AP NEWS

Online sales tax collection moves ahead

February 21, 2019

The Legislature’s Revenue Committee on Thursday sent a bill to the floor to provide for collection of state sales taxes already owed for online purchases.

The amended proposal (LB284) introduced by Sen. John McCollister of Omaha makes it clear that it is the obligation of marketplace sellers to collect the tax from their customers and submit the revenue to the state.

Amazon already is collecting Nebraska sales taxes and remitting revenue to the state.

In other action during an executive session, the committee:

* Decided to hold onto a bill, pending action on property tax relief, proposed by Gov. Pete Ricketts and introduced by Sen. Tom Brewer of Gordon to exempt 50 percent of military retirement benefits from the state income tax.

* Scheduled an evening executive session on March 4 to begin discussion of proposed legislation to reduce property taxes; committee Chairwoman Lou Ann Linehan of Elkhorn set a goal of moving a property tax package to the floor of the Legislature by mid-April.

Thursday’s committee action opened up a new source of state revenue, following on the heels of a U.S. Supreme Court decision validating a similar South Dakota tax law governing online sales.

The committee’s action applied the brakes to early action on LB153, the Brewer bill that would impact more than 13,000 military retirees in Nebraska and reduce state revenue by $12 million a year or more.

Linehan signaled her intention to launch an extensive committee discussion leading up to its recommendations on property tax relief, at one point suggesting an all-day executive session if needed.

Among property tax bills pending in the committee are major proposals from Sen. Tom Briese of Albion, Curt Friesen of Henderson and Mike Groene of North Platte, all committee members.