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Amazon To Pay Texas Sales Tax

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the everything's-slightly-more-expensive-in-texas dept.

Businesses 274

An anonymous reader writes "The Houston Chronicle is reporting that Amazon.com will soon start collecting sales tax from buyers in state of Texas. 'Seattle-based Amazon, which had $34 billion in sales in 2010, has long opposed collecting taxes. That has drawn fire from state governments facing budget shortfalls and from traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, who say online sellers essentially give customers an automatic discount when they don’t collect taxes. Combs has estimated the state loses $600 million a year from untaxed online sales. However, Amazon has recently begun making deals with a number of states to collect sales tax. Those deals have usually included a one- to three-year window exempting Amazon from sales tax collection.'"

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274 comments

A red state raising taxes!!??!!!??? (5, Funny)

plopez (54068) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826039)

What! I thought they were all against job killing taxes!

Re:A red state raising taxes!!??!!!??? (5, Insightful)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826105)

it is a tax that is the burden of regular people and they don't really care if taxes are hard on working families.

Re:A red state raising taxes!!??!!!??? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39827069)

it is a tax that is the burden of regular people and they don't really care if taxes are hard on working families.

Wow, ee cummings, that was nearly literate.

Re:A red state raising taxes!!??!!!??? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39826149)

Phsaw, sales taxes disproportionately affect the poor and middle class. Of course they are in favor of it. I mean, they talk all the time about lowering taxes, but the subtext is always that they want to lower taxes on rich people. Just look at things like the Fair Tax. Does it really take more than about 15 seconds of examination to tell that it is a huge increase in the tax burden on the poor, as well?

Re:A red state raising taxes!!??!!!??? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39826219)

Sounds like you haven't bothered to spend 15 seconds learning about the Fair Tax.

Re:A red state raising taxes!!??!!!??? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39826819)

Oh yes, wizened one, please tell us how a $6,767 annual tax prebate on a family of four cancels out a 30% sales tax applied to everything that the family pays for, including their rent, food, and clothes. Yes, I know the liars who support the bill like to pretend that it is a 23% sales tax (it isn't). Yes, I know it exempts tax on used items (maybe you can explain how they are supposed to make use of used food and housing).

Re:A red state raising taxes!!??!!!??? (2)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826883)

I'm pretty sure they actually intend for the poor to eat used food in the fair tax dystopia.

Re:A red state raising taxes!!??!!!??? (1)

mcavic (2007672) | more than 2 years ago | (#39827147)

I'm no expert, but if you eliminate the IRS and all of its expenses, and you eliminate the cost of tax preparation for individuals, and then you raise the same number of tax dollars as before, it would seem that the net effect on the tax payer would be slightly positive, and the net revenue for the government would be very positive.

Re:A red state raising taxes!!??!!!??? (3, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826307)

"Bah humbug" on your anti-R slam. Most states make Necessities tax free, so the poor are not hurt. They can still buy the food/clothing/rent they need to survive. It is only the well-off wasting their money on luxury, non-needed goods that pay the sales tax.

BTW someone below made a good point:

This tax is ALREADY owed by the citizens. It's called a "use" tax and is applied to out-of-state purchases. Nothing's really changed except that Texas is now forcing delinquent citizens to pay-up. In other words TX and other states are cracking-down on tax dodgers. (Tsk tsk tsk you tax dodgers.)

Re:A red state raising taxes!!??!!!??? (2)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826471)

A few years ago I moved from Texas back to the West Coast. I had already paid sales tax on the goods that I had bought in Texas. I was told by a lawyer-y friend over some beers that technically I had to pay taxes on all of the stuff I brought in from out-of-state. We may be "tax dodgers" but the tax code is hardly fair.

Re:A red state raising taxes!!??!!!??? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39826527)

Your "lawyer-y" friend is either incompetent or shooting his mouth off about area of law he knows nothing about.

Re:A red state raising taxes!!??!!!??? (1)

Mabhatter (126906) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826721)

I know states will get you on something large like an automobile because you have to get a title, BUT you also DIDN'T owe sales tax in the state you purchased the car, (but that state forces the dealer to collect on all sales) so they often credit the paid tax and you pay the difference so it's not double dipping.

