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  (Source: wired.com)
Walmart, Best Buy, Sears Holdings Corp., Home Depot and Target are coming together to try to force Amazon to collect sales taxes

Amazon has been under a lot of tax-related pressure from stores that see the online retailer as an unfair competitor; and as the recession wears on, store chains are pushing harder than ever.  

Amazon has faced some problems with states and retailers who have urged the online retail giant to collect sales taxes on goods sold through the site. But Amazon has held its ground, fighting those who have tried to force the online retail giant to place sales taxes on its items. For instance, Amazon teamed up with the American Civil Liberties Union in a legal battle against the North Carolina Department of Revenue in order to protect customer information, which was being requested by the N.C. Department of Revenue in order to collect sales use taxes that amounted to about $50 million.

In a separate dispute, Texas Comptroller Susan Combs charged Amazon $269 million in uncollected online sales taxes in the state, which prompted Amazon to close a suburban Dallas distribution center as well as cancel plans to expand operations in Texas. 

Now, some of America's largest retailers are hot on Amazon's trail. Stores like Walmart, Best Buy, Sears Holdings Corp., Home Depot and Target are coming together to try to force Amazon to collect sales taxes by supporting the Alliance for Main Street Fairness, which fights to change sales-tax laws. This alliance is a Virginia-based group that normally works with "mom-and-pop" stores, which see Internet retailers as unfair competition. But now, the Alliance for Main Street Fairness is joining forces with some of the largest store chains in the country in the battle against Amazon. 

"It's fair to say that both large and small businesses are active [in the campaign]," said Danny Diaz, spokesman for the Alliance for Main Street Fairness.

According to recent reports, the store chains are targeting Amazon more than ever right now due to budget shortfalls and the recession's effect on how consumers shop. Politicians have been looking to increase revenue without boosting taxes, and collecting from online retailers seems like an easy answer. For instance, California is facing a $26.6 billion shortfall where only 1 percent of use tax is paid on online purchases through tax forms and $1.1 billion is uncollected.  

"We're seeing an increased urgency from states trying to make up for lost revenue," said Laura Bishop, senior director of government relations for Best Buy. 

Amazon has responded by stating that it has followed the law all along. According to a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the only merchants who have to collect sales taxes are those who have a physical presence in the state. At the moment, Amazon only has to collect taxes in Kansas, Kentucky, New York, North Dakota and Washington, and it complies. 

Despite this ruling, store chains pressed on and backed the passage of a new law in Illinois that would make Amazon collect sales taxes if it employed marketing affiliates within the state. The law was signed last week by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, and in response, Amazon dropped 9,000 Illinois affiliates in order to avoid collecting taxes. 

"These new tax laws affecting affiliates are supported by the large national retailing chains that covet the affiliate advertising programs of their competitors," said Paul Misener, vice president of public policy for Amazon. 

Stores like Walmart and Sears have even offered to work with Amazon affiliates, which are websites like blogs that direct online traffic to Amazon's website and make commission by doing so. In addition to directly addressing affiliates, store chains and states plan to pressure Amazon by pushing for legislation that clearly states that sales taxes must be collected if it "controls in-state warehouses through related companies." Texas and Arkansas are just two of the states pushing for laws like this. 

"The rules today don't allow brick-and-mortar retailers to compete evenly with online retailers, and that needs to be addressed," said Raul Vazquez, executive vice president of global e-commerce for Walmart.



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...not about the tax.
By Motoman on 3/21/2011 10:28:25 AM , Rating: 5
Two main points:

1. As I have pointed out numerous times, as have others, USE TAX is not a new idea...it has been around forever, inasmuch as it pertains to the issue of levying sales tax against internet purchases. The problem categorically is not that there isn't a legal remedy for states getting the taxes for online purchases - the problem is that citizens, almost to a person, never report/pay use taxes. And the states don't know how to enforce them. To be honest, a good chunk (if not the majority) of US citizens have no idea the use tax even exists. The solution is not more laws. The solution is enforcing laws already on the books.

