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107 comments

Makes me want to burn my kindle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37603594)

Fucking sleazy, blackmailing, tax dodger.

Who do you think should pay for the roads that your products are delivered on?

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (2)

bhlowe (1803290) | more than 2 years ago | (#37603640)

Gas taxes?

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37603672)

Those are all going to pay for high speed rail.

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (3, Informative)

eepok (545733) | more than 2 years ago | (#37603924)

Gasoline taxes pay for less and less of California's freeways and roads. This report (http://goo.gl/AgBO0) shows that less than 51% of freeways are paid for by what can be considered as user fees (registrations, gas taxes, etc.). The rest is paid for by bonds and other, unrelated taxes.

From the paper:

"The reasons for the decline in the share of highway costs covered by gas taxes and other âoeuser feesâ are not mysterious. The federal gasoline tax and most state gasoline taxes are not indexed for inflation, and the federal gasoline tax has not been increased since 1993. In 1999, federal gasoline and diesel taxes collected $29.8 billion for highways, and in 2008, the same taxes collected $30.6 billion for highways. Adjusted for inflation, the yearly taxes collected between 1999 and 2008 shrank 32 percent, even though we continued to build more new roads and bridges."

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (2)

edt12345 (603677) | more than 2 years ago | (#37604326)

Unfortunately, the report you cite is inaccurate. It neglects the ad-valorum taxes on motor fuels being allocated as user fees. This was decided by referendum as recently as prop 42. The scumbags in our Democratic controlled legislature refuse to allocate those (sales) taxes to highway construction and maintenance.

In fact, if sales taxes collected on motor fuel purchases were properly allocated the result would be a $25+ billion subsidy to the general fund (nationally) .

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37603644)

They could always charge the company that actually does the delivery.

Post Office (0)

alexander_686 (957440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37603998)

You want to have the post office open your mail and assign a value? I guess that is one way to make up for the revenue shortfall and get Saturday deliveries back again.

Re:Post Office (2)

Algae_94 (2017070) | more than 2 years ago | (#37604170)

Why would they need to open anything up. The value of whats being delivered doesn't effect the wear on the roads. They would just have to weigh it.

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37603646)

Fucking sleazy, blackmailing, tax dodger.

Who do you think should pay for the roads that your products are delivered on?

Makes me want to burn you for owning a kindle!

Re: Makes me want to burn my kindle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37603676)

Who do you think should pay for the roads that your products are delivered on?

Why, poor and middle-class people, of course!

Sincerely,

The Republican Party

Re: Makes me want to burn my kindle (2)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#37604100)

It's not just Amazon, a lot of online retailers don't charge taxes. Here's what everybody in Washington seems to be missing though: A LOT of people buy A LOT of stuff online for the past decade or two. All this stuff used to be in brick and mortar stores getting taxed regularly, now that revenue has completely moved to the private sector, which doesn't do much for the country besides the CEOs like to help the private jet industry from time to time.

I think as a country we are collecting less tax from internal sales overall, and suddenly the debt skyrockets... but you know, how much do we really care? We can be self-sufficient if things went to shit, your cloth might be more expensive, but it beats the alternative...

Re: Makes me want to burn my kindle (1)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#37607230)

I think as a country we are collecting less tax from internal sales overall, and suddenly the debt skyrockets...

You're equating falling sales tax revenues with a rising national debt even though there is no national sales tax. The two are entirely unrelated.

There are primary reason why the national debt is increasing is the trillions spent on the GWoT. The fact that the baby boomers are now starting to retire and collect benefits rather than working and paying taxes is also a significant contributor. It has nothing to do with Amazon.

Re: Makes me want to burn my kindle (1)

JimFive (1064958) | more than 2 years ago | (#37611836)

You're equating falling sales tax revenues with a rising national debt even though there is no national sales tax. The two are entirely unrelated.

Not completely. A lot of the stimulus money ended up going to cover state budget deficits which may have been exacerbated by falling sales tax revenue. (N.B. I don't actually know if sales tax revenue is falling, if it is falling due to online sales, or if the amount of the fall is a large enough to have a real impact on state budgets relative to e.g. income tax receipts.)
--
JimFive

Re: Makes me want to burn my kindle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37606866)

Either way, we pay. And this has nothing to do with the opinions of one political party or another.

Amazon should have to deal with tax law just like every other mail-order company always has. They were fine with that, until the politicians came looking for more. Now guess who got hurt? The people that would have had affiliate dollars coming.

Fuck the politicians that can't manage the ample budgets they already have. You wanna be hostile to companies that are competitive and do a lot of business with your constituents? Fine. But don't be surprised when they tell you to go fuck yourself.

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37603716)

Gas taxes only cover about 40% of the cost.

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 2 years ago | (#37603778)

Well then that's kind of silly, since they correlate better to their wear and tear than any other tax would.