Smaller merchandise falls under personal property because you paid the legal tax at point of purchase and own the product.

Re:A red state raising taxes!!??!!!??? (2)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826997)

The statute does exist, it is never enforced but some legislative twit managed to get it passed. The fact is, it's just another tool that can be used to bludgeon you legally if you piss off the right people.

Re:A red state raising taxes!!??!!!??? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826475)

That's not what I've heard. While here in Arizona we do indeed have sales-tax-free food (from grocery stores, not restaurants), from what other Slashdotters have said, that's not the case in many other states, including Alabama.

As for the use tax, that's fine if a state is cracking down on delinquent citizens. However, that shouldn't extend to forcing the retailer (out-of-state, with no presence in the state) to pay it for the delinquent citizens. It should only be the citizens who pay it, and if the citizen is delinquent, then the state should go after the citizen only. If that costs too much for the state, too bad. Going after entities that are out-of-state is a violation of interstate commerce and is unConstitutional.

Re:A red state raising taxes!!??!!!??? (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826845)

I've lived in several east coast states - MA, CT, NY, NJ etc. Not one of them taxed basic foodstuffs.

As far as going after entities that are out of state being unconstitutional, here is the story.

The Commerce Clause prohibits states from restricting interstate commerce. Regulation of interstate commerce is up to the FedGov. The question on this is what constitutes interstate commerce from a sales tax point of view was decided in the Supreme Court in 2011 Quill v. North Carolina which ruled that current law is that a company must have a physical presence before it can be required to collect state sales taxes.

HOWEVER the same decision also stated that the Commerce Clause gives the Feds power to regulate that; that is allow states to collect sales tax on some other basis.

Senators Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee) introduced a bill that would allow states to collect sales taxes on internet sales.

This is why Amazon is going around and cutting deals - they can see the handwriting on the wall. The broad exemption to interstate sales tax in e-commerce is likely to end probably after the 2012 elections.

Re:A red state raising taxes!!??!!!??? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#39827065)

HOWEVER the same decision also stated that the Commerce Clause gives the Feds power to regulate that; that is allow states to collect sales tax on some other basis.

Yes, of course. I'm just arguing the current state of the law. The states have no authority to force out-of-state sellers to collect taxes, but yes, Congress certainly does have the authority to change things with a new law.

Re:A red state raising taxes!!??!!!??? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39827125)

However, that shouldn't extend to forcing the retailer (out-of-state, with no presence in the state) to pay it for the delinquent citizens.

They aren't. If you read TFA, Amazon is planning to expand to Texas, that's why they're forced to collect the taxes.

Re:A red state raising taxes!!??!!!??? (2)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826545)

Everything about our economy is "luxury". Cell phones are a "luxury", electricity is a "luxury", cars are a "luxury", education is a "luxury", access to health care is a "luxury".
I'm pretty sure there is quite a bit of stuff we can get by without as we have for the past 100,000 years.

A nomad life-style is base-line, anything above is a "luxury".

Income and property tax should be enough

Re:A red state raising taxes!!??!!!??? (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 2 years ago | (#39827067)

I'm personally and vehemently opposed to property taxes, just on premise. Simply because the ability for your property (something you own) to be removed from you for lack of action is wrong IMHO. I don't think that once you buy something you should be at risk of losing it for doing nothing. I don't mind licensing of drivers/vehicles in-use and being driven as this is a direct correlation of transit, separate from the ownership of a vehicle parked in a garage. I don't think it's possible to live on a large farm with no outside interaction, just the same, if you could, you shouldn't be at risk of losing it for doing so.

Re:A red state raising taxes!!??!!!??? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39827181)

Since when did nomads need hunting permits, comply with health regulations to sell food they've grown and/or hunted, etc?

A nomad life is pretty much illegal nowadays.

Re:A red state raising taxes!!??!!!??? (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826563)

Clothing in Texas is taxed. Foods which are ready to consume at the time of sale are taxed.

