On April 10 the Senate Finance Committee held a public hearing on SB 1713, which would define seller and retailer to include a person who is a marketplace provider or referrer.

The bill stipulates that a retailer is engaged in business in Texas if the retailer engages in any part of a sale, lease, or rental of a taxable item to a purchaser in the state, regardless of whether the retailer contracts with a third party to perform all or any part of the transaction. The marketplace provider would not be required to collect a use tax that is due from a purchaser if the retailer for whom the marketplace provider facilitates the sale, lease, or rental collects the tax from the purchaser.

Tracy Bratton registered support on behalf of ICSC. Other supporters were representatives of BookPeople, Kirk Root Jewelry Designs, Precision Camera, Home Depot, Texas Municipal League, MuniServices, Texas Retailers Association, Center for Public Policy Priorities, and National Federation of Independent Business-Texas.

John Kennedy of Texas Taxpayers and Research Association testified in opposition to SB 1713 and voiced support for notification legislation similar to Colorado’s law. Other opponents included TechNet, TechAmerica, Internet Coalition and NetChoice.

The Senate Finance Committee is expected to consider a committee substitute for SB 1713 that mirrors the Colorado law next week. A similar House Bill – HB 3875 – has not had a hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee. With only six weeks left in the session, time is running short for these bills to be considered by the full Senate and House.