2. People don't shop online because there's "no tax." They shop online because:
a. It's infinitely more convenient than going to the mall (or whatever)
b. Online prices are *much* cheaper than what you'll find at a B&M - with or without tax
c. The variety of product available online is exhaustive - a given B&M store is going to have a small subset of that variety
d. Product reviews are available online to refer to while shopping - no such thing exists at a B&M store
e. Perhaps ironically, an online store knows you much better than a large chain B&M store. If you buy $10,000 a year worth of stuff from, say, Newegg.com, their customer service people have that information at their fingertips when you call in for assistance - and they can see you're a loyal customer worthy of some good support. BBY, for example, doesn't know anything about you or your loyalty to their chain...and to be honest, they probably don't care.
f. Price and availability comparison between multiple online stores is close to instantaneous, and effortless. Trying to compare price/availability between B&M stores might take you all day.

...and I could go on - in my experience returns and exchanges are vastly more of a hassle at a B&M than they should be, whereas it's very rare to have an issue with an online vendor. Recently, Newegg even reimbursed me for the cost of UPS shipping to RMA something to them because they forgot to email me a shipping label. Online vendors don't insist on checking your receipt at the door ( :p ). And maybe some people like being incessantly harassed by store clerks offering their "assistance", but I don't know who any of them are. Etc. etc.

Anyway, in summary, the issue of use tax has already been legally addressed, and the states just have to get off their lazy asses and enforce it if they want those tax revenues - and the B&M stores pointing their finger at the lack of sales tax on online purchases being the reason why they can't compete with online vendors is, at the very best, ridiculously naive. Willful ignorance and outright denial are strong contenders.




RE: ...not about the tax.
By RedemptionAD on 3/21/11, Rating: -1
RE: ...not about the tax.
By Motoman on 3/21/2011 11:10:57 AM , Rating: 5
That's not a use tax then - it's a sales tax, which currently is illegal based on the federal laws regulating interstate commerce.

Also, the consumer is already legally on the hook for that tax - the problem isn't online vendors not collecting a tax (that by law they shouldn't be anyway), it's that citizens are breaking the law. And the states aren't enforcing that law. So everyone does it, and everyone gets away with it.

Finally, you clearly have no idea what the implication is of your "simple" little "solution" there. Taxes vary not just by state...but by county and city too. So do the laws about how often you have to send in payments, where they go, etc.

The complexity of attempting to process taxes for all states and municipalities would be extremely onerous...while big online shops like Amazon could put the resources together to do it, there's an awful lot of family-run and otherwise small online vendors who would basically just be forced out of business because there'd be no possible way they could even attempt to comply with all those myraid tax laws. The net effect of just declaring that all online sales must collect and submit all applicable state and local taxes would not be simply more tax revenue for the states...it would wipe out the online marketplace and effectively legislate the most violent market consolidation any market has ever seen - we'd wind up with a handful of very large online vendors, and no one else. And the online market would be a non-starter for any small business trying to get things going...the internet would effectively be over from a retail standpoint.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By theapparition on 3/21/11, Rating: -1
RE: ...not about the tax.
By Motoman on 3/21/2011 11:27:43 AM , Rating: 4
No.

Reckon you want to try to figure out how to comply with what probably amounts to a million different tax codes on your own, as a personal small business?

Good luck.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By theapparition on 3/21/11, Rating: 0
RE: ...not about the tax.
By Motoman on 3/21/2011 12:48:22 PM , Rating: 2
...what makes you think that an online retailer, granted that some massive new legislation was passed requiring them to collect sales taxes, would not have to collect county and city taxes?

Because ultimately, what you're asking for is not longer a use tax. It's a sales tax. Use tax law would no longer apply - and in fact, existing use tax laws could probably just go away at that point. What you're asking for is a sales tax conformation by online vendors - and that is vastly more complicated than use tax.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By Solandri on 3/21/2011 4:36:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Reckon you want to try to figure out how to comply with what probably amounts to a million different tax codes on your own, as a personal small business?

