An Iowa state legislator is in Washington D.C. today to testify about taxes before a Congressional panel. Representative Jamie Van Fossen, a republican from Davenport, will be addressing what’s called the Business Activity Tax Simplification Act of 2003, which he hopes will pass. Van Fossen, who chairs the Iowa House Ways and Means Committee, says the legislation deals with taxing interstate commerce. He says “It puts a bright line standard for businesses located or not located in a state…and defines physical presence.” Van Fossen is chairman of the Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force of the American Legislative Exchange Council. He’s scheduled to testify today before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law. Van Fossen says the bill would make it clear whether Iowa could tax a business that’s not physically located within our borders. The measure centers on what’s called remote selling — and Van Fossen defines that. It would be Internet sales or catalog sales or any other sales where the business isn’t located in the state. Van Fossen says the measure would prevent Minnesota, for example, from taxing an Iowa business at a higher rate. He says Iowa legislators had considered a similar type of bill but decided it would be best left to the federal government. He says the state measure would have said “Iowa’s open for business” but it also might have isolated the state. He says the better solution was to have Congress address the issue. Van Fossen says “Taxing businesses that aren’t located in your state is absurd. The minute we let states go into each other’s backyard to pick a pocket, there will be no limit to the burdens caused to interstate commerce.” Van Fossen is slated to testify at 1 P.M. Central time.
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