Texas has one "tax free" day per year, sometime in August I think, to help families get their kids ready for school. Taxes on lots of things needed for school (school supplies, clothes, etc.) are removed for that day.

Re:A red state raising taxes!!??!!!??? (2, Insightful)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826625)

Most states make Necessities tax free, so the poor are not hurt. They can still buy the food/clothing/rent they need to survive. It is only the well-off wasting their money on luxury, non-needed goods that pay the sales tax.

The rich spend less in proportion to what they make than do the poor and the middle class, which is why sales tax is generally considered a regressive tax.

As for "luxury, non-needed goods", I feel there should be more to life than mere subsistence, and people shouldn't carry a greater tax burden just from wanting to make their lives a little less miserable. Instead of burdening these people with sales taxes, let's raise taxes on those who make their money off the backs of others.

Re:A red state raising taxes!!??!!!??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39826775)

"Bah humbug" on your anti-R slam. Most states make Necessities tax free, so the poor are hurt less

FTFY. Also, do you really think those exemptions have anything to do with anybody who has an "R" next to their name on the ballot?

They can still buy the food/clothing/rent they need to survive.

Well, minus the whole clothing part. Also, Fair Tax doesn't have an exemption for any of the three, so you can guess how supporters feel about that.

Re:A red state raising taxes!!??!!!??? (1, Interesting)

Mabhatter (126906) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826823)

The Fair tax is anything but.

Useful sales tax spending isn't linear by income. Everybody pays the same sales tax on Cable, telephone, etc. if you make $1 million then those expenses aren't 50x more than the average guy. Not to mention payroll taxes that are flat like social security (7% from employee and employer uo to $110k) or Medicare 2% of income... There is about 20% of taxes taken from your pay outside "income tax" just for getting paid.

Realize that the very rich people live off capital gains and interest income... None of THOSE taxes are taken out before the puny little 15% capital gains. They don't SPEND anywhere near the proportion of there income on personal effects that a regular person has to.

Re:A red state raising taxes!!??!!!??? (4, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826825)

Indeed.

Republicans always love regressive taxation. They don't even mind the payroll tax that much since it's highly regressive (capping out means it applies on 100% of the income of the poor and middle class, but 10% or less of the income of the upper class).

We could fix the tax system by classifying ALL income as income and eliminating the "capital gains" cheating bullshit, and eliminating the payroll tax caps and simply making it apply to all wages. But that'd never fly, because it'd be fair to all instead of the regressive taxation the Republicans want.

Consider:
If you ONLY consider income tax, somewhere around 50% of people have "no tax liability." A whole fucking lot of them are the senile delinquent Tea Party followers who no longer work because they're retired; the rest are mostly stay-at-home parents.

If you add in payroll taxes, it drops to 18%.

If you add in sales taxes, it drops to around 10%.

If you add in the various FEES that Republicans like to pass (remember, fees are even MORE regressive as a percentage of income) - stuff like auto registration fees for instance - it's around 5%.

But the Republicans still insist on ranting about people who "don't pay taxes."

Re:A red state raising taxes!!??!!!??? (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826893)

But apparently it's ok because as TFS says "[not collecting sales tax] has drawn fire from state governments facing budget shortfalls and from traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, who say online sellers essentially give customers an automatic discount when they donâ(TM)t collect taxes. Combs has estimated the state loses $60 million a year from untaxed online sales." That got me thinking... How much is it costing me to not be a thief? Hmmm.

Re:A red state raising taxes!!??!!!??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39827205)

Sales taxes are disproportionate? In what way? They are use taxes; the more you consume the more you pay. "The rich" buy more stuff and pay more sales taxes. Then again you may be talking about those stupid states that have sales tax on food. Many don't have tax on food.

Re:A red state raising taxes!!??!!!??? (2, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826553)

This is raising tax on the middle class, not those who pay for Rick Perry to be in office. Think how much sales tax, as a percentage of income, that a family that makes $40K a year pays. Now imagine how much Clayton williams pay as a part of income. He can travel to other countries for large purchases, hide money, and use other tricks to minimize overall tax rate. This is what is missing in the current tax debate. Most people of moderate income pay social security on all income, spend most of their money on purchases that are taxed, in addition to any income tax they may pay. Of course, in Texas basic food is not taxed, so the poor are not as screwed by the greedy governor and his friends.

