By Lauren Gellatly, Community Development Director @ Lowcountry Local First

Local businesses need YOUR help right now. We have a very critical and very brief window of opportunity NOW (or over the next few days) on passing internet sales tax fairness to level the playing field for locally-owned, independent businesses. Right now, there is a fierce debate in the US House of Representatives about whether to take up the bill for a vote. Congressional representatives have heard from business owners and local business advocates like us, but the greatest impact will come from hearing from community members and consumers like you.

Supporters of the bill say it would give states a $23 billion influx of revenue from taxes that are already owed, but rarely paid, and level the playing field between online and brick-and-mortar companies.

Background: What’s at Stake for Independent Businesses

Independent brick-and-mortar retailers are at a significant competitive disadvantage by virtue of the fact that they are required to collect state and local sales taxes, while many of their large online competitors are not.

It’s hard to compete if you have to impose this cost on customers while large online rivals do not. In a 2014 survey of over 1,200 independent retailers, more than 75% said that the sales tax disadvantage was negatively impacting their sales. In the same survey, 69% of Lowcountry (Tri-County) respondents reported a negative impact on their sales due to internet-only retailers not being required to collect sales tax. These business owners ranked passing e-fairness legislation as their top policy priority.

Urge your representatives to pass Internet Sales Tax Fairness, which allows states to require large internet retailers — those with over $1 million in online sales — to collect sales taxes.

We join a national coalition of organizations called the Advocates for Independent Business, comprised of the entities below, in calling for Congress to protect our local businesses and boost our local economies by closing the internet sales tax loophole for large online retailers. Members include:

American Booksellers Association

American Independent Business Alliance

American Specialty Toy Retailing Association


Business Alliance for Local Living Economies

Independent Running Retailers Association

Independent We Stand

National Bicycle Dealers Association

North American Retail Hardware Association

Professional Association of Innkeepers International

Real Diaper Industry Association

Record Store Day

Soccer Dealer Association

Society of American Florists

What can you do?
Join the Campaign for E-Fairness Now

  1. Call your representative and tell them you support internet sales tax fairness. FIND YOUR REP
  2. Reach out to your friends and social networks and ask them to contact their representatives and to speak up for a fair playing field by posting one of the campaign images on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #efairnessnow.

Sample tweets or Facebook comments: 

  • Indie businesses deserve a fair chance to compete. It’s time for Congress to close the online sales tax loophole. #efairnessnow
  • Congress needs to stand up for local businesses by closing the online sales tax loophole.  #efairnessnow
  • Hey, Congress: Keep our local stores open and thriving by passing e-fairness legislation now!  #efairnessnow

More info on Internet Sales Tax Fairness.

Please share the images above or below, or create your own:

Email Lauren at lauren[at] or on Twitter at @CityReimagined

Jordan Amaker
Director of Marketing & Communications
Director of Marketing & Communications