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (1)

Ruke (857276) | more than 2 years ago | (#37603968)

Which makes sense, if you think that everything should be funded by those who use it. If, on the other hand, you think that everything should be funded by those who benefit from it, it makes more sense to weigh the tax against the businesses who are able to pull in millions of dollars each year due to the public infrastructure provided for by tax dollars.

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (0)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37604224)

Which makes sense, if you think that everything should be funded by those who use it.

What possible reason is there to fund things any other way?

If, on the other hand, you think that everything should be funded by those who benefit from it, it makes more sense to weigh the tax against the businesses who are able to pull in millions of dollars each year due to the public infrastructure provided for by tax dollars.

Duh. Businesses don't pay tax. 'Tax on business' ends up being paid either by the employees or the customers; so all the class warriors demanding that 'companies should pay more tax!' are really demanding that 'wages should be lower and prices should be higher!'

Which isn't quite so bad if those customers are in another state so you're sucking money in from outside, but that's not the case here.

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (1)

Ruke (857276) | more than 2 years ago | (#37605412)

What possible reason is there to fund things any other way?

Because, as my next sentence clearly states, you can fund a project based on benefit provided, rather than use. Certain individuals or corporations stand to lose much more if there is inadequate infrastructure, and stand to gain much more from the maintenance of said infrastructure. It is reasonable for them to pay a larger portion of the construction and maintenance of said infrastructure.

Duh. Businesses don't pay tax. 'Tax on business' ends up being paid either by the employees or the customers; so all the class warriors demanding that 'companies should pay more tax!' are really demanding that 'wages should be lower and prices should be higher!'

Well, since we've got corporate personhood [boingboing.net] , businesses can pay taxes. If you still insist that people are paying those taxes, I supposed it'd be the shareholders, not the employees or customers, directly paying those costs. I'm okay with that.

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (1)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#37607402)

Well, since we've got corporate personhood [boingboing.net], businesses can pay taxes. If you still insist that people are paying those taxes, I supposed it'd be the shareholders, not the employees or customers, directly paying those costs. I'm okay with that.

Yes, but no. The problem is that for business in competitive markets, like food and housing -- you know, the things poor people buy -- the margins the owners make are razor thin. When you go out and increase the costs (that is, taxes) on everyone in the market, the money has to come from somewhere, and since it can't come from the corporate owners (who will liquidate the business and invest the money in commodities, foreign markets, etc. if they can't make at least the pittance they do now), it has to come from the employees and the customers. Which is to say, poor people.

Then, to add insult to injury, most of the "rich" don't own publicly-traded "C" corporations -- they own private companies that are normally organized as an LLC which is taxed like a partnership and is not subject to corporate income tax. And on top of it all, the publicly-traded corporations who are subject to the tax and are large enough to have international operations hire a bunch of accountants and tax lawyers to restructure their operations so that all the profits are made in foreign jurisdictions with lower taxes and the US operations report minimal taxable income.

Corporate income tax is a sham. It taxes small and medium businesses to the benefit of large international operations and it raises the cost of necessities to the indigent. If you want to tax rich people, you add $1/gallon to the tax on jet fuel and create a new 50% marginal tax bracket for people who make over $1M/year.

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 2 years ago | (#37610622)

One of the problems is that Gas Taxes aren't always spent on the roads. They go to rail systems and scenic bike paths that do not service any businesses, and in one case that i know of, they supplemented a local authority distributing HUD funding. Yes, they used the gas tax revenue allocated to the local municipality to buy HUD eligible homes to be rented out for just a bit more then the interest payments on the homes. The city will have a balloon payment to pay after 15 years. Once you figure maintenance into the costs, the city will lose money on it. but whoever sold them got more then the market price after it crashed.

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (0)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37603718)

Fucking sleazy, blackmailing, tax dodger.

If you don't think you're paying enough tax, you could always send a check to the government. I'm sure they'll be happy to cash it.

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 2 years ago | (#37603826)

Fucking sleazy, blackmailing, tax dodger.

If you don't think you're paying enough tax, you could always send a check to the government. I'm sure they'll be happy to cash it.

Yeah, that worked so well in Greece and Ireland.

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37606996)

That's funny... the "lost" tax revenue comes from these same individuals not reporting what they actually owe. Now they're pissed that Amazon is "blackmailing" them. It's complete BS.

California, Illinois, etc. all went after Amazon because it was easier to attack the company than their own people.

So yes, you obviously can have your representatives get as hostile as you want in an attempt to rake in more money, but you can't force Amazon to do business in your hostile state, with their affiliate programs or anything else. They're going to make a judgement call based on your regulations, and decide accordingly.

In short, you reap what you sow. California went too far in an attempt to band-aid their serious financial problems, and it bit them in the ass. Tough luck, kids.

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 2 years ago | (#37603806)

Taxes are for the little people.

not the job-exporting Billionaires.