What disappoints me is that conservatives could restructure the system, end sales tax, and generate income through other means, but they just do the same as always. Not cut costs, but tax more.

Re:A red state raising taxes!!??!!!??? (1)

Rooked_One (591287) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826817)

Not only is it a "red" state, it is also the 4th largest city...

Interesting pilot city... There was just an article about how analytical people tend to be less religious, so it is also interesting to note that Houston probably falls high on the list of "christian majority cities" so the question begs... "Was Houston chosen for two reasons, because its the 4th largest, and also has a majority of people who ... (not trying to troll) perhaps don't analyze as much as people from less religious cities? If I offended, please accept my early apology.

Note to all governments (4, Insightful)

Pope (17780) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826069)

How about stop spending more money than you have?

Re:Note to all governments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39826171)

The problem is on the revenue side, moron.

Re:Note to all governments (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39826781)

hey cocksucker, the problem is the spending.

the revenue is. what. it. is.

it's the spending that is off the charts.

this country is beyond it's golden years, yet the bureaucrats keep spending like there's a gravytrain rolling in.

Re:Note to all governments (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39826187)

How do you think this law came about? Texas needed to pay for more things because it's population is increasing, but being a red state they decided to cut taxes. Because that's what Republicans do. So then shockingly they did not have MORE money. So they had to look in odd shoes for any spare change rather than raise taxes. Cause they can't raise taxes. They can have usage fees. Like cigarette usage fees, lottery usage fees, strip club usage fees, etc. And in one of their shoes they found amazon.com! And this isn't a tax. It's a, uh... uh... Amazon Internet Usage Fee.

Re:Note to all governments (1)

gnick (1211984) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826381)

Amazon Internet Usage Fee.

The law says "Brick and mortar presence". It may not say "Amazon" on the front, and I'm a self-confessed Amazon fan-boy, but if you set up a 100% owned brick-and-mortar subsidiary in the state, then yeah, you owe them taxes or you need to set up in a state in which you won't. Figure out whether you come out ahead making 0% taxed sales from Texas or shipping from somewhere else.

Re:Note to all governments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39826959)

Texas needs higher taxes because its coffers are horribly mismanaged. They needlessly waste hundreds of millions of dollars every year. They have plenty of money to pay for important government services. The problem is, the large pool of funds they have, the easier it is to fraudulently abuse the system. As such, Texas has absolutely no inventive to responsibly spent its tax revenue. As a result, their only options are to increase taxes or responsibly spent the tax dollars available. Obviously in their mind they have only one option available.

Re:Note to all governments (1, Interesting)

Albanach (527650) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826207)

Texas hardly has a reputation for being profligate in its spending, and this does not increase the tax burden on anyone in the state. Texas already has a use tax set at an equal rate to sales tax and payable on purchases brought into the state, such as those from Amazon.

It's a lot easier for states to stay in their budget if they can make sure every taxpayer is picking up his or her own share.

If your argument is that taxes should be lower, that's a separate issue altogether and one for the political process to resolve. If Texans would prefer fewer services in return for lower taxes, I'm pretty sure they have the option of voting for that.

Re:Note to all governments (1)

wshs (602011) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826799)

So, Texas has a tax on articles exported from another state?

Re:Note to all governments (1)

Albanach (527650) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826993)

So, Texas has a tax on articles exported from another state?

No, they have a tax on items imported from another state and then kept within the state of Texas and used by a resident.

Many if not most states have a similar tax.

Re:Note to all governments (-1, Troll)

tthomas48 (180798) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826357)

Texas cannot spend more than it has.

Why don't you learn something about how government works before spouting off tired political bromides?

Re:Note to all governments (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826705)

It's shorthand for 'state issues bonds it may not be able to repay'.

Re:Note to all governments (1)

tthomas48 (180798) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826733)

I thought that was what "tax-cut" was shorthand for.

