BUSINESS

Virginia online sales tax bill gets Senate committee approval

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A bill to force online retailers such as Amazon to collect the same sales taxes that mall discount stores and corner bookstores assess from their customers has won unanimous support from a key Senate committee.

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Sen. Frank Wagner's bill would close a loophole that gigantic Internet merchants use to avoid collecting Virginia's 5 percent tax.

Supporters say it would boost Virginia's treasury by hundreds of millions of dollars annually merely by collecting taxes already on the books. They said it would also create a level playing field for traditional "brick-and-mortar" stores.

Five states already have similar laws in effect and nine others have agreements or laws about to take effect to collect online retailing taxes.

Neither Amazon nor any other Internet retailer spoke against the bill.

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