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (4, Insightful)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#37603878)

But Amazon isn't the one who owes the sales tax, it's the consumers. If this guy feels the state is being cheated from tax money he should write them a check for what he owes them. He shouldn't need Amazon to do it for him.

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 2 years ago | (#37604274)

But Amazon isn't the one who owes the sales tax, it's the consumers.

That's what the bootleggers said too.

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#37604628)

If that's what they said then they are right. Sales tax is a consumption tax owed by the consumer.

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 2 years ago | (#37604850)

Again, when engaged in interstate commerce, it is a requirement of the seller to collect such sales taxes and remit them to the state.

Don't like it?

Then move to Somalia.

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#37605168)

Again, when engaged in interstate commerce, it is a requirement of the seller to collect such sales taxes and remit them to the state.

Says who?

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (2)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 2 years ago | (#37605592)

Again, when engaged in interstate commerce, it is a requirement of the seller to collect such sales taxes and remit them to the state.

Says who?

Again, it is a shame you didn't learn basic business or take US civics and the interstate commerce clause.

Now, go to Somalia and live in your Libertarian paradise and stop using my sidewalks, roads, and traffic signs.

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#37605870)

I'm not a libertarian. I'm more left-wing than your "Democratic" party (for that matter, I'm not an American, either). And I fully support the use of Somalia as a reserve for libertarians.

Now, can you lay off the trash talk, and actually answer the original question? State law clearly doesn't apply when the seller is not in that state (having the package shipped there doesn't count as a "presence", as otherwise whenever you send a mail you'd be subject to laws of all states it passes through - clear BS). There's no federal law that makes it a requirement, either. And US constitution makes it clear-cut that only Congress can regulate interstate commerce.

If you want to have it changed, then feds would need to institute a special federal sales tax for interstate commerce, or otherwise help the states enforce it for such purchases. Personally, I think sales tax is a remarkably stupid idea and should be killed altogether (raise income tax on higher brackets to compensate), which is why I'm not cheering for California here.

Also, Amazon does collect sales taxes in those states where it's located and where its business facilities are (e.g. Washington, where I reside - so I pay a sales tax from my Amazon purchases).

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (3, Informative)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#37605634)

Again, when engaged in interstate commerce, it is a requirement of the seller to collect such sales taxes and remit them to the state.

Umm, no.

Actually, the seller isn't required to collect sales taxes on behalf of a State unless they have a physical presence in the State (a brick and mortar store, for instance).

This was settled by the Supremes quite a while back when States tried to get Sears to charge sales taxes on catalog orders.

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (2)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#37603824)

You? Why aren't you sending into the state the sales tax you owe without needing Amazon to collect it for you?

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (0)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37603904)

Probably because it's a mess. Having to track receipts all year just so that you know how much to pay.

But, at least there's a line on the income tax return, around here we're supposed to keep track of all those purchases then figure out where to get the forms from and where to send the checks. Needless to say that nobody pays the sales tax on online purchases, but technically we're supposed to.

At the end of the day, Amazon is just being a hypocritical baby gladly taking advantage of a broken system.

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#37604646)

Except that the law is that he owes a use tax. Its his own fault for not paying it if Amazon isn't collecting the tax.

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37605158)

Not really, it's ultimately the fault of the Federal Government for not requiring that Amazon collect. Without Amazon collecting it's questionable if state auditors would even have the ability to audit payments for those purchases. The reason that Amazon hasn't been collecting and submitting that sales tax is that it doesn't have a presence in the state.

Which ultimately leads to a bit of a problem, the state is going to have a hard time knowing whom to audit if Amazon can't be compelled to submit documentation due to a lack of jurisdiction.

I think you see where this is going, it is the law, but the situation is such that you're increasing your likelihood of being audited if you submit the taxes than if you don't as the state has previously had no way of knowing about the taxes not being paid.

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (1)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#37607510)

Not really, it's ultimately the fault of the Federal Government for not requiring that Amazon collect.

The trouble is that there is a very good reason why they haven't: If they do then the states can enact de facto tariffs on interstate commerce.

All California has to do is establish a 15% sales tax and then use the extra money to subsidize local corporations or, equivalently, reduce their non-sales taxes. Then everybody who sells to California's large population has to collect the high sales tax, but no one without operations in California get the consequent tax reductions or subsidies that the high sales tax pays for. States with large populations can thereby force companies to move their operations there.

The equally undesirable alternative is that it forces states with smaller populations to adopt the same high sales taxes, even if they would prefer more equitable property or income taxes, because no company conducting interstate commerce will put a facility in a state with higher property or income taxes when they will still have to collect the high sales tax from the bulk of their customers who are in the more populous states. It effectively takes the choice of tax structure away from the people of those states without any representation -- which is the exact thing that putting Congress in charge of regulating interstate commerce was supposed to prevent.

