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Mnuchin tells lawmakers Trump 'strongly' in favor of collecting online sales tax

President Donald Trump would "strongly" support collecting sales tax from online purchases, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the House Ways and Means Committee on Feb. 15.

In a hearing focused on Treasury's fiscal-year 2019 budget request, Mnuchin said he was "very pleased to answer" the question regarding e-commerce sales tax posed by Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash.

"He feels strongly. I have personally spoken to him about this," Mnuchin said. "He does feel strongly that the taxes should be collected."

Mnuchin's comments come as the U.S. Supreme Court readies to take up a case that could change the way that online sellers such as Amazon.com Inc. are taxed.

The high court said Jan. 12 that it will take up and consider South Dakota v. Wayfair Inc., which would effectively challenge the 1992 Quill Corp. v. North Dakota Supreme Court case, which established that remote sellers are not required to collect sales taxes if they do not have a physical presence in the state.

Retailers have pressed for legislation and judicial activity that would require online sellers to collect a sales tax, arguing that brick-and-mortar sellers have been put at a disadvantage from collecting sales taxes.

State and local governments have also said they have suffered in the past quarter-decade from not collecting the additional sales taxes.

The Marketplace Fairness Act of 2017, pending before the Senate Banking Committee, and the Remote Transactions Parity Act of 2017, pending before a House Judiciary Committee subcommittee, both would require out-of-state sellers to collect sales tax from buyers regardless of whether they have a physical presence in the purchaser's state.

DelBene said that legislation has stalled and that "we need it to move" after languishing for "years."

"It's critical for our state and local governments," DelBene said.