It's not a million. That would imply a different tax rate for every 200 adults in the U.S. I doubt there are more than about 10,000 different tax codes. There are already address-based tax databases you can buy so you can charge a customer their proper tax rate.

The problem is maintaining and updating those databases. Every city and county feels it's their God-given right to tweak their tax rates whenever they feel like it. So a company putting together and updating a tax database has to keep an eye on the laws passed in every single state, county, and city/town in the U.S.. It's such a hit and miss job that those database companies will only sell their product with a liability waiver saying that they're not responsible for any errors. That means the merchant doing the sales ends up taking all the risk for any errors. If a tax rate goes up and the database misses it, the merchant is on the hook for the extra tax. Not the customers, not the database company which should actually be receiving the pressure to keep their database up to date, not the municipal government, but the merchant.

That's why nearly all mail-order/internet merchants oppose recipient address-based taxes. The Federal government really needs to step in here and decide one way or another how things should work. There are millions if not billions of dollars being wasted on legal fees by non-Federal governments and merchants wrestling over this because the Feds don't want to get involved. Either just outright ban all taxes (sales or use) on interstate commerce, or set up some sort of national sales tax system (not necessarily a national sales tax) so merchants can go to one government source to get the proper tax rate info. The municipal governments should be legally required to submit changes to their tax rates to that government source if they want to collect tax from out-of-state merchants. That way if the penalty for an error falls upon the entity which caused the error. If the municipal government failed to submit their new tax rate, they don't get the tax revenue. If the merchant failed to update their tax database, they're on the hook for the extra tax.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By Lerianis on 3/21/2011 11:24:35 PM , Rating: 3
Really, this is one time where the federal government needs to step in, say that this stuff is interstate commerce (the bits ping around the world today in most cases) and put in a national sales tax of X%.

5% seems about right to me on most things, food excepted from this sales tax.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By Nutzo on 3/21/2011 12:28:27 PM , Rating: 3
Not really.
Even people selling stuff on Ebay would have to figure out the tax rate to the buyer, and then figure out where to send the tax and even apply for a seller license and tax ID in many states.

I doubt many of these states tax offices could even handle the load, if every little company selling stuff over the internet started collecting and paying sales tax.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By mcnabney on 3/21/2011 1:54:04 PM , Rating: 2
Wouldn't it be amazing if, perhaps, a company could provide correct and up-to-date tax information and make it available online. Do you think the Internet is up to it?


RE: ...not about the tax.
By rcc on 3/21/2011 2:07:14 PM , Rating: 2
A simple 2 field (ok, 6 or 7 if you want it all broken out) database. Zip code and tax numbers. Tell the states and localities that they are now responsible for keeping their zipcode's info up to date. Mirror it as appropriate and necessary. Put the hooks in the shopping cart software.

Done deal. And if the vendor's Internet access is down they have much bigger problems to cope with. : )

As a technical issue, this one is not complicated. On the legal side, however, .........


RE: ...not about the tax.
By Solandri on 3/21/2011 4:46:44 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Wouldn't it be amazing if, perhaps, a company could provide correct and up-to-date tax information and make it available online. Do you think the Internet is up to it?

A company can't do it. If they do, they'll refuse to be liable for any errors. That leaves merchants in the position of hoping that the "up-to-date" tax information is really up-to-date. If it turns out to be wrong, guess who pays? Not the company that made the error, not the government who passed the new tax rate, not the customer who probably knew what his local tax rate was, but the merchant. The person in this chain who is least able to insure the tax table is correct ends up being liable for errors in the tax table.

If it's done, it has to be the Federal government which does it. All state and local governments should be required to submit their sales tax info to a Federal government site, which then puts out an official sales tax table that merchants can use, and which indemnifies the merchant against liability for any errors in that table.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By rcc on 3/21/2011 1:59:38 PM , Rating: 2
Methinks you over state the problem somewhatly.

