AUSTIN — Texas lawmakers gave final approval Friday to legislation clarifying state sales tax requirements for Internet businesses and closing what critics call a loophole that's allowed online retailers to not collect the tax.
The measure now awaits Gov. Rick Perry's signature before it can become law.
The bill changes the definition of "physical presence" in the state, appeasing local retailers who complain that Internet retailers have an unfair price advantage. They blame their drop in revenues on the sales tax issue.
Under the law, companies such as Amazon.com will be forced to collect sales taxes if they pay marketers in Texas to advertise or if they have a warehouse or distribution center in Texas.
The legislation comes on the heels of State Comptroller Susan Combs' push to get online retailers to collect sales tax. Combs recently billed Amazon.com $269 million for uncollected sales tax because one of its subsidiaries operates a warehouse in Irving.
Combs maintained that the Irving location meant the online retail giant had a physical presence in the state, but Amazon argued that the center is owned by a subsidiary that is a separate legal entity.