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37608694)

That's a bullshit line of reasoning. They could do that in the same way that they could tax certain types of products which are only produced in other states, but they don't do it anyways.

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (1)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#37608780)

What makes you think the retailers in one state are selling different kinds of products from the retailers in a different state?

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (2)

jbov (2202938) | more than 2 years ago | (#37605990)

The bigger mess is for an on-line retailer to keep track of sales taxes rates for every state, county, and municipality in the country. That's right, even the local governments are cashing in on sales tax, making it all more complex.

At least the consumer knows the sales tax for his or her area.

If governments want to collect sales tax for interstate commerce, then the government should maintain a database of these tax rates. Then, they should build an application with an API that retailers could query to return the sales tax rates for a transaction between two points.

I don't mean one just for California either. You get into the mess where each state has it's own API's. This would need to be one application for any location.

Asking each and every on-line retailer to build a system like this themselves and keep track of current tax rates is unfeasible, repetitive, and just plain stupid. This would put most small on-line shops out of business, and make the entrance level price for upstarts far out of reach.

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37608712)

That's really not that hard to do. If it were that hard to do, then you wouldn't see Amazon collecting taxes in any state correctly because they wouldn't have any way of keeping track of how much to collect in which locality. A multibillion dollar business like Amazon ought to have no trouble getting it correct. And smaller businesses would just buy the database information needed the same way that they purchase payment processing services.

At the end of the day, the only reason that this persists is so that companies like Amazon can make use of an illegal loophole to undercut brick and mortar stores.

Hard, no. Expensive or time consuming, yes. (1)

jbov (2202938) | more than 2 years ago | (#37608988)

There are a few providers of a sales tax database, and at least one that provides a calculation service, strikeiron.com. This may not be a problem for multibillion dollar businesses, but it is for smaller businesses.

The first method requires you to pay for monthly updates. It requires the business owner pay for a developer to write an data munging script, and/or an import script for the e-commerce software. It also requires the business owner to pay for a monthly import of the data into his e-commerce software.

The second method requires you to pay services fees. Many of these are out of reach for small businesses, which would force them to close. The only ones who could afford it are the giant companies you seem to despise.

Accuracy and liability may be another issue. With a database download, updates are provided once monthly. This may not be frequent enough to guarantee accurate tax rates. Ultimately, who is responsible for rate or calculation errors with either method?

If interstate sales tax collection is mandated by the government, then the government should provide free access to current and accurate rates. Given the increase in sales tax revenues that can be expected from mandating interstate sales tax, the cost to provide access to this information is negligible. A minuscule percentage of the sales tax revenues could be appropriated to building and maintaining this service.

I may not disagree that Amazon uses this as a loophole to undercut brick-and-mortar stores. However, there are certainly technical and financial issues with mandating interstate sales tax, which would hurt small e-commerce businesses and start-ups. Mandating this tax without providing a reliable, accurate, server based method of obtaining tax rates is a bad decision, IMHO.

Re:Hard, no. Expensive or time consuming, yes. (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 2 years ago | (#37610940)

Here is a thought.

All county and local municipalities get their authority to tax from the state because they are a political subdivision. So if it is really necessary to collect sales tax for every state someone orders something from, then have the state set a default sales tax equal to the average of all the different sales taxes within the state and distribute the excess to it's own political subdivisions.

This might upset some communities who's sales tax is a lot more, but in reality, it would be an additional collection for them as it probably would never be reported or paid otherwise. In this case, they only need to worry about the State Internet sales tax of ~49 states plus the states they are operating from. The state then takes it's portion and forwards the rest to the municipalities within it's jurisdiction based on the other aspects of the mailing or billing address.

This complication, if it truly is necessary, really needs to be placed on the state and not the retailers when they are outside the state. And it will take an act of congress to make it happen.

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (1, Interesting)

Ruke (857276) | more than 2 years ago | (#37604004)

I'm not concerned about me; I want to ensure that the millions of other Californians are paying their fare share, so that they're properly funding the government. Since it would be prohibitively expensive to audit each and every person who purchase anything off of the internet, it makes more sense to focus the responsibility in one place, much as we put the onus on brick-and-mortar stores to collect sales tax, instead of depending on each consumer to tally their own sales tax and submit it at the end of the year.

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37604114)

it makes more sense to focus the responsibility in one place, much as we put the onus on brick-and-mortar stores to collect sales tax, instead of depending on each consumer to tally their own sales tax and submit it at the end of the year.

While I agree with you on that point, it is not California's place [wikipedia.org] to impose such requirements on Amazon.

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37603836)

If you want the government to have more money feel free to send some in:
http://www.ftb.ca.gov/aboutFTB/contact.shtml

Oh wait you don't want to? Sleazy hypocrite.

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (2)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 2 years ago | (#37603864)

Perhaps the Californians just don't know they're supposed to pay use tax?

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (3, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#37603926)

Did you pay your use tax for that kindle? If not, you're the fucking sleazy tax dodger.