Bottom line, if it became a requirement, all of the shopping cart programs would incorporate the capability. Yes, it would cost money, yes it's a pain in the ass, but it could be done.

Which really just leaves the interstate commerce issues.

I understand the joy and benefits of buying tax free online, and on one hand would hate to see it go away. However, both competition, and State revenue both suffer considerably.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By ekv on 3/21/2011 3:51:06 PM , Rating: 2
I'm leery of opening the door to ever greater government intervention. The tax code started off simple. Look at it now.

If it were possible I wouldn't mind imperial-rule declaring new computers for the entirety of the IRS and all state tax boards: abacuses (aka abici).
quote:
However, both competition, and State revenue both suffer considerably.
Depends on how you look at it. If it is competition you want -- which tends to lower prices for consumers -- then why are not States lowering their tax rates to compete for business? And I'm assuming any given State wants business entities, despite the trendiness of bashing corporate America. You want business, lower your taxes and reduce onerous regulation. Businesses will find you.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By kjboughton on 3/21/2011 11:18:32 AM , Rating: 5
Perhaps an education in the U.S. Constitution will help you understand the idiocy of your suggestion:

The Constitution of the United States, Article 1, Section 10 (Powers Forbidden to the States), Paragraph 2:

"No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing its inspection Laws:[...]"

So, States are forbidden from collecting a tax on goods imported for use by its Citizens. No State presence, no State sales Tax.

Did I make this simple enough for you to understand?


RE: ...not about the tax.
By FITCamaro on 3/21/2011 12:14:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
without the Consent of the Congress


Did you miss this part? They are not forbidden. Congress just has to allow them to.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By kjboughton on 3/21/2011 12:21:05 PM , Rating: 4
Great, now cite the Bill passed by the House and Senate, signed by the President, that allows for this, in the case of California.

What's that? You can't find it? Weird. Must be some mistake. The paperwork must have gotten lost in some shuffle. No matter...


RE: ...not about the tax.
By vol7ron on 3/21/2011 12:27:05 PM , Rating: 1
I believe it's with a certain individual's birth certificate


RE: ...not about the tax.
By DigitalFreak on 3/21/11, Rating: -1
RE: ...not about the tax.
By kjboughton on 3/21/2011 1:19:01 PM , Rating: 4
Please, elaborate.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By vol7ron on 3/23/2011 10:17:42 PM , Rating: 2
It's people that don't have an argument that make me laugh. I wonder how often DigitalFreak starts talking to someone and that person starts laughing for no apparent reason - I know the reason.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By rcc on 3/21/2011 2:09:33 PM , Rating: 4
As if this President and Congress has any trouble tweaking things if someone convinces them it's in their best interest??


RE: ...not about the tax.
By FITCamaro on 3/21/2011 3:40:59 PM , Rating: 3
I did not say that such an exemption exists. I said that it is possible. Your statement was that it could never happen. That is false.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By kjboughton on 3/21/2011 11:22:13 AM , Rating: 5
And people absolutely DO shop online because there is no tax. I'm one of them.

I buy just about everything on Amazon now, using my Amazon Prime membership. No sales taxes saves me an additional 9.25% off everything I would have otherwise had to buy in California.

Cheaper than retail + no sales tax + free 2-day shipping = Win


RE: ...not about the tax.
By Motoman on 3/21/11, Rating: -1
RE: ...not about the tax.
By kjboughton on 3/21/2011 11:30:00 AM , Rating: 1
Your destructive idea was and is unconstitutional. You lost the argument and showed us all how unformed you really are. Get over it.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By Motoman on 3/21/2011 11:35:43 AM , Rating: 2
Umm...what?

Let's see about being uninformed:

http://www.boe.ca.gov/pdf/pub79b.pdf - CA use tax law. You owe taxes on all online purchases to the state of CA. Always have.

http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conl... - on the topic of how the interstate commerce regulations prohibit the collection of sales tax from out-of-state purchases.

