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Cash strapped N.C. looks to milk money out of citizens in its battered local economy

When it comes to internet purchases, you're supposed to individually list them on your yearly tax return and then pay back sales taxes to the state.  Of course, few people do this.  Now the government of North Carolina and other states are battling Amazon.com and other e-tailers to get these records.

Amazon.com this week filed suit against the North Carolina state government -- specifically, the Department of Revenue (DOR) -- claiming that the state's demand for records of virtually every North Carolina resident who has purchased anything from Amazon since 2003 was not only unreasonable, but a violation of privacy.

Amazon writes in a filing for the case, "In re: Amazon.com LLC vs Kenneth R. Lay", Case No. 10-00664, U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington, "[T]he DOR has no business seeking to uncover the identity of Amazon's customers who purchased expressive content, which makes up the majority of the nearly 50 million products sold to North Carolina residents during the audit period."

If the case is lost, Amazon may have to turn over the records of millions of its customers in North Carolina.  Those individuals who purchased from Amazon (but did not report their purchase on their tax returns) might be audited and face civil penalties. At the very least, they would likely be expected to repay back taxes on the items they failed to report to the government.

In North Carolina, failing to pay state sales taxes is handled as a civil infraction.  Under the codes 105 236(5)c. and 105 236(5)a., citizens can face additional fines for dodging state taxes.  The penalty would likely be to pay 25 percent more tax, except on small items, which would require taxpayers to pay only an additional 10 percent fine.

The fight is the latest in the growing trend of states hungering for internet tax revenue.  Many states have passed or are debating laws that would tax digital downloads such as those offered by Amazon, Steam, Apple's iTunes store, or others.  While many in the public have complained about excessive taxation on the federal level, it is actually the states that have been pushing the most for bigger taxes of late.  The federal government has made some mild efforts to fight taxation of the internet.



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And the purpose?
By Ristogod on 4/20/2010 11:53:16 AM , Rating: 4
I just don't understand the constant need for the government to steel from it's citizens, which they will do nothing but waste it on useless unneeded government spending and abuse.




RE: And the purpose?
By MrBlastman on 4/20/2010 11:56:47 AM , Rating: 5
It is simple, really. NC gets pretty warm in the spring/summer/fall. In the NC assembly, the politicians produce quite a bit of hot air. In order to combat this, they have to constantly turn up the AC to cool things off.

As a result, you're stuck paying for it. If you protest it, they will create more hot air and you'll pay even more taxes.


RE: And the purpose?
By Mitch101 on 4/20/2010 1:38:55 PM , Rating: 3
The fact that the guy is trying to do this retroactively on to the state instead of going forward screams assh0le. Especially at the apex of the economic downturn. Thankyou sir may I have another?


RE: And the purpose?
By jpr703 on 4/20/2010 11:59:03 AM , Rating: 5
Taxing and fining your citizens must be a great way to improve your local economy! I wonder who I can sue to get the money to pay the fines if they win.


RE: And the purpose?
By mikecel79 on 4/20/2010 12:03:07 PM , Rating: 5
Let me first say I am totally against this. If Amazon loses this case then every state will start asking for the same information from not only Amazon but all the major e-tailers out there.

The government is not really stealing anything from it's citizens. It is trying to collect taxes that according to the law you are required to claim taxes on. I think this is the wrong way to go about doing it but it's certainly not stealing from it's citizens.

If NC does win this case I expect no one in an elected position will be re-elected....


RE: And the purpose?
By Kurz on 4/20/10, Rating: -1
RE: And the purpose?
By chenjf on 4/20/2010 3:00:06 PM , Rating: 2
Thats because they have what is called VAT (Value Added Tax). But if you really want to go down the path of if other countries dont have it, why should we. Then you can do that with a lot of the freedoms we have now.


RE: And the purpose?
By walk2k on 4/20/2010 3:59:47 PM , Rating: 3
This "country" doesn't charge sales taxes either. But states do.


RE: And the purpose?
By Targon on 4/20/2010 2:26:08 PM , Rating: 4
The idea of a sales tax itself is that government services are needed to support the businesses, such as road maintenance and police coverage, plus hospitals, clean-up, etc. Now, if you travel out of state to purchase something, why should the state you live in have the right to charge you ANYTHING on that sale?

This is really what has driven out of state sales for far longer than the Internet has been in existence, the fact that states could not charge out of state businesses for sales tax. So, then the Internet comes along, which the government has not supported, and now a number of states are trying to claim that online sales are now subject to sales tax.

The real solution to states having a budget problem SHOULD be to cut down on expenses. Stop spending $1,000,000 on projects that would cost a private citizen $100,000! Don't make all those government holidays as paid time off, and stop giving overtime pay to people who SHOULD not get overtime due to being paid so much that they really shouldn't get paid extra for doing their jobs!

I've had many jobs where due to my level of responsibility, I was just a salaried employee, and didn't get overtime, no matter how much extra I might work. If government would adopt that approach, how much money would be saved? Anyone who gets more than $65,000 per year should probably no longer get paid overtime, since their level of responsibility SHOULD be that the job gets done, no matter if it takes 4 hours, or 15 hours.


RE: And the purpose?
By callmeroy on 4/20/2010 2:57:14 PM , Rating: 5
Welcome to IT.....

Where from helpdesk to network engineer, to IT manager, you are expected to be on call 24/7/365 and oh yeah you are paid salary so no OT.

Been in the biz for 14 years .... I've had easy 40 hour weeks, but I've also worked 18 hour days...it comes with the job....(not that I don't still reserve the right to bitch and moan here and there about it...lol)


RE: And the purpose?
By Alexstarfire on 4/20/2010 6:13:05 PM , Rating: 5
No kidding. Just last year they did some road work on a road near my house. They were taking out these tiny bridges (about 30 feet long) and putting in land to pave on. How long did it take them per bridge? 3 months. How long should it have taken? Less than two weeks. Seriously, not hard to destroy a bridge, lay a pipe for the water to go through, dump some dirt on it, and then pave the road and sidewalk.


RE: And the purpose?
By JediJeb on 4/21/2010 10:51:15 AM , Rating: 2
As one county road worker once told me " We just bought a new 4 door truck that sleeps 6" and if they could find a way to put 8 people in it and sleep I imagine they would.


RE: And the purpose?
By FITCamaro on 4/20/2010 10:39:21 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. While I'm not going to claim to be perfect here, states have every right to try to collect sales tax that you're supposed to pay.

And in reality we should be paying far more in taxes to state governments and far less to the federal government.


RE: And the purpose?
By Jaybus on 4/21/2010 11:52:50 AM , Rating: 2
Well now that is the question isn't it? Are we supposed to pay it? It depends on whether or not the business has a "nexus" in your state. A nexus is a "direct or indirect physical presence". A direct presence is owning or leasing property in the state, such as distribution center, warehouse, etc., or in general having employees who work in that state. An indirect presence is having employees or contractors that enter the state, as for example sales reps, non-manufacturer warranty service calls, etc.

