Conway hopes to stall Internet taxes

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While walking alongside a Texas road in 1981, Jim Conway, then a Gulf Oil lawyer monitoring union protests, was rammed by a pickup truck driven by organizers, throwing him into a ditch and breaking his kneecap. "That was what we called practical labor relations," Conway said.

These days, as the Direct Marketing Associations new VP-government relations, Conway is charged with helping monitor another hard-nosed groupCongress. His main focus is convincing influential members to extend the current Internet sales tax moratorium, due to expire Oct. 21.

Its an issue critical to b-to-b marketers not only because of the financial onus that e-commerce taxation would create, but also because of the layer of complexity it brings to their operations. "Right now if youre a remote seller youre under no obligation to collect local taxes," said Conway, who before joining the DMA in May was chief legislative counsel at Siemens AG. A repeal of the moratorium would change that. "In the b-to-b situation, there will be lots of instances where the b-to-b company is the remote seller."

If an eventual repeal is a done dealsomething many Hill watchers agree onthe DMA is for a uniform tax rate and a paperwork system for all states, Conway said.

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