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eBay Responds to Privacy Busting Payment Legislation
Bill would force retailers to report every transaction to federal government


Paul Joseph Watson

Prison Planet
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
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The global online auction giant eBay has responded to a frightening piece of legislation that will force retailers to report every transaction to the federal government, warning that it will "negatively impact individual Internet users, the growth of small businesses, and entrepreneurial and economic empowerment."

The provision is hidden in Senator Christopher Dodd's 630-page Senate housing legislation and according to the Freedom Works organization "affects the privacy and operation of nearly all of America’s small businesses," because it "would require the nation's payment systems to track, aggregate, and report information on nearly every electronic transaction to the federal government."

The creation of such a gargantuan database of individual transactions would be wide open to abuse and fraud and is a complete violation of the fourth amendment.

"This bill reduces privacy across America's payment processing systems and treats every American small business or eBay power seller like a criminal on parole by requiring an unprecedented level of reporting to the federal government," announced Freedom Works.

The HR 3221 provision reads as follows.

Payment Card and Third Party Network Information Reporting. The proposal requires information reporting on payment card and third party network transactions. Payment settlement entities, including merchant acquiring banks and third party settlement organizations, or third party payment facilitators acting on their behalf, will be required to report the annual gross amount of reportable transactions to the IRS and to the participating payee. Reportable transactions include any payment card transaction and any third party network transaction. Participating payees include persons who accept a payment card as payment and third party networks who accept payment from a third party settlement organization in settlement of transactions.

A payment card means any card issued pursuant to an agreement or arrangement which provides for standards and mechanisms for settling the transactions. Use of an account number or other indicia associated with a payment card will be treated in the same manner as a payment card. A de minimis exception for transactions of $10,000 or less and 200 transactions or less applies to payments by third party settlement organizations. The proposal applies to returns for calendar years beginning after December 31, 2010. Back-up withholding provisions apply to amounts paid after December 31, 2011. This proposal is estimated to raise $9.802 billion over ten years.

Some have pointed out that the "exception" appears to negate the inclusion of transactions under $10,000 but judging by eBay's response this is not the case.

eBay spokesperson Kim Rubey issued the following statement in response to the proposed legislation.

We believe that IRS proposals to collect additional information about electronic payments, including the "merchant card reporting" provision recently attached to legislation being considered in the House and Senate, should be crafted in a manner that does not discriminate between payments models and should not burden the smallest entrepreneurs with new tax compliance demands, nor inappropriately raise reporting requirements on persons who are not merchants.

We are actively conveying our views to congressional leaders so that legislation does not overreach and negatively impact individual Internet users, the growth of small businesses, and entrepreneurial and economic empowerment.

We join together with other activist groups in urging anyone who cares about the privacy of their transactions as well as a retailer's right to not have the government sifting through their business records to call Congress and tell them to oppose the eBay reporting provision in the Housing Bill. Call 1-866-928-3035.

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