In 1992 the US Supreme Court ruled in the Quill Corp. v. North Dakota case that simply shipping catalog orders to another state did not constitute a nexus. In other words, UPS and FedEx are not acting as agents of the company.

So, that is the question. Does Amazon have nexus in NC? Before 2009 they did not. In 2009 NC adopted the "Amazon rule", which means that if any website owned or paid for by a NC business links to Amazon, then the state of North Carolina considers that enough to claim Amazon has nexus in North Carolina.

New York and Rhode Island also have Amazon rules, so in spite of the 1992 Supreme Court decision, there will have to be another long trek to the Supreme Court over the issue of whether or not a website link constitutes a nexus. Since that would be very expensive and drawn out, Amazon is first challenging the privacy issue.

As for paying more to state and local governments and less to the federal government, I couldn't agree more. But the states are asking us to pay more AND the federal government is now asking us to pay more too. It would be better for taxpayers if the state got more of your tax dollars than the fed. It is easier for citizens of a state to keep their state in check than it is to keep the feds in check. Alas, that level of state sovereignty was lost when the South lost the Civil War.


RE: And the purpose?
By invidious on 4/20/10, Rating: -1
RE: And the purpose?
By BladeVenom on 4/20/2010 12:53:56 PM , Rating: 5
The money would fund even more jobs if it stayed in the private sector. The government spends your money to buy votes.


RE: And the purpose?
By kerpwnt on 4/20/2010 1:50:45 PM , Rating: 5
They spend a lot of that money in the private sector.


RE: And the purpose?
By gamerk2 on 4/20/2010 1:56:30 PM , Rating: 5
Hell, they subsidise entire industries (Farming anyome?) to keep them economically viable. Hell, farming subsidies may cost several hundred billion, but they do increase the supply of food, driving down prices for everyone else. Of course, since we dont "see" where the money is going, we yell about how much we pay (which is still less then any other western nation).

Of course, our two biggest expenses are Medicare/Medicade and Military Spending, and one party in particular has made it clear that we can never under any circumstances cut funding for those two entities, so where exactly does that leave us?

I also note: The Feds are running a deficit, as are the states, as are the people who elect to those positions, ordinary americans. Maybe people should start looking in the mirror before asking why government doesn't work right...government in a democracy mirrors its people, after all.


RE: And the purpose?
By mandrews on 4/20/2010 2:14:17 PM , Rating: 5
quote:

Hell, they subsidise entire industries (Farming anyome?) to keep them economically viable. Hell, farming subsidies may cost several hundred billion, but they do increase the supply of food, driving down prices for everyone else. Of course, since we dont "see" where the money is going, we yell about how much we pay (which is still less then any other western nation).


Why should we subsidize industries? That model was tried and failed in communist Russia.

What's the point of claiming to have a free market, if you've essentially nationalized large portions of it behind the scenes?

quote:
Of course, our two biggest expenses are Medicare/Medicade and Military Spending, and one party in particular has made it clear that we can never under any circumstances cut funding for those two entities, so where exactly does that leave us?


Both parties share some guilt here. The Democrats typically try to burden the taxpayer with the cost of paying for programs like welfare that take from those working taxpayers and give to those who generally are too lazy to educate themselves and get a job.

The Republicans, meanwhile wisely recognize that defense spending is essential, but they often go overboard committing to costly military campaigns outside the U.S.

There are some voices of reason within both parties, but often the loudest voices calling for reform are equally corrupt. Look at Sarah Palin who is advocating "fiscal responsibility" and rallying the Tea Party, when she as governor endorsed millions in pork barrel initiatives.

The sad fact is both parties are badly broken at this point, and that there's little point to voting for third parties. The best we can hope for is try to educate ourselves on the track record of our local politicians and support candidates who actually practice fiscal responsibility and oppose those who do not, regardless of the party.


RE: And the purpose?
By nafhan on 4/20/2010 2:30:43 PM , Rating: 2
Don't forget about the large percentage of your taxes that go towards repaying interest on the national defecit. I think it was something like 5% of the federal budget last year.


RE: And the purpose?
By soloman02 on 4/20/2010 3:55:35 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Maybe people should start looking in the mirror before asking why government doesn't work right...government in a democracy mirrors its people, after all.


This is a constitutional republic not a democracy. Though one could argue we are no longer a republic as the representatives in congress don't consult or care about the constitution anymore. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2iiirr5KI8


RE: And the purpose?
By ClownPuncher on 4/20/2010 6:07:50 PM , Rating: 2
A constitutional republic with a representative democracy. Always has been.


RE: And the purpose?
By JediJeb on 4/21/2010 10:59:55 AM , Rating: 2
I come from a farming family and I can tell you that the subsidies really don't make it down to the farmers. Maybe some of the buyers make out good on them I don't know. The only "subsidies" most farmers get are low interest loans which have to be paid back even if a crop fails. And usually you are required to carry crop insurance if you take the loans which then eats into any profit a farmer may make. If it cost a farmer $3 per bushel to grow corn, and at the end of the year the price of corn is $2 per bushel, then the farmer just has to take a loss. It is one of the few industries where the producer of the good has no say in what the selling price will be.


RE: And the purpose?
By MojoMan on 4/20/2010 12:57:16 PM , Rating: 3
Sir, have you ever heard of the Federal Reserve? You know, the private banking cartel that controls our economy, and uses you and I, the tax payer, to fund its counterfeiting operation?

You don't think the government steels from the citizens. They do sir, quite literally. I don't think people would be upset if we weren't paying about 50% of everything we make back to the government. Do you work for the government? I do, so I understand where your jobs comments come from. Just because a government job exists though, that does not mean it is necessary. The entire IRS is a questionable (il)legal entity for example. :-)

Remember the government bailouts to failing companies, like AIG? Yes, we have a right to think those billions disappear. Maybe not into thin air, but certainly into places that money does NOT belong.

Now, in NC's defense... Hmmm..... Can't think of a defense since they probably have out-dated tax codes, and simply don't want to put in the effort to correct those tax codes to streamline their revenue. I could be wrong. Somebody feel free to post a link on this point. I'd be interested and open to ideas on this. I doubt there will be much debate her though since the middle class is constantly taxed like crazy while large corporations like Exxon Mobile pay nearly nothing.


RE: And the purpose?
By MrBlastman on 4/20/2010 12:57:09 PM , Rating: 3
Millions of jobs? Say what?

Last time I checked I saw the government piss trillions of dollars down the drain on economic stimulus and hardly any jobs have resulted from it as of yet. Instead, they then spent their time creating a new program that will cost us _even more_ money and--jobs in the private sector.

Our whole government is a waste. Everything _but_ the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. I propose we keep those and fire all the people in Washington.


RE: And the purpose?
By Ammohunt on 4/20/2010 1:41:20 PM , Rating: 2
Q:Tell me einstein where is hte revenue from all these government jobs?
A: their isn't any Government jobs produce nothing! and contribute very little to the economy.


RE: And the purpose?
By kerpwnt on 4/20/2010 2:23:22 PM , Rating: 3
There may be no direct revenue, but government programs can contribute to long term production. Education creates more skilled workers and inventors. Space programs and military intelligence pour money into the American private sector to create new technologies. The DOT creates roads that benefit private industry and often employs private contractors to build and maintain these roads.