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 2 years ago | (#37605710)

Did you pay your use tax for that kindle? If not, you're the fucking sleazy tax dodger.

I didn't even pay for the book I am currently reading. I guess that makes me a fucking sleazy tax dodger, and a pirate. :)

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 2 years ago | (#37604436)

the real problem is that these taxes are paid for by regular people and not buy huge corporations so California sees it as an easy way to make revenue by screwing regular people.

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#37604726)

Makes me want to buy two Kindles (which I've just done...)

Cheers to Amazon for stepping up the fight against ever more onerous taxation, including internet taxation.

Re:Makes me want to burn my kindle (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#37605144)

Who do you think should pay for the roads that your products are delivered on?

If you're in California, then you're supposed to pay a use tax off those out-of-state purchases (Amazon or otherwise).

You do so, right?

This is optimistic (2)

anyGould (1295481) | more than 2 years ago | (#37603810)

Amazon will still have to collect sales tax in California in 2013 unless Congress intevenes before then.

Or.. Amazon will happily make their sales tax-free profits until 2013, and then pull out of California again.

Re:This is optimistic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37604168)

Or Jerry Brown will realize that the new law is on its face unconstitutional.

(I hope you weren't drinking anything when you read that.)

Re:This is optimistic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37604350)

No, the new law is going to require them to collect sales tax on all California customers regardless of whether Amazon has a physical presence in CA or not.

Re:This is optimistic (1)

anyGould (1295481) | more than 2 years ago | (#37604674)

There's no mention in the articles about any new law, just that the previous one has been "temporarily repealed". Link?

Re:This is optimistic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37604828)

finding a link would involve me simply googling, which i'm sure you can do just as well.

Re:This is optimistic (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 2 years ago | (#37607488)

And if they have no presence in CA, how do they propose to collect on the tax? All they have to do is not pay it, and there is nothing for the CA government to seize...

way to cave, brown (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37603818)

Like Amazon would continue to ignore the 8th largest economy in the world.

Re:way to cave, brown (3, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 2 years ago | (#37603838)

It's not as though they weren't selling in California, they just moved their distribution center to a state with more friendly tax laws.

Re:way to cave, brown (1)

Viewsonic (584922) | more than 2 years ago | (#37604822)

I think you meant to say "to a state with more tax dodging laws". Why should Amazon be able to skirt around paying, while normal brick and mortar stores cannot?

Re:way to cave, brown (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37605068)

Maybe because Amazon as a company doesn't benefit from the government provided services that are supposed to be covered by sales tax? Sales tax is often used to pay subsidies for "better" operating procedures, like cleaner operations, employing certain individuals, etc.

A business without a physical presence in a state does not share those benefits, which is why the SCOTUS said they shouldn't have to pay for them either.

Re:way to cave, brown (2)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 2 years ago | (#37605694)

Maybe because Amazon as a company doesn't benefit from the government provided services that are supposed to be covered by sales tax? Sales tax is often used to pay subsidies for "better" operating procedures, like cleaner operations, employing certain individuals, etc.

A business without a physical presence in a state does not share those benefits, which is why the SCOTUS said they shouldn't have to pay for them either.

Excellent.

Time to start looting Amazon delivery trucks, since they won't be protected by the police, and sell them like any pirate would.

Re:way to cave, brown (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37606258)

UPS pays all the taxes it is required to by law.

Re:way to cave, brown (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37606832)

Amazon has delivery trucks? I always get my Amazon stuff delivered by UPS or the USPS.

Re:way to cave, brown (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37606886)

Excellent.

Time to start looting Amazon delivery trucks, since they won't be protected by the police, and sell them like any pirate would.

There are no Amazon delivery trucks that I know of. I figure they use UPS mostly, who then factor any taxes into the prices that they charge Amazon for their services.

Re:way to cave, brown (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37605956)

This needs to stop. Amazon doesn't pay the tax, we do. You are advocating paying more out of YOUR pocket. Amazon doesn't pay a dime either way. Also, the brick and mortar stores don't pay the tax either. This is what removing inefficiencies from the market looks like.

Re:way to cave, brown (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37607106)

How is it Amazon's fault that they don't have a physical location in the state of california (by any reasonable definition) and that the citizens of california decide to cheat on their taxes?

Re:way to cave, brown (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 2 years ago | (#37607514)

Well, more importantly how is it that states can tax interstate commerce commerce despite being explicitly forbidden in the constituion, whether you call it a "use tax" or whatever. That's like saying that a censorship law isn't about blocking free speech but instead it is just about regulating the movement of jaws and tongues.

Re:way to cave, brown (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 2 years ago | (#37608054)

I'm not sure that, "Screw it, we'll just go elsewhere." is really a problem. Amazon looked at what it would cost to operate there, decided there are better places, and left. And as far as I know every brick and mortar in CA is free to do the same if they think it's best for them.

