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Amazon, Facebook and Google proceedings against Marylands’ new online advertising tax

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The proceedings are supported by a broad coalition of companies nationwide through a range of industry associations, including the United States Chamber of Commerce and the Internet Association, a Washington-based organization that counts Silicon Valley’s most prominent companies as members. Has been done. It’s a big legal now that Maryland’s far-crossing legislators are beginning to look at the spectacular pandemic interests of the tech industry as a potential source of coveted new income. And has political significance.

Caroline Harris, Vice President of Tax Policy at the US Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement that in light of current pandemics and economic uncertainties, tax increases on services used by small businesses to continue their operations He said it was a particularly poor and untimely policy. ..

In a complaint filed in the US District Court for Maryland, high-tech giants and their political allies suffered from many weaknesses in the state’s online advertising tax, resulting in higher consumer costs and potential. Business to connect with typical customers.

Stephen P. Kranz, a partner at McDermott Will & Emery, who represents the lobbying group, said the proceedings against Maryland could also serve as a legal warning shot to other governments. We hope that policy makers in these states will recognize that following Maryland will only lead to court.

Under severe financial constraints, Maryland legislators adopted their taxes last week to raise about $ 250 million annually for a local education reform initiative. Their vote to revoke the previous veto from Governor Larry Hogan (R) is advertising, data collected, or services they provide by approximately 12 states, including New York, Indiana, Montana, and Washington. ..

Maryland law targets tech companies that generate over $ 100 million in advertising revenue each year. These companies, led by Amazon, Facebook, and Google, are one of their biggest opponents, as part of a coalition called Marylanders Fortax Fairness, which has been advertising and lobbying lawmakers. We participate in various local and national business groups. New policy.

(Media, including the Washington Post, were also lobbying against taxes. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos owns the post.)

Technology giants and their corporate allies claim that Maryland’s new policies will hurt local businesses the most, with higher prices to promote their products when they can’t afford to pay the least. You will be forced to pay. The claim seemed to serve as a tacit understanding that Amazon, Facebook, and Google each intend to raise advertising prices to cover the cost of new taxes. But how the three tech giants, who made a total of more than $ 210 billion in revenue in the final quarter of 2020, will implement Maryland’s policies, even if they recently laid the groundwork for a proceeding to overturn it. Did not say exactly what.

Their official legitimate salvo arrived on Thursday. The United States Chamber of Commerce, the Internet Association, and two other technology-focused industry groups, NetChoice and Computer and Communications Industry Association, said Maryland’s taxes are for online advertising only and appear in print and television. Claimed to be unfair because it did not target the same ads as. They pointed out a federal law of 2006 that would ban what the industry considers to be discriminatory local taxes on online sites and services.

It’s a shame that the Maryland State House has decided to impose penalties on a small number of companies outside the state for this discriminatory law, said John Beloya, a corporate lawyer for the Internet Association. Its members include DoorDash, Expedia, Postmate, Spotify and Uber.

Representatives of these tech companies and other tech companies also miscalculated taxes. And first, Maryland legislators want to impose it to crack down on Internet companies that collect huge amounts of data to tailor profitable targeted online advertising. After saying, they had a problem with the disciplinary origin of the law. Lawmakers heard testimony last year from supporters who saw taxes as a potential alternative to privacy regulation, but corporate groups said Thursday that the approach resulted in a policy similar to a fine for perceived illegal activity. Stated.

The proceedings received sharp criticism from Senator Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore), who created the tax law. He accused the company of choosing to spend millions of dollars on strong lawyers instead of paying fair stock.

For 20 years, these companies have grown exponentially by taking advantage of state privileges, benefiting from the active and unpaid collection of personal and personal information about Maryland residents, our citizens. He was a free-rider in Maryland’s investment in infrastructure, he said in a statement. All of this makes no contribution to the future of Maryland’s inhabitants.

Maryland tax law architects expected a proceeding in the days before lawmakers voted to approve it on Friday. Prosecutor Brian E. Frosch, D, warned at last year’s general meeting that taxes could be withdrawn if approved. Frosh declined to comment on this story.

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