Sure there is waste, but to say they contribute very little is a stretch. Even if the money goes to a government job that doesn't appear to produce anything, like soldiers & security workers, at least that money lands in American laborer's pockets and not straight in the Chinese manufacturing industry.


RE: And the purpose?
By Targon on 4/20/2010 2:33:35 PM , Rating: 3
You are talking about the idea of government INVESTING in programs with the idea that there will be some sort of return on that investment, even if it takes a long time. That is something I agree with, but you have to look at the situations where government wastes money, not in investments, but on really stupid garbage.

Now, one big waste is how much money is paid, not to elected officials, but to support staff for elected officials. How much do these people make, and why is it so much more than the same position would pay in the private sector? Why does the government knowingly pay 10 times the going rate for contracted services when the people doing the work could get paid the same if they would be hired by the government directly? Why is it that we don't see government looking at COSTS as the reason for budget problems, rather than on just looking at increasing tax revenue dollars as the solution?


RE: And the purpose?
By sinful on 4/20/2010 8:27:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Why does the government knowingly pay 10 times the going rate for contracted services when the people doing the work could get paid the same if they would be hired by the government directly? Why is it that we don't see government looking at COSTS as the reason for budget problems, rather than on just looking at increasing tax revenue dollars as the solution?


ZOMG you've suggested SOCIALISM as a way to reduce costs!

The Republican party DEMANDS that the government create inefficiency by hiring contractors to do those jobs. Anything else is socialism!!

Keep the government out of the private sector by making them use wasteful contractors, then complain about wasteful spending!


RE: And the purpose?
By Kurz on 4/21/2010 9:43:28 AM , Rating: 2
Well it all stems back that the government has a credit card. Its the Currency of the people, and Taxation, and Loans it takes.

Meh if we had a fixed rate Currency we would have stable growth and prosperity instead of these constant up and down business cycles.


RE: And the purpose?
By Newspapercrane on 4/21/2010 10:19:41 AM , Rating: 2
How exactly would one go about creating a "Fixed Rate Currency"?


RE: And the purpose?
By Ammohunt on 4/29/2010 3:36:45 PM , Rating: 2
He is talking about the gold standard which if you analyze the the valid reasons it was abandonded is not a good idea to go back to it.


RE: And the purpose?
By mandrews on 4/20/2010 2:06:04 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
So you think the money the government spends dissapear into the air? The billions of dollars in the annual budget that you might consider "waste" are in actuality funding millions of jobs.


The state and federal governments were never designed to fund "millions of jobs". Rather, they should provide on a state level for maintenance of the road system, education, and law enforcement and on a national level for defense of the nation. Beyond that most of the spending is a waste of taxpayer money.

Soft-headed liberals will try to have you believe that we need to waste billions spending on public healthcare and welfare. People should get jobs, educate themselves, and pay for their own retirements, not leach off the harder working members of society.

If government was reduced to the bare essentials, measures like sales taxes would like be unnecessary.


RE: And the purpose?
By Reclaimer77 on 4/20/2010 6:47:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If government was reduced to the bare essentials, measures like sales taxes would like be unnecessary.


Hell this country used to run just fine without a Federal Income Tax at all. And they claimed even that would just be a "temporary" measure.

I doesn't cost trillions of dollars to govern a country people... it really doesn't.


RE: And the purpose?
By jkp on 4/20/2010 1:21:12 PM , Rating: 3
The floggings will continue until the morale improves!


RE: And the purpose?
By dxf2891 on 4/20/2010 2:38:12 PM , Rating: 3
It would be my hope that the state government would utilize this revenue stream for education, thereby allowing for better reading comprehension. The citizens would then be able to steel themselves against the accusations that the government would steal from them.


RE: And the purpose?
By Reclaimer77 on 4/20/2010 4:23:54 PM , Rating: 2
I live a few miles from Charlotte and I'm very informed on what the Charlotte politicians are up to. And to answer your question : Charlotte is ran, and has been run, by Democrats. 'Nuff said. When the economy was good they bloated up the budget full of pet projects and art'sy farty'sy urban development bullshit. When the recession hit, there wasn't enough money to pay for all their liberal shit they filled the budget with. And god forbid they actually have to CUT some art and social programs...


RE: And the purpose?
By walk2k on 4/20/2010 4:30:28 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah they shouldn't "steel" from citizens they should copper or zinc from them intead.

Or maybe nickel (and dime)... =)

But seriously UMMMM it's called taxes... you realize that's how governments pay for the things their citizens demand from them, like roads and schools and police, right?


RE: And the purpose?
By Reclaimer77 on 4/20/2010 4:38:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
But seriously UMMMM it's called taxes... you realize that's how governments pay for the things their citizens demand from them, like roads and schools and police, right?


THE City of Charlotte last year bought four rocks, at two hundred THOUSAND DOLLARS each. While at the same time claiming they can't afford to pay teachers and build roads.

So STFU walk, you have no idea how bad the situation is. You must be in fantasy land if you think tax money is always going to things that it actually should be.


RE: And the purpose?
By Camikazi on 4/20/2010 9:43:07 PM , Rating: 2
Hope those rocks were made of gold or silver or something.


RE: And the purpose?
By thurston on 4/20/2010 10:57:22 PM , Rating: 1
Why would the city of Charlotte pay teachers? I would think they would be paid for by the county.


RE: And the purpose?
By Director on 4/21/2010 7:51:24 AM , Rating: 2
It's what happens when a government borrows money from private banks who invent it out of thin air and then charge interest. Google "The Money Masters", "The Secret of Oz" or "money as debt" and you'll soon understand what's going on.


RE: And the purpose?
By Mike Acker on 4/21/2010 8:29:11 AM , Rating: 2
you have to understand: government is self-serving

too many people who are in government are there because they like being in a position of power. to maintain that they need to maintain voter support -- and entitlements is one way they do this.

they will close the fire dept. , lay off the policemen , and let the roads go to pot before they reduce any entitlement

it is a symp[tom of a corrupt society. all corrupt societies fail because they steal from themselves the substance of their own sustainment.


Just A Matter Of Time
By mgilbert on 4/20/2010 12:05:03 PM , Rating: 2
It's just a matter of time before states find some way to make us pay sales tax on things purchased on the Internet. Not having to pay sales tax on these items is just too good to be true.

Whether I have to pay sales tax or not on something is a major factor in where I choose to buy.

There is no way this free ride is going to last. Our government is way too greedy and wasteful. They would tax the air we breath if they could...




RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By tinwhiskers on 4/20/2010 12:11:36 PM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately, this already happens in New York State.


RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Omega215D on 4/20/2010 3:53:12 PM , Rating: 2
Except not that many people even bother to report it. I have no problem shopping locally and paying the (high) sales tax only if stores would price their things ridiculously. On a few occasions I was able to buy something from Best Buy cheaper than it would be online with sales tax included. Next week the price went back up to $20 more than the online merchant.


RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By jjmcubed on 4/20/2010 11:13:25 PM , Rating: 2
and California


RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By erikstarcher on 4/20/2010 1:16:22 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Whether I have to pay sales tax or not on something is a major factor in where I choose to buy.

If your state has sales tax, then you have to pay sales tax where ever you choose to buy from. By not paying sales tax you are violating your states tax laws. Just because Amazon doesn't charge you sales tax doesn't mean you don't have to pay it.


RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By tmouse on 4/20/2010 1:29:29 PM , Rating: 2
Not entirely true, most states sale tax codes require a physical presence within the state to be able to collect a tax on the item. One state cannot put a tax on sale from another. Now some states like New York have a use tax. So in that case you are required to pay the difference between the sales tax paid to the state you purchased the item from and the tax you would have paid if you bought it in your local tax region IF you bring the item to New York.


RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Motoman on 4/20/2010 1:38:04 PM , Rating: 4
You do understand that it is, and always has been, illegal to purchase something out-of-state and then not report that purchase on your tax return, and pay the associated use tax...right?

This is not anything new. There has ALWAYS been that law on the books. The problem, practically, is twofold...

1. Before the internet, out-of-state purchases were pretty darned low. So the states didn't miss out on much use tax.

2. Essentially no one ever reports such out-of-state purchases, and/or pays the use tax as required by law.

By law, everyone who has ever bought anything on the internet and not reported it/paid use tax, is a criminal. And that's not up for debate - it's a black and white issue. If you bought something from any internet vendor, and did not pay use tax to your state, you broke the law. Period.

Naturally, virtually everyone (it seems) buys stuff on the internet. Just as naturally, no one (effectively) reports those purchases. Those purchases do supplant local purchases though, which means that it is absolutely accurate that the state you live in is losing money every time you make an online purchase.

Sales taxes generate a large amount of your state's revenue (granted that you live in a state that has a sales tax, which virtually all of us do). So don't make the mistake of deluding yourself into thinking this has to do with the states wanting to "steal money from their citizens" or anything of the sort. It is 100% accurate to say that an online purchase that is not accompanied by a payment of use tax is a theft from the state - perpetrated by you, the internet consumer.

The states are just trying to get what you have always been obligated to pay them.

The question is how to possibly do that. I sure as hell don't want them forcing Amazon (or anyone else) to hand over any records. That's a VAST invasion of privacy.

So someone else can come up with a good solution - but I hope at least everyone understands the legal situation here.


RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By spwrozek on 4/20/2010 1:44:12 PM , Rating: 2
I think the solution is pretty easy.

Pay the sales tax in the state where the purchase was made. If I am in Ohio and buy online from Utah make it as if I was in Utah and making the purchase. The state that deserves the tax will get it and no one will be breaking the law anymore.


RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By HotFoot on 4/20/2010 1:47:16 PM , Rating: 2
How does the state normally collect sales tax without the gathering of information on transactions? When I was consulting, there was always the chance that I'd be audited and have to have receipts for every amount. This is basically an audit on Amazon.

I'm not saying the state has any business knowing what you spend your money on. I just think they've already had that power for a long time.


RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Ammohunt on 4/20/2010 1:55:39 PM , Rating: 3
They would have to prove criminal intent most people don't purchase out of state for the purpose of defrauding local government. Law or not why is this such an issue now? i have been ordering goods over the internet for over a decade now. You would think they would have tried to enforce this along time ago the root of the problem is that they have mismanaged what tax revenue they currently collect and are looking at every avenue to get more taxes to fund their budget shortfalls. Never once have i heard the State Governemnts utter the words "cut Governmnet welfare programs" which is where most of our taxes is wasted. if they did that it would actually increase State income taxes by forcing all the lazy ass welfare recipients living off the government to get jobs.


RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Motoman on 4/20/2010 4:16:59 PM , Rating: 2
You want proof of criminal intent? OK. Here's the quesitonnare:

Q: Did you make your internet purchase with the intention of not paying use tax on it?

A: Yes - therefore, criminal intent.

You can complain about government programs all you want - and you can cite the fact that you've broken this law for over a decade (I'd kinda keep that to myself if I was you...). However, the fact that you got away with breaking this law in the past doesn't mean you should expect to be able to get away with breaking it in the future.

If I stole $5 from the corner gas station every day for a year, then on the 366th day when I got caught do you think I'd say something like "...but I've stolen $5 from you every day for a year - you should just let me keep doing it!"

Current tax collection systems are, of course, ancient by today's standards, and the government flat-out has no good way to collect on use taxes. That doesn't mean you have some kind of privelege to abuse the system though.


RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Reclaimer77 on 4/20/10, Rating: 0
RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Motoman on 4/20/2010 5:27:53 PM , Rating: 2
It's absolutely staggering that you can be as stupid as you are and manage to continue to exist.

Marxist? Socialist? I want big government? Dude, you are so far off base it's not even funny.

All I've been doing is explaining the law, and giving a 100% perfect analogy. Not paying taxes is the same thing as theft from the government. Unless you're one of those whackos who think there's some loophole in the consitution that says you don't have to pay taxes...which there isn't.

It's amazing that you think the fact that a law isn't enforced is the same as granting you the privelege to break it. Even more so that if a law exists but you don't know about it...apparently you think that means you get to break that law?

So if I didn't know it was illegal to douse cats in lighter fluid and set them on fire, it should be OK for me to do that?

As for myself, I'd like to cut WAY back on the government. On this topic, starting with the IRS. Fire essentially all of them and institute a flat tax. Let's start there. Think how much money we'd save.

How's that for a socialist agenda? Moron. Go back to admiring your greasy hair in your hand-mirror.


RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Reclaimer77 on 4/20/2010 6:43:46 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
All I've been doing is explaining the law, and giving a 100% perfect analogy. Not paying taxes is the same thing as theft from the government.


Right. Which is why it's called "Tax evasion" and not "theft". But don't let pesky details get in the way of your stupid rant.

quote:
It's amazing that you think the fact that a law isn't enforced is the same as granting you the privelege to break it. Even more so that if a law exists but you don't know about it...apparently you think that means you get to break that law?


Let me give you a list of laws still on the books in North Carolina.

It’s against the law to sing off key.

Elephants may not be used to plow cotton fields.

While having sex, you must stay in the missionary position and have the shades pulled.

If a man and a woman who aren’t married go to a hotel/motel and register themselves as married then, according to state law, they are legally married.

Oral sex is considered a crime against nature.

A three dollar tax must be paid on all white goods sold.

Bingo games may not last over 5 hours unless it is held at a fair.

Persons in possession of illegal substances must pay taxes on them.

The mere possession of a lottery ticket is illegal in North Carolina and may result in a $2,000 fine. ( by the way, the state HAS a lottery !!! )


Now you were saying Moto ??? I guess your in favor of fining or arresting everyone who doesn't stay in the missionary style too !? But you like doggy? Well too bad, the law is the law punk !!

quote:
So if I didn't know it was illegal to douse cats in lighter fluid and set them on fire, it should be OK for me to do that?