Hell, companies decide where to incorporate, where to operate and what places they want to do business with every day. Always have. States have always had to consider what they're doing when they go fishing for money, because they know they're competing with other states. It's similar at county and city levels too.

This one's only news because CA is desperate, went after the deep pockets, and drove off a high-profile name.

Amazon pays the same as the brick and mortars do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37609846)

If you order something from a Brick and Mortar in Seattle for delivery to California, you would not pay California taxes. Why should it be different just because it's over the internet?

Re:way to cave, brown (1)

Unequivocal (155957) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615028)

Tn the constitution there's something called the inter-state commerce clause. Among many (many!) other things it has been interpreted to mean that states can't levy taxes across state lines.

Granted with Amazon operating affiliates in CA, so there's some question as to whether they are in fact doing business in CA, but in general if a web site or catalog is operating outside of a state and shipping to inside of the state, the state can't lay a sales tax on that transaction. Brick and mortar business obviously operate inside a state and so get taxed by the state for sales.

Re:way to cave, brown (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615086)

They're not skirting anything. They're following the rules. Companies have long had to collect sales tax when they had a physical presence in the state.

When they didn't, the buyer has always been required to pay use tax, identical to the sales tax.

Yes they would, in fact (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37603914)

Because all they were doing is stopping affiliates in California. Now while Amazon doesn't want to do that, they like affiliates because they make money on them, it really isn't a big issue. They still sold to California, and there is nothing CA could do to stop them. Amazon itself and their affiliates in all the other states would still sell to buyers in CA.

Re:way to cave, brown (1)

halivar (535827) | more than 2 years ago | (#37604244)

Californians would continue to buy from Amazon. The pullout only ensures that no one buys Californian goods from them. Currently, I buy a lot of stuff from California vendors, thus stimulating California's economy. This helpful tax would have ensured that I sent zero dollars whatsoever to CA.

I fail to see how this situation helps CA, or hurts Amazon.

Re:way to cave, brown (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37604322)

They had a staring contest and Governor Moonbeam blinked first. I don't know who the idiots were who actually thought that Amazon would do nothing when they passed that moronic law. Brown backed down because the larger affiliates were moving out of state, and the smaller ones which were doing it as a sideline business were going out of business. It was obviously cheaper for Amazon to drop their associates than deal with collecting California use tax.

Pawn Stars (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#37604090)

It must be fun to have a large corporation use your small business as a bargaining tool.

Amazon wrote: "...accounts were closed due to the prior legislation"

More specifically, Amazon closed your accounts because they did not like the prior legislation.

Re:Pawn Stars (1)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#37607552)

More specifically, Amazon closed your accounts because they did not like the prior legislation.

More accurately, the legislation was passed that made it more profitable for Amazon to close your accounts than not. And the legislators could easily have predicted that before passing it, because that is exactly what happened when the other states did it. Is it Amazon's fault that the legislature has created a perverse incentive for it?

Congress bails out huge corporations (2)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 2 years ago | (#37604414)

why not make this internet tax holiday that actually benefits regular people permanent?

Re:Congress bails out huge corporations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37604530)

Amazon happens to be the poster child for this bill but the real impact is on small businesses that work in the affiliate marketing space. So to answer your questions, regular people do benefit by a temporary ban on this tax. Unfortunately the media is making this appear as if the govt is bailing out big business.

Re:Congress bails out huge corporations (2)

Dinghy (2233934) | more than 2 years ago | (#37604714)

Depends on how you define regular people. If you define regular people as people who work in the retail stores, who are experiencing declining sales and closing locations and losing jobs, then it isn't really a tax holiday that benefits regular people. If you define regular people as people who "cheat" the tax code by not paying the use tax on items purchased online, though, then sure it benefits them. Of course, that's the whole reason the government started forcing business into the role of tax collectors, because you can't trust the average person to pay what they actually owe. :)

Re:Congress bails out huge corporations (1)

deains (1726012) | more than 2 years ago | (#37610710)

Retail isn't in decline just because online shops get a tax break. Here in the UK, apart from a couple of small soon-to-be-closed loopholes, Amazon have to pay the same tax on its goods as brick-and-mortar shops do. And despite this they're still cheaper than the high street on most occasions, since direct shipping is still cheaper than running a store. And so, retail is still in decline, shops are closing down left right and centre, and Amazon has basically won. Tax isn't going to change that.

Re:Congress bails out huge corporations (1)

Dinghy (2233934) | more than 2 years ago | (#37611688)

But put yourself in this situation. Widget costs the same in physical store as it costs on Amazon. Sales tax is running 10%. Do you buy it in the store, paying an extra 10% in tax, or do you buy online, use the free super saver shipping, and effectively get the item for 10% off? That's how it is in California, and that's why the physical stores are lobbying for Amazon to have to do the same tax collecting that they have to do.

