Inc. Government Relations team is dedicated to protecting the eBay community of users from harmful legislation in Congress and state capitals. But the real power lies within you, the community. Watch eBay CEO John Donahoe share the “power of grassroots” in this short video message. And then, please take a moment to join Main Street today. Together, we can make a difference.


Tod Cohen
Vice President, Government Relations

P.S. Main Street is free to join. Members receive approximately 4-6 emails per year. We’ll only ask you to contact your elected officials on crucial issues. Of course, you can opt out at any time. And we encourage everyone to stay informed by following us on Facebook and Twitter.

Since the introduction of a slate of Federal legislation last fall, eBay and other Internet retailers have entered voiced their reaction to the  various bills, which generally create a requirement for Internet retailers to collect and remit state sales tax.   The Internet auction site has been vociferous in its opposition of at least one of the bills–the Marketplace Fairness Act–calling the legislation a bar to economic growth.

“This is another Internet sales tax bill that fails to protect small business retailers using the Internet and will unbalance the playing field between giant retailers and small business competitors.  It does not make sense to expand Internet sales tax burdens on small businesses at a time when we want entrepreneurs to create jobs and economic activity.”  Tod Cohen, eBay’s Vice President for Government Relations and Deputy General Counsel.