That's called animal cruelty you idiot. And I think you damn well knew it was illegal, so does everyone else.

Once again you are comparing good decent people buying stuff online to thieves and animal torturers, and you can't see how off base you are with that ? 100% perfect analogies my ass.

quote:
Even more so that if a law exists but you don't know about it...apparently you think that means you get to break that law?


Maybe it could be clarified or something ? Nah, let's just go after everyone because our state is broke and they "stole" our money !!!!

We have millions of pages of laws in this country. Hell the tax code alone is what, tens of thousands of pages !?!? I guess you have read every single one, but most people don't and shouldn't have to.


RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Motoman on 4/20/2010 7:16:20 PM , Rating: 2
There's lots of dumb laws on the books, as you pointed out. I don't for a second agree with a single one of them - but they are laws. Because of that, if you break one, you committed a crime.

Newsflash: stupid or not, a law is a law. Not agreeing with the intent or letter of the law is not license to ignore it.

As far as I'm concerned, feel free to plow your cotton fields with elephants while singing off key. I personally don't care...but if an officer shows up and writes you a ticket, well, you did in fact break the law.

You're bending and twisting in the wind trying to come up with some way to justify not paying taxes that you owe. Keep on bending and twisting for all I care. You are wrong, and that is an unalterable fact.


RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Reclaimer77 on 4/20/10, Rating: -1
RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Motoman on 4/20/2010 7:31:38 PM , Rating: 2
You are so entertaining.

If the case that was noted proved that use tax laws were unconstitutional, the federal government would have forced every state in the union to get rid of them. Guess what? Those laws are on the books - including ND where that case was from.

And exactly where do you get the idea that you have the privilege of ignoring laws you don't like - whether they seem obviously stupid or not? Exactly where did you receive such education? I'd certainly like to know.

It is eminently clear that if anyone is ignorant, it is you. In fact, it's much worse than that - when presented with obviously true information, you just declare it to be false anyway and continue on your merry way. You're not just ignorant - you're stupid. Willfully so.

Ultimately, you're just a slightly more grammatically-correct Pirks or reader1. More eloquent, but just as retarded.


RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Reclaimer77 on 4/20/2010 7:37:45 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
If the case that was noted proved that use tax laws were unconstitutional, the federal government would have forced every state in the union to get rid of them.


Umm no, no they wouldn't. It doesn't work that way in the real world.

quote:
And exactly where do you get the idea that you have the privilege of ignoring laws you don't like - whether they seem obviously stupid or not? Exactly where did you receive such education? I'd certainly like to know.


It's called critical thinking. Something you clearly don't possess, robot.


RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Motoman on 4/20/2010 7:40:00 PM , Rating: 2
Seriously. You think that critical thinking skills will lead you to the conclusion that you don't have to abide by laws you don't agree with?

Really?

And yes, the federal government most certainly has the capability to force states to eliminate unconstitutional laws. You know, in the real world. Which I'm guessing you've never visited.


RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Motoman on 4/20/2010 8:02:19 PM , Rating: 2
Just in case you miss out on where I posted this link elsewhere, with a few seconds on Google I found a Supreme Court case from 1996 upholding use taxes.

http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=750341...

Ohs noes. Sorry to burst your little bubble.


RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By jjmcubed on 4/20/2010 11:17:36 PM , Rating: 2
So some laws are okay to ignore and some aren't? And what does this have to do with someones political beliefs?????


RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Ammohunt on 4/29/2010 3:26:25 PM , Rating: 2
Sure take a look at illegal immigration.


RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By AlexWade on 4/20/2010 6:22:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You do understand that it is, and always has been, illegal to purchase something out-of-state and then not report that purchase on your tax return, and pay the associated use tax...right?


The problem is, such laws are illegal and violate the US Constitution. The Constitution trumps all laws, federal and state. The US government regulates interstate commerce according to Article I, Section 8, Clause 3. Sales tax for items sold out-of-state and so-called "use taxes" violate this part of the Constitution. First, because Amazon.com does not have a presence in North Carolina, North Carolina law does not apply. Only federal law applies to things that happen between states. Second, because the transaction occurs between states, the home state may not charge tax on a purchase made outside that state. That is interstate commerce.

It comes down to this. State laws only apply within that state and cannot be applied between states, even for residents of that state. If I am in a state, I subject to the laws in that state but once I leave that state, those laws no longer apply to me. That makes businesses from another state exempt from paying taxes to a different state. And the commerce clause of the Constitution makes the federal government responsible for trade between states preventing tariffs between states. Purchasing an item from a business in another state is clearly a form of trading.

The Supreme Court has rules that this part of the Constitution does prevent use tax and sales tax. This was a 1992 decision, Quill Corporation v. North Dakota. According to the ruling:

quote:
As in a number of other cases involving the application of state taxing statutes to out of state sellers, our holding in Bellas Hess relied on both the Due Process Clause and the Commerce Clause. Although the "two claims are closely related," Bellas Hess, 386 U. S., at 756, the clauses pose distinct limits on the taxing powers of the States. Accordingly, while a State may, consistent with the Due Process Clause, have the authority to tax a particular taxpayer, imposition of the tax may nonetheless violate the Commerce Clause.

...

Indeed, even if we were convinced that Bellas Hess was inconsistent with our Commerce Clause jurisprudence, "this very fact [might] giv[e us] pause and counse[l] withholding our hand, at least for now. Congress has the power to protect interstate commerce from intolerable or even undesirable burdens.

http://supct.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/91-0194.ZO...

Just because a state passes a law does not mean that law is legal. The Supreme Court, in fact, rules such laws illegal.


RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Reclaimer77 on 4/20/2010 6:32:38 PM , Rating: 2
Hey MotoMoronMan, might wanna read this post by AlexWade.


RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Motoman on 4/20/2010 7:20:57 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, very clever - you just managed an alliteration. I'm sure your momma would be proud. If she could read.

The point is this - the use tax law is on the books. As a citizen, you are bound to abide by the laws on the books.

If you want to bring a case to court to protest that a law is unconstitutional, that is your right. So you go right on along and do that. I would, in fact, support you in such a quixotic quest. As would probably hundreds of millions of other people.

However, in the meantime, if you don't pay use taxes on your out of state purchases, you're still breaking that law. And you're still a criminal.

A law is a law up until such time as it's removed from the books. But, by all means, you just inform your state's revenue department that you're not going to pay them use tax because you believe it's unconstitutional - we'll see where that gets you. Oh, and bring plenty of lube to the big house with you - inmates love pretty boys with greasy hair.


RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Reclaimer77 on 4/20/2010 7:30:28 PM , Rating: 1
Moto you seem to think we live in a Monarchy where we petty simpleton citizens should be at the complete mercy of the ruling class and their every whim. And we have no recourse but to pay homage, lest our lives should be forfeit.

Take some American history you goddamn communist.


RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Motoman on 4/20/2010 7:32:39 PM , Rating: 3
It is quite apparent that I know vastly more about American history than you do.

...but no matter. Head back to your village - I'm sure they miss their idiot.