Re:Note to all governments (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826787)

I think that's 'state may cause itself to be unable to repay bonds'.

Re:Note to all governments (1)

tthomas48 (180798) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826835)

Ultimately this boils down to "members of one party signed pledge they'd never raise taxes, do everything they can to conduct business as normal without raising anything explicitly called a tax".

Re:Note to all governments (5, Insightful)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826629)

Deficit spending is clearly the right strategy some of the time. Particularly if you spend your deficit on infrastructure that grows the economy and results in increased wealth to pay back that debt. The real problem comes when you spend that debt on ephemera like elder health care that gets you nothing but additional expenses.

Re:Note to all governments (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#39827037)

So I take it that you have always paid for your vehicles all cash up front as well as your house so you can really tell them because you lead by personal example, right?

Note to uneducated repubs (1, Insightful)

happyhamster (134378) | more than 2 years ago | (#39827073)

How about getting a little economic education instead of chanting idiotic repub slogans? If you think about it, the slogan is meaningless. Modern economy runs on credit. Everyone "spends more money than they have," businesses, families, and yes, governments. It increases economic activity and improves growth. You borrow in bad times or for large items, pay off gradually in good times.

Re:Note to all governments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39827101)

How about stop spending more money than you have?

I'm guessing you watch Fox News, dontcha?

How about we apply that to everyone? No more banks lending money. No more lending to businesses to grow (you know, that whole silly investment thing?)

Yup, nice sound bite you have there. Critical thinker you are not.

Texas gov gives huge corp tax breaks (3, Insightful)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826077)

a tax break for regular people that actually helps the economy? Nope, can't have that.

Re:Texas gov gives huge corp tax breaks (1)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826145)

Lets be honest. You're already saving a lot of money when you purchase online as opposed to brick and mortar.

Tax Cuts = Job creation...right!!? (2)

supaneko (1019638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826369)

Don't you remember? When the government cuts taxes for corporations, they (the corporations) create teh jobz!!

Re:Texas gov gives huge corp tax breaks (2)

DogDude (805747) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826523)

Not paying sales tax "helps the economy"? What economy? The economy of Amazon.com? It sure as shit doesn't help your local economy.

Location based? (4, Interesting)

wiedzmin (1269816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826097)

So, how does that work? They charge you a tax based on what your billing address, your shipping address, your IP geolocation? I wonder if there is a business opportunity in offering re-shipping services out of states with no Amazon tax for Amazon customers...

Re:Location based? (1, Informative)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826127)

It's based off the address you give them.

Re:Location based? (1)

beltsbear (2489652) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826169)

As most orders billing and shipping will be the same state. I am sure that if EITHER address is TX you will get sales tax.

Re:Location based? (5, Informative)

dodgerfan (994874) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826355)

Nope, just the shipping address.

Re:Location based? (2)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826225)

So you're gping to pay a middleman and double shipping costs just to save on sales tax? Have fun buying that TV from Amazon and then having to pay your middleman a couple hundred bucks to ship it to you which, along with their fee, will cost more than you would have paid in tax.

Re:Location based? (4, Informative)

wiedzmin (1269816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826301)

Doesn't have to be shipping, if you live close enough to the state border you could drive there to pick it up. Canadians living near the border do this all this time to avoid paying customs fees or to get around stupid shipping restrictions (on Amazon Kindles for example). There are services that offer package pick up in US cities along the border.

Re:Location based? (1)

garyoa1 (2067072) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826501)

Not if the closest place is New York. Then you pay NY (8%) tax even tho you don't live there.

Re:Location based? (2)

Mabhatter (126906) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826637)

I never understand why they don't go after credit card companies and other electronic funds places. Your Credit/Debit card company already has to comply with local state rules anyway (as a business presence) and have your legal postal address. That industry takes an even BIGGER profit from all the people avoiding tax online. They would only have to comply with one address per customer... And adding fees is certainly something they are good at.

