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Internet sales tax bill advances in Senate

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Wider U.S. tax collections on Internet sales moved another step closer to reality on Wednesday as legislation in the U.S. Senate cleared another procedural hurdle.

The 75-22 Senate vote cleared the way for consideration of a bill that would empower U.S. states to require out-of-state retailers to collect online sales taxes from customers.

A vote on passage of the measure could come this week.

Supporters include brick-and-mortar retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Best Buy Co Inc, as well as cash-strapped state governments.

Amazon.com Inc, which hopes to simplify its U.S. state retail tax situation, also backs the legislation.

Opponents include many online merchants, including eBay Inc and Overstock.com Inc.

Prospects for passage are murky in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, where some Republicans view it as a tax increase.

(Reporting by David Lawder and Richard Cowan; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh, Sandra Maler and Carol Bishopric)

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