Now just exactly how have I presented any "destructive idea" that is unconstitutional? What argument did I present, and how have I demonstrated any measure of being uninformed?

You got a lot of 'splainin' to do.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By kjboughton on 3/21/2011 11:54:26 AM , Rating: 5
So what, you've cited unlawful "law." Thank you for proving my point. Here's the proper reference: http://www.usconstitution.net/xconst_A1Sec10.html

State law does not trump the U.S. Constitution. You can argue all you want for an illegal tax, like the CA State Use Tax, but it doesn't change the fact that States are explicitly prohibited from charging Import Tax without the Consent of the Congress.

You've been duped. In this instance, CA's demand for a Use Tax on imported goods is effectively the same as an Import Tax, the difference being remittance directly to the state at tax time rather than at time of sale.

Stop blindly accepting what you're told with regard to the law; it will lead to no good. I'm reluctant to call your actions noble in heart; however, don't tell me I must pay money "due" the State when the Constitution forbids it otherwise.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By Motoman on 3/21/11, Rating: 0
RE: ...not about the tax.
By Gzus666 on 3/21/2011 12:14:31 PM , Rating: 2
Oh I see, you are one of those people...who use logical fallacies when you lose an argument.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By Motoman on 3/21/2011 12:18:09 PM , Rating: 2
...which logical fallacy would that be?

And do you really believe that use tax laws are illegal? Granted that every state in the union has them...and has had them...for decades? And not a single one has been overturned in any court, state or federal?

And you accuse me of a "logical fallacy!" You need some serious help. And a new tinfoil hat.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By kjboughton on 3/21/2011 1:17:24 PM , Rating: 5
We're not talking about the Use Tax. We're discussing the constitutionality of charging a Sales Tax on out of state purchases, effectively an Import Tax, which is disallowed at the State level.

And as if it mattered, your sole argument for the use of a Use Tax is essentially: "That's the way we've always done it, so it must be right!"

Wrong. Do you REALLY want to open that can of worms? There's plenty in the law, as it stands today, this is in DIRECT VIOLATION of the U.S. Constitution. The problem we are facing is that those in positions of power refuse to uphold their Oath of Office and support and defend the Supreme Law of the Land.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By Motoman on 3/21/2011 1:41:01 PM , Rating: 2
...so you're going to take that idea to court when, exactly?

You're wrong unless you can get that proven in a court of law. Or direct me to an example of where someone else has gotten a state use tax law declared to be illegal.

...and yes, we are talking about the Use Tax. Imposition of a sales tax, that online retailers would have to collect and remit to states/municipalities is a different issue that is, currently, not something that states can legally do.

Your constant assertion that the use tax is in "DIRECT VIOLATION" of the US constitution doesn't prove anything. A court ruling that forced a state to strike down it's own use law would. But you don't have any such proof. The fact of the matter is that the Supreme Law of the Land has upheld and allows to exist the states' rights to levy and collect use taxes. Period. Discussion over, unless you actually provide some proof.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By kjboughton on 3/21/2011 1:57:45 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Imposition of a sales tax, that online retailers would have to collect and remit to states/municipalities is a different issue that is, currently, not something that states can legally do.


Thank you. I accept your concession in this matter. You are right, states CANNOT legal charge Sales Tax on out of state purchases.

What these other retails are doing, in my opinion, treads dangerously close to extortion. As in, they seek to use the power of the state to threaten the lawful activity of others.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By Motoman on 3/21/2011 2:04:07 PM , Rating: 2
Very funny. We were never discussing sales tax - hence, nothing has been conceded.

Your words about the USE TAX that started this:

quote:
You've been duped. In this instance, CA's demand for a Use Tax on imported goods is effectively the same as an Import Tax, the difference being remittance directly to the state at tax time rather than at time of sale.
Stop blindly accepting what you're told with regard to the law; it will lead to no good. I'm reluctant to call your actions noble in heart; however, don't tell me I must pay money "due" the State when the Constitution forbids it otherwise.