The biggest problem with the sales tax rules is that EVERY BUSINESS could have to support EVERY SALES TAX in the country. That is hundreds of separate amounts based on residence alone and more based on "type of merchandise"... Not to mention they would have to be LICENSED to collect that tax... I don't think even the tax collectors thought through the deluge of paperwork from all the Internet businesses in 49 other states they would have to process.

Alternately, we could have the Post Office collect the sales tax... They need something to do!

Why? (3, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826135)

Doesn't this violate the US Constitution?

Or are they arguing that Amazon "has a presence" in Texas?

Re:Why? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39826179)

Or are they arguing that Amazon "has a presence" in Texas?

Originally they argued that Amazon having a distribution center in the state counted as a "presence".

Re:Why? (1)

gnick (1211984) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826403)

A distribution center isn't a business? Or are they distributing without charge or paid employees from public lands?

Re:Why? (2)

doktor-hladnjak (650513) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826603)

These Amazon distribution centers are operated by wholly owned subsidiaries. Amazon claims that it's not their sales business that has a business presence there, but rather the subsidiaries which are technically separate companies that just happen to be owned by Amazon.

Re:Why? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826549)

This changes the whole equation: if Amazon has a distribution center in TX, then that certainly counts as a "physical presence", and the way I understand it obligates a mail-order seller to collect sales tax. The way most mail-order sellers get out of it is that they really don't have any physical presence: none at all, including no "affiliates", or distribution centers owned by a shell company or other such legal trickery. Most sellers are based in one state only, so that's the only state they collect sales tax in, and the others can't force them to collect since that's a violation of interstate commerce.

I wonder if Amazon has worked out deals in some states to be tax-free in exchange for located a distro center there. I'm in Arizona and my Amazon purchases are tax-free, yet they have a distro center on the other side of town from me. I'm not sure how they do it, but I'm guessing there's some kind of special deal at work there.

Re:Why? (1)

jimmydevice (699057) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826711)

I believe Amazon purchased Woot, which is located in Texas.
This also explains Woot's decline.

Re:Why? (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826379)

It doesn't violate anything if the corporation Volunteers to collect the use tax. The state government can not force non-residents to comply, but it can politely ask, and apparently amazon said "okay".

Re:Why? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39826539)

Amazon has a presence in virtually every state thru affiliates who have web pages and get a commission when they send someone to Amazon and they buy something. Trouble is, when they start to collect taxes in that state they cut off their affiliates and they don't get any more commissions. Of course what the hell do the politicians care about the little people?

I'm in Texas and have already gotten charged tax (3, Informative)

honestmonkey (819408) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826147)

It was for a few short stories on Kindle. They cost me $1.07, instead of the $0.99 that was listed. I just assumed they were already charging tax. I haven't gotten charged tax on physical items yet, though.

Lost an amazon customer (-1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826211)

Okay maybe not. I'll still buy their stuff but much, much less than before. I see no reason why I should have to pay sales taxes to a foreign government. "No taxation without representation."

Oh and if governments start demanding I file ~50 separate sales tax returns on my amazon sales, they can go F themselves. Again: No taxation w/o representation in their foreign governments.

Re:Lost an amazon customer (3, Insightful)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826245)

You would only pay this if you lived in Texas...

Re:Lost an amazon customer (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39826271)

You idiot, you only get charged TX sales tax if either your billing or shipping address is in TX. There's nothing foreign about it, but nice strawman.

Re:Lost an amazon customer (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39826303)

We got ourselves a class A retard here. Did you even read the first sentence? It clearly says 'collecting sales tax from buyers in Texas'. If you live in Texas it is not a 'foreign government'. Secondly, your catch phrase has no legal weight. It is just tat, a catch phrase.

Re:Lost an amazon customer (0)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826567)

Ooops..... never mind. I am not Texan and have nothing to worry about. (For now.)

summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39826221)

amazon wanted to expand operations in texas

texas went after them for sales taxes

amazon threatened to expand elsewhere instead

the two sides negotiate

texas gives amnesty for past sales taxes

amazon agrees to continue texas expansion and to start collecting and paying state sales tax (as a result of their new physical presence in the state)

____

states could all get around the whole physical presence thing by passing the the same (or similar) law that new york did, defining affiliates/marketers as a physical presence. if ALL states did it, then the retailers would just give-in and start collecting the taxes instead of terminating affiliate and marketing agreements in affected states.