RE: Just A Matter Of Time
RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Motoman on 4/20/2010 7:48:29 PM , Rating: 2
Congratulations on not making a point.

Amazon isn't fighting the use tax. It's fighting the request for detailed customer transaction data.

The article points out that Amazon isn't required to collect state sales taxes, which is 100% correct. It is the duty of the consumer to pay the use tax.


RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By AlexWade on 4/20/2010 7:42:56 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
However, in the meantime, if you don't pay use taxes on your out of state purchases, you're still breaking that law. And you're still a criminal.


No, I am not according to the Supreme Court which states that use taxes and interstate sales tax is illegal in the above mentioned legal brief. The US Constitution says I am not breaking the law, which trumps state law.

I understand what you are saying. But the simple fact is the Supreme Court has already ruled such laws illegal in the above decision. You are under no obligation to obey a law ruled illegal.


RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Motoman on 4/20/2010 7:50:51 PM , Rating: 2
You run that past your state's AG and see what they have to say.

Go on...I'll wait.

The only legal thing you could do would be to pay the use taxes appropriately and keep a detailed accounting of them, and then bring a case to the state to have your use taxes refunded on the basis that the law is unconstitutional.

Not remitting use taxes in the first place breaks that law, and makes you a criminal. Paying them and asking for the state to refund them makes you a concerned citizen.

I categorically do not believe that the case you listed proved the use tax to be unconstitutional, or else ND would have removed it from the books.


RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Motoman on 4/20/2010 8:00:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=750341...


There you go. 20 seconds on Google found a 1996 Supreme Court case that upheld use taxes as not being unconstitutional, so long as the use tax is roughly in-line with intrastate sales taxes. Which is to say, a use tax of 8% when sales taxes are also 8%, or maybe 7%, is fine...but you can't make a use tax of 20%.

I would imagine you could bounce around for days finding multiple cases that appear to go on either side of this. Which is not something I care to do. However, it is clear that the case you cited is not definitive on this issue.

...and use taxes are on the books, and I'd advise you that you do not have the right to ignore them.


RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By AlexWade on 4/20/2010 9:17:44 PM , Rating: 3
Okay, obviously, I'm no lawyer. Having said that, I'll continue this argument.

Read the introduction of the brief please.
quote:
In this case we decide whether North Carolina's "intangibles tax" on a fraction of the value of corporate stock owned by North Carolina residents inversely proportional to the corporation's exposure to the State's income tax violates the Commerce Clause. We hold that it does.


This ruling is about taxing stocks and not about goods and services. It is not a ruling on a use tax, unlike the other ruling. Reading through tidbits of the brief, it seems to favor less confusing taxes. I didn't read it all, I just searched for "use tax" in the brief and read the surrounding paragraphs. So I may have missed it; please show me where in the brief in makes a ruling on where the use tax for interstate commerce is legal.

I did find this in the ruling:

quote:
But because North Carolina has no general sovereign interest in taxing income earned out of state, Maryland v. Louisiana teaches that the Secretary must identify some in-state activity or benefit in order to justify the compensatory levy. Indeed, we have repeatedly held that "no state tax may be sustained unless the tax . . . has a substantial nexus with the State . . . [and] is fairly related to the services provided by the State."

The Secretary's theory is that one of the services provided by the State, and supported through its general corporate income tax, is the maintenance of a capital market for corporations wishing to sell stock to North Carolina residents. Since those corporations escape North Carolina's income tax to the extent those corporations do business in other States, the Secretary says, the State may require those companies to pay for the privilege of access to the State's capital markets by a tax on the value of the shares sold. So, the Secretary concludes, the intangibles tax "rests squarely on `the settled principle that interstate commerce may be made to pay its way.' "

The argument is unconvincing, and we rejected a counterpart of it in Oregon Waste, where we held that Oregon could not charge an increased fee for disposal of waste generated out of state on the theory that in-state waste generators supported the cost of waste disposal facilities through general income taxes.


I also found this, which may be what your point is based on:

quote:
The statute exempted the use of any article that had already been subjected to a sales tax equal to the use tax or greater, so that the use tax effectively applied only to goods purchased out of state. Although the use tax was itself facially discriminatory, we held that the combined effect of the sales and use taxes was to subject intrastate and interstate commerce to equivalent burdens. "`There is no demand in. . . [the] Constitution that the State shall put its requirements in any one statute,' " we said; rather, "`[i]t may distribute them as it sees fit, if the result, taken in its totality, is within the State's constitutional power.' "


RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Motoman on 4/20/2010 10:04:03 PM , Rating: 1
Yes, the third bit there specifies that although a use tax may be "facially" discriminitory, which basically means at first glance it looks like it might be bad, it's combined effect with intrastate sales taxes means that both in-state and out-of-state transactions are burdened similarly. Therefore, not unconstitutional.

The case made many determinations - one of which was on the appropriateness of a use tax.


RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Motoman on 4/20/2010 10:17:39 PM , Rating: 1
Another interesting bit from 2007 that illustrates the "similarity" clause:

http://www.taxfoundation.org/blog/show/22564.html

The USVI have no sales tax, but they were charging a 4% use tax on all products brought in from elsewhere. THAT doesn't fly...you're being discriminatory against the out-of-state (er, territory) purchases. It also cites a precedent from way back in 1937 when the use tax was upheld, stipulating also what I have heard referred to as "reciprocity."

I have seen this in action many times myself - for example, when I purchased a motorcycle in IL and brought it home to MN - when I went to register it, I had to pay the difference in tax between IL and MN to MN.

I can find no actual legal proceedings that declare use taxes to be unconstitutional - only many such documents, article, reports, etc. that discuss use taxes without ever suggesting that they are unconstitutional.

Even around the Amazon thing, no one is even suggesting that there's anything amiss about use taxes. No one (well, other than you and reclaimer). The kerfuffle is about the state demanding detailed consumer transaction information. Nobody is suggesting that use taxes aren't owed.


RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By tmouse on 4/21/2010 8:52:13 AM , Rating: 2
I do not see why others are having difficulty with your positions. There has NEVER been a high court decision declaring use taxes unconstitutional. The points that have been made are whether the tax is being used to unfairly benefit intrastate sales over interstate sales in effect usurping the federal governments powers to regulate these sales. In essence requiring a seller to collect use taxes is making them pay the tax to another state where they have no presence and no recourse to effect the laws. The buyers DO have recourse and representation and are responsible for the tax. The USIV case created an environment that discriminated against outside commerce. In the other cases for the buyer it makes no difference if they pay a sales tax within the state or a use tax or some partial use tax if the sellers state has already collected some of the taxes for the buyers state because of a reciprocal tax agreement. There is no discrimination between interstate or intrastate commerce. As long as the use tax meets the requirements of the states constitution and does not actively breech any protected rights reserved by the federal constitution (like a tax on race)it's perfectly legal. As a matter of fact it could be a constitutional breech if the federal government made restrictions on any single state's laws that are not applied equally across all states. So they cannot strike down one states use tax (provided it does not effect rights I mentioned above) and ignore the others.


RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Motoman on 4/21/2010 11:24:54 AM , Rating: 2
Yes.

It's quite telling that the only 2 people in the world, as far as I can tell, who are asserting that use taxes are unconstitutional are Alex and reclaimer.

...at least Alex does it without the douchebaggery that always comes with reclaimer.

If there was the slightest validity to the concept that use taxes were unconsitutional, that point would be getting made in EVERY article about the Amazon thing going on right now.

...the concept is mentioned in none of them.

So, we can either believe 2 guys on an internet forum, or we can believe every news source in the world. Hmmm...


RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By tmouse on 4/21/2010 8:10:05 AM , Rating: 2
You are misinterpreting the decision. It does NOT say the use tax is unconstitutional. It says one state cannot force a SELLER in another state who has no presence in the receivers state to COLLECT the tax. It does not in fact address the buyers tax obligations at all. Quill corp.'s position was that they cannot legally collect sales tax for a state from another state and are not required to COLLECT a use tax, that would in fact be allowing one state to enforce its laws on a citizen under a separate jurisdiction and the court agreed with that interpretation (for now; they did say congress could change this). Now there are multiple decisions upholding the rights of states to collect taxes within their own jurisdictions. Use taxes are perfectly legal (I do not like them), they can only be imposed on items used within the state so for example if I buy a car in Delaware which has no state sales tax and keep it there I have no obligation to pay New York's use tax, BUT if I bring it to New York then I have to. Since a seller cannot determine where an item is going to be used it cannot enforce collection of a use tax. In the case of the Quill corp. its customers should be paying the use tax but Quill does not have to collect it. Now on topic it is not clear if Amazon could be compelled to supply purchase information to other states so they could enforce the laws on their citizens. My guess is it will be upheld at some point or congress will amend the interstate commerce laws to authorize it (not detailed information but taxable totals). Sales taxes are the only major alternative to property taxes to fund things like schools. Currently property values are in the dumpster and a second wave of devaluation is right around the corner. Sale taxes are also down , due in no small part to internet sales. Congress has held off allowing internet sale taxes to not cripple what was then a emerging industry. That time has passed (whether we like it or not). Its either increase property taxes (which is becoming near impossible in some areas), cut back in education, and other basic services or generate more sales tax revenue. Not sure how its going to be done, its either require sellers to supply individual's sale totals to the states so they can use their use tax authority, or some form of federal tax with the sellers reporting state totals so they get some share from the federal government. I do not like the idea of any of this but you cannot get something for nothing and nothing is certain except death and taxes.


RE: Just A Matter Of Time
By Motoman on 4/20/2010 7:26:33 PM , Rating: 1
Let's test that theory.

quote:
http://www.nd.gov/tax/salesanduse/


Huh. Well what do you know, the state of North Dakota seems to have the same use tax on the books as every other state I've ever seen.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that the case you mentioned did not, in fact, invalidate the ND law. Hence, it's still on the books.

If the case you noted did, in fact, prove that use taxes were unconstitutional, the federal government would have forced every state in the union to purge such laws from their books. Kinda doesn't look that way though.


Bend over!!
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 4/20/2010 11:49:22 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
state's demand for records of virtually every North Carolina resident who has purchased anything from Amazon since 2003


As an NC resident, first I get taxed on my iTunes downloads and now this? It will be a sad day if NC wins :(




RE: Bend over!!
By Murloc on 4/20/2010 12:10:40 PM , Rating: 2
lol I can't believe this is true.
Americans are totally crazy.


RE: Bend over!!
By Goty on 4/20/2010 12:29:19 PM , Rating: 1
Three words: Value Added Tax.


RE: Bend over!!
By gamerk2 on 4/20/2010 1:59:27 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed. Put an exemption on food/cloathing, and a refund on the Income Tax if your income falls below a certain threashold. A VAT will earn some money from the coorporate side of things, and is near impossible to dodge. A sales tax is a true progressive tax, as it affects big spenders more then anyone else.


RE: Bend over!!
By Spuke on 4/20/2010 2:11:09 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
A sales tax is a true progressive tax, as it affects big spenders more then anyone else.
I have no problem with this actually. It's like taxing gas, the more you use, the more you get taxed. If you spend less, you get taxed less. California has been in a continuous battle to get Amazon to charge CA residents sales tax.


RE: Bend over!!
By bigboxes on 4/20/2010 4:54:10 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, a sales tax is not a progressive tax. It's a regressive tax. Although everyone is charged the same rate, it affects the poor disportionately in relation to their income. That is, it's not fair. Now, I realize that "flat taxers" don't like progressive tax rates, but for most people it's a benefit.


RE: Bend over!!
By Goty on 4/20/2010 10:55:41 PM , Rating: 2
This is why any serious flat tax proposal gives larger exemptions on necessities to those with lower income (see the fair tax).


RE: Bend over!!
By Spuke on 4/20/2010 2:03:45 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Three words: Value Added Tax.
Three more words: Fuck That Shit.


RE: Bend over!!
By Goty on 4/20/2010 10:54:18 PM , Rating: 2
I would like to clarify my statement by saying it's hard for anyone to call us crazy when something like VAT exists elsewhere. I am in no way in favor of something like this.


Would it even work?
By Skivvywaiver on 4/20/2010 12:31:23 PM , Rating: 2
So even if Amazon has to turn over their records how long would it take the state to sift thorugh all that? How much would that cost And since taxes are tracked by SSN - and Amazon doesn't have that information - how would the state link that information? By address shipped to? How many have moved? How many could just say - "It wasn't me." and the state couldn't prove it was with out the ssn?
Waist of taxpayers dollars to even try this.




RE: Would it even work?
By epsilonparadox on 4/20/2010 12:51:11 PM , Rating: 2
Amazon may not have your SSN but the credit card companies or banks will have the info.


RE: Would it even work?
By Kurz on 4/20/2010 1:50:02 PM , Rating: 2
Last time I checked they don't give that out.


RE: Would it even work?
By Spuke on 4/20/2010 2:13:52 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Amazon may not have your SSN but the credit card companies or banks will have the info.
Then they would have the sue the banks to get that info too. Sounds like a long, expensive process.


RE: Would it even work?
By soloman02 on 4/20/2010 4:04:12 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Then they would have the sue the banks to get that info too. Sounds like a long, expensive process.


You think the government cares about it being expensive? Its not their money they are spending, its YOUR tax dollars. Many state governments and the Feds think the citizens are a bottomless ATM machine.


RE: Would it even work?
By Camikazi on 4/20/2010 9:58:58 PM , Rating: 2
Ha spend citizen money to sue banks to get info so they can tax the people, we get to pay twice :P


They're not choir boys...
By SublimeSimplicity on 4/20/2010 11:59:33 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
While many in the public have complained about excessive taxation on the federal level, it is actually the states that have been pushing the most for bigger taxes of late. The federal government has made some mild efforts to fight taxation of the internet.


Let's not paint the Federal government to be choir boys here... it's their unfunded mandates on the states, that are forcing the states to find more tax revenue, from anywhere.