Re:Congress bails out huge corporations (1)

Viewsonic (584922) | more than 2 years ago | (#37604862)

Because this silly "tax holiday" is destroying millions of jobs all over the country? Remember when you could go to a mall and go into dozens of stores and shop for clothes and get them that day? Now you get to sit online and wait a week if it doesn't get lost in the mail. Awesome.....

Re:Congress bails out huge corporations (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 2 years ago | (#37605094)

The closest mall (real enclosed mall not a strip mall) to me has been a tax write off for a couple of decades and they've damned sure the property loses money. The closest real functioning malls are an hour (one way) away.

Two day shipping beats two hours of driving most times. Next day takes care of just about every other case.

If there were local malls to shop at I'd be shopping there, but there aren't any that aren't there to lose money for their owners.

Re:Congress bails out huge corporations (1)

Fned (43219) | more than 2 years ago | (#37605370)

Remember when you could go to a mall and go into dozens of stores and shop for clothes and get them that day?

I remember when I could go to a mall and go into dozens of stores and look at a bunch of shite I didn't care for and come home with nothing.

Thank God someone came up with a solution to THAT problem...

Re:Congress bails out huge corporations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37607780)

Because this silly "tax holiday" is destroying millions of jobs all over the country?

Uh... citation needed. And Jon Stewart doesn't count.

 

Remember when you could go to a mall and go into dozens of stores and shop for clothes and get them that day?

Yeah. I was there this weekend. What was your point?

 

Now you get to sit online and wait a week if it doesn't get lost in the mail. Awesome.....

Never had it happen. Sorry you had bad experiences with the postal service/ups/whatever. Not sure what it has to do with amazon though.

Where the malls went... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37608768)

First the kids and minorities started hanging out there all day long.

This made older shoppers uncomfortable and they stopped shopping there.

Established chains move out.

Chains catering to the kids and minorities move in.

The mall fails... Because amazingly the kids and minorities don't have the money to support the stores and are just there to hang out.

I've seen it happen to 3 local malls. They are giant empty buildings now. With maybe an anchor store like sears still left. The rest is empty.

The one mall that actively runs kids out of the place is doing fine tho. Or at least the shops are all full and they have customers.

Call it racist if you want... But those malls are still empty today. (shrug)

Re:Where the malls went... (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 2 years ago | (#37611070)

Are you talking about the Columbus Ohio city center mall? They used to bus people in from out of state to shop there, then it became all kids, there were some gang problems, and no one wanted to visit it. People who lived a few blocks from it would drive across town avoiding it to shop safely.

East land mall had much the same problems and is as you describe "an anchor store" but otherwise empty. Polaris and Tuttle malls kept the kid and gang problems down, but i haven't been to either in 8 or more years. I'm sure you could be talking about almost any city.

Is this good for America? (4, Insightful)

Okian Warrior (537106) | more than 2 years ago | (#37604984)

This is about bringing jobs to California, not bringing jobs to America.

If a company moves from one state to another, does this make our economy somehow better?

Having states squabble and bicker and compete with each other for business does not help. It only takes up politician's time and adds bureaucracy and adminstration - effort that does not contribute to production.

Existing companies already have the employees they need to make their product. This is not true in all cases, but as a general rule it works quite well. Jobs come from new companies forming and from newish companies growing big.

We've done everything possible to stifle new business in this country[1][2], and this is just another card in that deck. Giving a break to an existing company creates a barrier for the creation of a new company which might compete. It makes the existing company weak and complacent.

If GE pays no taxes, it's hard to start a company making a competing product.

We could turn the recession around and have a vibrant economy very quickly if we could stop propping up stagnation, and focus on encouraging growth

[1] Innovation: Patent trolls, nuclear patent portfolios, submarine patents, court district shopping, DMCA, ACTA, losing tech to other countries

[2] Infrastructure: Rationed internet(data caps), net neutrality, spotty cell coverage, polluted water supply, inscrutable laws, discretionary enforcement, tax complexity, offshoring

Re:Is this good for America? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37605130)

"If a company moves from one state to another, does this make our economy somehow better?"

Wait, hold on! It almost sounds like you are saying that an ultra-Darwinian "Every state for itself" policy might not be the best way to benefit everyone! ;-)

Re:Is this good for America? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37606056)

Okay, let's be clear here. Amazon isn't paying the tax, YOU are. Sales tax isn't going to save the mom and pop stores, they are competing against a company that gets a volume discount. Just take a moment and compare prices between newegg and bestbuy. Both charge sales tax, newegg is almost always cheaper. Why? Because they don't have to pay a bunch of people to stand around a physical location asking, "Do you need help?". This is what removing market inefficiencies looks like. Brick and mortar stores WILL disappear and everyone benefits from it by having cheaper goods. Instead we should use this time to fix the state income tax and remove sales tax. Sales tax is terrible for people with low income, this is a great time to fix this.