Re:summary (2)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826607)

I don't really understand why they're doing this. This deal seems rather short-sighted: charging TX customers sales tax is going to reduce their revenues (and profits), since some customers will switch to other online sellers that don't charge sales tax. Why not stay out of Texas altogether, and build their distribution center in a much smaller state like Oklahoma? Texas is a huge, heavily populated state with tons of potential customers. Oklahoma and Arkansas are much smaller, but right next door, and very centrally located in the country. If they have to charge customers sales tax anywhere (which will mean a hit on the number of customers in that state), why not go to the most unpopulated but strategically-located state?

Well, a good reason to use other sites... (4, Insightful)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826237)

is all that is. As for Texas being against taxes, well, the state is about 24.6 billion or so in debt under the ever amusing "conservative" governor Perry. So make no mistake about it. Governor Perry is against taxes, but he seems to be OK with authorizing *spending* whether there's tax revenue to cover it or not.

Re:Well, a good reason to use other sites... (4, Informative)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826617)

Texas does have one of the lowest per capita state debts, being 45th or so.

It also has an absolutely rubbish education system (49th in verbal SAT) and the largest percentage of minimum wage workers in the US. These crappy jobs of course don't offer health care coverage as often as better paying jobs. The unemployment rate is right at the national average at 8.2%.

While it does lead the nation in job growth, it is also leading the nation in population growth.

And that's despite being wealthy in natural resources like oil.

Re:Well, a good reason to use other sites... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39826885)

It also has an absolutely rubbish education system

Honestly, I can't think of a state that doesn't. And as long as people continue to think that rote memorization and teaching to the test is learning, that will never change.

Re:Well, a good reason to use other sites... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39827063)

Hint: It's the hispanics and their anchor babies that increasing the population growth. Learn Spanish.

Fair? (3, Interesting)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826269)

How can they just collect taxes from one online store and leave the other million alone?
Seems like a unfair advantage and completely illegal to boot.

Re:Fair? (3, Insightful)

tthomas48 (180798) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826375)

Walmart, BestBuy, Target, Dell, etc. All pay taxes in Texas. Amazon has been a bit off a scofflaw for many years now.

Re:Fair? (3, Informative)

mybecq (131456) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826649)

How can they just collect taxes from one online store and leave the other million alone?

Learn about Tax Nexus [about.com] and you'll have your answer.

Re:Fair? (2)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826667)

No, it's not illegal or unfair. Maybe you should go read the Constitution. States aren't allowed to charge taxes to companies that don't operate within their borders (shipping items to citizens inside doesn't count). If a mail-order company has no physical presence within the state, then that state can't force them to charge taxes. Instead, the state needs to go after its own citizens who aren't paying the "use tax" when they buy products from out-of-state.

Amazon, it seems, has a physical presence there now (some kind of distribution center), so that obligates them to collect the tax. Ma-n-Pa's Online Doodad Shop in Bumblefuck, Maine doesn't have a physical presence there, so they don't have to collect taxes (no do Ma-n-Pa have the resources to calculate sales taxes for the tens of thousands of different jurisdictions across the country, since sales taxes vary by zipcode).

Good thing I don't live in Texas (0)

rossdee (243626) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826313)

Does Amazon have operations on the ground in Texas?

The other States that they have started collecting sales tax for have all been where they have warehouses etc. (Indiana was mentioned a couple of months ago.

This could create business opportunities for online retailers based in states that don't have sales tax. (like Montana)

Re:Good thing I don't live in Texas (3, Informative)

JazzHarper (745403) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826507)

Does Amazon have operations on the ground in Texas?

Yes, they do.

Also, California, Florida, Missouri, New Jersey, Virginia and Washington, of course. That's as of four years ago. Probably more, now.

Argh. (1)

Zorque (894011) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826371)

Sales tax is an assault on the poor (and to a lesser extent the middle class), and I've been pretty upset to see it encroaching on the internet. I've always thought we should restrict sales tax to "luxury" items like furniture, electronics and so on.