RE: They're not choir boys...
By sjlee33 on 4/20/2010 12:17:36 PM , Rating: 2
out of curiosity what unfunded mandates are you referring to? i see and hear a lot of people complaining about stuff that the government does and in most cases they are repeating something some pundits said while they really don't understand the policies that they are railing against.

in the case of NC particularly since they get more federal dollars than their citizens and corporations pay in taxes to the tune of $7 billion, I wonder where the real issue is.


RE: They're not choir boys...
By OUits on 4/20/2010 1:38:34 PM , Rating: 2
I think its more about state governments having to play by different rules than the federal government, not necessarily "unfunded mandates".

For example, states have to balance their budgets.

The federal government can invent money to spend.


RE: They're not choir boys...
By gamerk2 on 4/20/10, Rating: 0
RE: They're not choir boys...
By soloman02 on 4/20/2010 4:29:07 PM , Rating: 2
So its a good thing that the feds can "invent money?" Germany tried that in the 1920's. People had wheel barrels full of money to buy basic items. Being able to "invent" more money IS the problem.

From 1800 until 1902 we experienced an overall trend of deflation. From 1903 until present day we have only experienced inflation. What cost $1 in 1902 now would cost about $25. The reason the penny, the nickel, and the dime, and the quarter were invented was because they actually could be used to buy stuff. Now the penny, nickel and dime are basically useless.


First step
By esoteric01 on 4/20/2010 6:08:07 PM , Rating: 2
Wouldn't a reasonable first step be to try educating people that these taxes do exist and maybe adding a line to the state tax form asking how much you spent on internet purchases? Why do these states need to jump right to strong arming e-tailers for records and invading our privacy?




RE: First step
By zxern on 4/21/2010 1:25:41 AM , Rating: 2
Having processed tax forms for various states in the past, I can tell you a surprising number of people have difficulty telling the difference between first name and last name fields. I guarantee these people have no idea what a use tax is.


RE: First step
By wempa on 4/21/2010 2:24:03 PM , Rating: 2
I would be OK with them taxing internet purchases as long as the SELLING state gets the extra money. That would be an incentive for a state to have more online retailers and, thus, more overall competition rather than an incentive to just have more people within your state.


RE: First step
By Moishe on 4/22/2010 3:52:36 PM , Rating: 2
This is exactly what happens.

Option #1
how much did you spend, then apply this calculation
Option #2
If you don't know how much you spent, use this table to calculate your tax. (The table is based on your income.)


Stupid NC
By MeatballB on 4/20/2010 1:19:34 PM , Rating: 2
I live in NC and let me tell you, these boobs running the state and local governments are idiots. Right now they're scrambling to find any/all types of money because they overspent/budgeted during the good times and didn't put any money away for when things went bad. Now things are bad and the state/local governments have run out of money.

NC is already 'delaying' sending out tax rebates because they want to hold onto the money longer and squeek out a few more pennies in interest, or for all we know they may not even have it. I think if I ever owe them money I'll tell them I'm 'delaying' payment for a few months and see what happens.

Regardless, if this passes I will vote against every incumbent in state offices next election.




RE: Stupid NC
By AntiM on 4/20/2010 3:17:04 PM , Rating: 2
I live in NC and I agree. I wouldn't be at all surprised if 50% of the tax money we pay to the state disappears through waste, fraud, abuse, and corruption. I could easily balance the state budget in 2 years. First, a 15% pay cut to ALL state employees; that includes the Governor's position. If you don't like it, find another job. I had to take a 50% cut in pay when I lost my job when I had to take lesser paying one.
Also, the NC tax form is a mind boggling exercise in stupidity.
Message to Governor Perdue,.. if you want to balance the state budget without having to resort to these petty tactics, come talk to me.


RE: Stupid NC
By fic2 on 4/20/2010 7:33:50 PM , Rating: 2
I live in Colorado. In 1992 we passed an amendment called the TABOR amendment. Basically says that the state gov't can't grow faster than inflation + population growth. The politicians have been trying to dismantle it ever since.

The last few years they have talked about being able to create a "rainy day fund" - basically an emergency fund to tied the state over in lean years. My guess is that everyday would become a "rainy" day and the politicians would not be able to keep their grubby little hands off of it.


RE: Stupid NC
By Moishe on 4/22/2010 3:44:20 PM , Rating: 1
I'm with you.

They have two options. Either get your receipts and calculate it based on what you spent, OR if you don't have receipts or don't remember, then use another calculation which is based on your income.

I live here in NC, and every year I do a tally in my head of what I bought online and I do the calculation on the state income tax form. I follow the instructions and am honest about it.

The NC government overspends ever. single. year. Then they come whining to us and claim that we're cheating them. They're douche-bags and their first instinct is not to cut spending like every sane household does, their first instinct is to bitch and moan about reduced income and then try to fleece the citizens for more money.

I see it every year, and I'm sick of it.

The government has no business getting a record of what I buy. Period.


I had no idea
By sjlee33 on 4/20/2010 12:01:59 PM , Rating: 2
Is this the case in every state that you're supposed to itemize all of your out of state purchases for the purposes of paying sales tax?




RE: I had no idea
By JasonMick (blog) on 4/20/2010 12:05:49 PM , Rating: 2
Pretty much yes. if you didnt pay sales tax on it at the time (which is true in every state I believe), you're supposed to pay it when you file your tax paperwork. However, I would speculate less than 1 percent of taxpayers actually do.

Penalties vary from state to state, as do efforts to collect sales records (like this case), which would reveal your unpaid tax debt.


Geez
By krotchy on 4/20/2010 1:30:25 PM , Rating: 4
I hate being the "grammar police" but STEEL is a type of metal.




Use Tax Legality
By VTTony on 4/20/2010 12:01:06 PM , Rating: 1
If NC does actually win this, could someone audited for these back taxes challenge the legality of use taxes? Have use taxes been challenged in other states?




RE: Use Tax Legality
By otbricki on 4/20/2010 1:28:33 PM , Rating: 2
Use taxes were challenged and found constitutional way back in 1937.

The basic rule is that so long as the tax rate is no higher than the sales tax rate they are allowed.


Transit centre
By drycrust3 on 4/20/2010 1:51:50 PM , Rating: 2
Not being a US citizen I'm a bit confused about this, but as I see it, a simple solution would be for Amazon to set up a transit centre in that state, and have all despatches to that state go through it. When the packages arrive, they get sales tax added, which you pay for upon receipt of the goods.
Or else some retail chain handles the packages and collects the tax when the goods are picked up.
Yeah, I know, too difficult.




RE: Transit centre
By TOAOCyrus on 4/20/2010 2:09:05 PM , Rating: 1
If amazon had a physical presence in that state then they would just add the tax onto the original purchase price like normal sales tax. They already do this in states where they have shipping centers. Of course this isnt a solution to the problem because you cant expect every e-tailer to build a wharehouse in every state. Use taxes are impossible to enforce on regular consumers so states are just going to have to find other revenue streams other then sales tax. Getting records from e-tailers will just cause a huge clusterfuck and will be more trouble then its worth.


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