Stop trying to keep the status quo just because that's all you know.

Re:Is this good for America? (1)

imric (6240) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615096)

"Brick and mortar stores WILL disappear"

True.

"everyone benefits from it by having cheaper goods"

Which they won't be able to buy as they lost their jobs at brick and mortar stores.

See, it's not as simplistic as the bugs-bunny economics being sold to people.

Manufacturing and shipping jobs don't exist in enough abundance to compensate, and by your own argument will never exist, as people, you know, the ones who make up the market ARE the 'market inefficiencies' you talk about. It would STILL be OK if we actually manufactured our own goods, but we don't (don't give me the 'we are the largest manufacturers in the world republitarian talking point, either - that's NOT per capita or the trade deficit would either a) not exist or b) be in our favor). The only way to bring THAT back in the current non-regulatory, non-tariff political environment would be to pay workers wages at below LIVING wages. The GDP (per capita) in India, for example, is $1371/year, or about $26 dollars a week. China? $4393 - or about $84/week. Making us 'competitive' by the republitarian plan (deregulate wages, remove benefits, but give tax breaks to the wealthy, so that financiers will lend the money the wealthy bank and companies will have more cash from investors - disregarding that by inserting a management layer you reduce the efficiency of such strategies, and that it doesn't work and hasn't worked in the past) with wages like that means, with no hyperbole, turning the US into a third-world country, with vastly wealthy 'overlords'. Starvation and disease would run rampant as there is no possible way to pay for medicine, food, or shelter at those rates. This is stark reality. THAT is how the current Republican/Libertarian axis (worst of both ideologies) want to make us 'competitive'.

And the wealthy will not escape either, the disappearance of the US market to sell to (I don't care how cheap it is, if you have no discretionary pay, you cannot buy) means that they will start losing money, too. Unless they leave for smarter, richer territory than here.

Is there a way out? Sure.

While there is still time, make sure there is a baseline of healthcare, food, education and shelter for citizens. You don't have to make it comfortable, just make it possible to live. Do this by taxing all Americans a flat tax - but ONLY on discretionary pay. Our HUD and Welfare bureaucracies can determine what that is (with ratification by the legislature of course). You want to give corporations the rights of citizens? Fine. Tax them the same way as above. Sure you will end up with more private companies, but then the abuses of 'compound people' are greatly reduced. Spend the money more on infrastructure and education than on defense in order to attract manufacturing to the US.

Only regulate non-luxury items (ie, things that affect health - shelter, minimum wages, foodstuffs, medicines), public goods (roads, parks, etc), public services (education), non-reversible transactions, and national treasures. Remove property taxes so that people can actually own property again rather than 'rent from the State'. Allow property owners to benefit from their property by stopping the abuse of 'eminent domain' for commercial development (this provides incentive to 'fix what's there' rather than abandon commercial/polluted properties and moving on). OK this last point is more of a quality of life issue, but just the same...

This way you end up with regulations that don't oppress, lower taxes, and an healthy base of workers and infrastructure for manufacturing. Of course, this will never happen as long as corporate interests have a say in government. The current overlords are perfectly happy with people so desperate they will do ANYTHING to keep their jobs as long as possible, and they don't care about the state of the nation more than one financial quarter out. It WILL get worse.

CA already collects this tax! (1)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | more than 2 years ago | (#37607094)

It is called "Use" tax, which is defined in the instructions for form 540:

"California use tax applies to purchases from out-of-state sellers (for
example, purchases made by telephone, over the Internet, by mail, or in
person). . ."

This is followed by a worksheet which walks filers through the process of calculating the amount to report (e.g. on line 95 of form 540).

I guess I should say that CA tries to collect this tax. I have paid it every year I resided in CA (or other states that required it) for over 10 years. I don't recall ever meeting another person who claimed to pay it when the subject came up (granted, it rarely comes up).

Re:CA already collects this tax! (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 2 years ago | (#37607534)

Probably because use taxes are unconstitutional (court rulings to the contrary don't make it any less true). It looks like a duck and walks like a duck...

Why don't governments try collecting taxes from the 1% of Americans who have something to tax rather than trying to collect 10% of every book or battery purchase?

Easy workaround. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37608722)

Have someone else buy it (who lives in a different state) but it gets shipped to you. The buying occurred outside California, so no tax is due.

Internet Tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37610728)

For the love of FSM why don't they just pass a 3% state internet sales tax and be done with it. The current mold model of taxation based on physical store location, which internet retailers don't have and quite honestly never will, is not suited for the internet business model and needs to be addressed in a fair manner. I mean hell, do they plan to have brick and mortar retailers do the same thing as amazon if they sell an item online? An internet sale is and internet sale after all and I live in a lower sales tax county vs the county of my closest lowels and for larger items with shipping, especially free shipping, would mean a substantial cost savings for me.

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