NH businessman joins 20 other entrepreneurs for eBay Advocacy Day

Constituent meetings were held to discuss Internet sales tax and other related measures


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David Lahme, president and co-founder at Tradeport USA in Somersworth, visited Capitol Hill on May 3.

Courtesy photo

David Lahme, president and co-founder at Tradeport USA in Somersworth, was one of 20 sellers as part of eBay’s Annual Advocacy Day who held meetings congressional representatives on Capitol Hill. Lahme met with Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) to discuss policies impacting Internet-enabled businesses that make sales across state border.

Opening a decade ago, Tradeport USA works with manufacturers, retailers and distributors to market and resell products they have received back from clients or as returns from customers. Its warehouse facility also provides a non-vendor return service, directly receive returns from customers and handling auditing, the grading processes and building templates to resell the product online.

“We started out with eBay solely, and we’re very thankful for them for allowing us a platform to showcase the products we were able to ascertain,” which include electronics, sporting equipment and home goods, says Lahme.

The meeting was scheduled in anticipation of an Internet sales tax bill, which was proposed in the last Congress and did get introduced late last week in both the House (H.R. 2193, the “Remote Transactions Parity Act”) and Senate (S.B. 976, the “Marketplace Fairness Act of 2017”).

“We feel that changing any sort of system for online sellers, especially small businesses that are online sellers, changing the tax system will create unnecessary burdens on us,” Lahme told NH Business Review ahead of his visit.

Currently, businesses that sell solely through the Internet are only taxed by the state in which they are located in. The proposed measures would allow other states to tax the company for sales sold to a resident or entity in that state.

“That puts a big onerous on us, not to mention the software and additional accounting help each of the businesses would need on their payroll to handle – there’s over 9,600 tax jurisdictions in the United States – if you’re a small business, it’s a completely undue burden,” argued Lahme. “The large retailers in this country that are for this, they think this might be leveling the playing field, but they already have a major infrastructure, they’re already in multiple states and multiple locations in those states.”

Lahme said he chose New Hampshire for Tradeport USA because of the state’s beauty and elimination of the sales tax.

“If there has to be an online sales tax for anyone selling online, it would go against the statues of New Hampshire, of no sales tax, and that puts us on a unique position on a national level of being taxed for selling inside the state as well as our wears going elsewhere, unlike any other brick and mortar in this state,” said Lahme.

Lahme specifically points to the exemption threshold too, stating it’s too low. As was the case last year, this year’s Senate bill proposes businesses making $1 million or less would be exempt.

“We were in that position for a year and half, but thankfully we’ve been able to grow our business and employ 25 people now and we wouldn’t have been able to do that with the additional burden,” says Lahme, who recently doubled the size of his warehouse space.

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