Opinion

The Marketplace Fairness Act’s audit risk

I do not believe my audit nightmare is an outlier. In fact, as I have talked to other online retailers I’ve realized that my experience is actually quite common, even the norm. Many accountants and tax attorneys have expressed reservations about the MFA for similar reasons. Thomas Mazurek, a CPA and state tax adviser with the accounting firm Tronconi, Segarra, and Associates recently expressed his concerns with the MFA, “I know how challenging and time consuming sales tax audits can be. I can’t imagine how a small business will handle getting hit with multiple audits.”

As small businesses, we are vulnerable targets for aggressive state auditors. In fact, many of us are already receiving letters and phone calls from other states’ Departments of Revenue demanding that we disclose to them our sales data, employee data and even our confidential financial data. We have no presence in these states and yet they are already demanding access to our private data. This is a gross overreach of power and it illustrates what is coming if the MFA passes. Even though the law has not passed the US House, states have already budgeted for funds they believe the MFA will raise. Make no mistake; the auditors are coming for us en masse.

I encourage Congress to protect small businesses and oppose the MFA. I invite small businesses everywhere to join the eMainStreet Alliance.

Kevin Hickey is CEO of Online Stores, Inc., and cofounder of the eMainStreet Alliance.