Although I guess that's largely the type of thing Amazon carries, so maybe I shouldn't be so worked up about it after all.

Re:Argh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39826453)

I've always thought we should restrict sales tax to "luxury" items like furniture, electronics and so on.

Why?

Your company makes money, it's taxed. They pay you, it's taxed again - purportedly for your retirement and medical benefits, of course, but pillaged nonetheless. You receive it, and it's taxed yet again. How does it make any fucking sense, whatsoever, to then tax it again when you freaking buy something?

We're a few Republicat or Democan presidolts away from the ability to make a living being removed entirely. By 2030, citizens of the US will simply get a weekly allowance from our governmental parents, no doubt.

Re:Argh. (1)

Zorque (894011) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826983)

Haha, I should have elaborated that we should eliminate sales tax entirely, but if we must have it then it should be restricted to things that aren't absolute essentials. I agree with you on that front.

Re:Argh. (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826569)

Texas doesn't have state income tax -- so property tax and sales tax are all that there is for revenue here. As such, either of those being dodged is not so great.

Re:Argh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39826739)

you think furniture and electronics are luxuries? are you from somalia?

Good! (0)

DogDude (805747) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826463)

Like the subject says: good! Hopefully, more states will continue to do the same. I'm really tired of seeing of people gleefully dodging sales tax.

Re:Good! (2)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826707)

Like the subject says: good! Hopefully, more states will continue to do the same. I'm really tired of seeing of people gleefully dodging sales tax.

Really? It's the only tax I don't mind people dodging, because it's the only (major) tax that hurts you more the less you make.

A New Money Scheme (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39826691)

So if they start taxing it by billing address, some enterprising person should start a credit card company in the "Isle of Man" that sells credit cards with billing addresses there. Then charge a nominal fee of, for example, $1/month to have the card so that you don't ever pay the sales tax. Hmm...

Excellent (1)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826795)

I live in Texas, and I shop at Amazon a lot (I even have Prime membership). I'm glad that that Amazon will be charging sales tax now. I'm happy to pay it, because I know it will help my state. I know, I could have reported the sales tax myself, but it's not the same thing. It only has value if everyone pays the tax. Amazon's prices and free shipping are already cheaper than most local retailers, so I don't think Amazon will suffer any.

Re:Excellent (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39827105)

I live in Houston. Sales tax is different depending on what city you live in. What's to prevent the Texas, or any state for that matter, telling Amazing to collect texas based on the local sales rate of your resident. Or is that already happening? If not, there will be a lot of fights among cities as to who gets what percentage of the sales taxes collected by Amazon on the states government's behalf.

Pennsylvania is making them collect next year (3, Informative)

danbuter (2019760) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826847)

Starting next year, Amazon will have to collect Pennsylvania state sales tax, as well. The state politicians have been pushing for this for several years, in fact. Amazon was given a reprieve to allow them to set up their system, but it looks like they will have to collect starting next year.

I'm entirely OK with this. (1)

aoeu (532208) | more than 2 years ago | (#39826995)

Why not let bricks compete against the cloud on an even footing? Amazon et al do not need this advantage anymore and ebay has no reason to market itself as a tax avoidance scheme.

Good. (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 2 years ago | (#39827035)

I have to pay taxes anyway. Arizona makes you state explicitly that you didn't buy any shit on the Internet without paying taxes, so I'd be lying on my taxes which is pretty serious shit. They are more likely to audit you based on your income and some heuristics if you say no, so I had to go to Amazon and do a report to find out how much I owed and declare it on my taxes.

So if the fuckers are going to make me pay taxes, at least make it easier than that bullshit.

i cheat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39827051)

on any and every tax i can - govt at all levels is an insipid, inefficient steward of my money

One less benefit (1)

craigminah (1885846) | more than 2 years ago | (#39827163)

of buying from Amazon is the lack of sales tax. Will they rack up another $34B in annual sales if everyone (for now just Texas but it will spread) must pay sales tax? What do the states plan to squander the money on anyways...
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