This is the root of this discussion. You've obviously realized how moronic you are for claiming that use taxes are illegal, and now you're trying to pretend that something else, other than use taxes, was being discussed. You don't get off the hook that easily.

What you need to do, right now, is admit that state use taxes are legal, in accordance with the constitution, and that you as a citizen of the state of CA are required by law to remit use taxes for all online purchases you make from an out-of-state vendor.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By kjboughton on 3/21/2011 12:17:08 PM , Rating: 2
I have just conclusively proved to you that it is, yet you deny this fact. That you want to ignore the Constitution when it suits you only is the issue at hand.

And I see you're one of *those* people, as well. You'll note you referenced the California State Board of Equalization (BOE). How fitting that the state governmental agency charged with collecting taxes is used to promote fairness and equal distribution of monies. Yep, take from those that have and give to those that won't...sounds about right.

But let's get back to the point of all of this: THE US CONSTITUTION FORBIDS STATES COLLECT IMPORT TAXES ON IMPORTED GOODS. WHEN YOU BUY SOMETHING FROM AMAZON, FROM OUT OF STATE, THEY ARE IMPORTING IT TO YOU. THE STATE HAS NO AUTHORITY TO COLLECT TAXES ON THIS SALE. NOT AT TIME OF SALE AND NOT LATER WHEN STATE INCOME TAXES ARE FILLED.

Quick, let's pile on the guy that arguing for the Rule of Law and adherence to our Country's founding document and the Supreme Law of the land.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By Motoman on 3/21/2011 12:20:23 PM , Rating: 2
You didn't conclusively prove anything. The fact that you think you did is quite disturbing.

Use tax laws have been on the books of every state in the union for decades. The federal government is allowing them to do so. No use tax has ever been overturned in any court - and I'm not sure they've ever even been challenged.

Your argument that use taxes are illegal has no basis. Period. YOU ARE MAKING IT UP.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By kjboughton on 3/21/2011 12:24:00 PM , Rating: 3
Too funny, by definition laws are MADE UP by man. Are you suggesting that your opinion on the matter is more correct that mine (and that of so many others) just because it has the force of law?

Sorry, I do not buy it.

The Constitution is clear. That the State of California does otherwise does not make it right. There are myriad laws on the books that violate our founding doctrine. This is but one of them.

Lawful does not equal right. Period.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By Motoman on 3/21/2011 1:42:59 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Lawful does not equal right.


Sure, a law doesn't guarantee that something is or isn't morally/ethically correct. But it does guarantee that refusing to abide by it makes you a criminal.

Once again, you have failed to provide any proof, whatsoever, that shows that any state use tax has been found to be unconstitutional in a federal court - no such case has ever occurred. Use taxes are legal, and are supported and allowed to exist by the federal government. End of story.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By kjboughton on 3/21/2011 1:51:58 PM , Rating: 3
Article Title: "Walmart, Best Buy Pressure Amazon to Collect Sales Taxes"

We're taling about Sales Taxes. Sales Tax collected on out of states sales, wherein the supply party has no state presence, is illegal AND furthermore unconstitution, as has been detailed.

Let me be blunt - and obviously the law IS on my side in this case (or this wouldn't be a point of contention) - States have NO authority to collect Sales Tax on out of state sales.

Best Buy (lol), Sears, Home Depot, etc, are PLEADING for Amazon to pay the tax under the giuse of "fairness." (Now where have I heard that before?)

What part of this don't you get?


RE: ...not about the tax.
By Motoman on 3/21/2011 2:01:31 PM , Rating: 1
I get it just fine. This discussion that you and I are having isn't about sales tax. It's not about forcing Amazon to collect and remit sales tax.

It's about whether or not state use tax laws are constitutional - your declaration about the CA state use tax law being unconstitutional is what started this, and it's what we've been discussing.

It's clear now that you realize what a moron you are for arguing that use tax laws are illegal, and you're trying desperately to claim that you thought we were discussing something else. Not going to work. You started this, explicitly, by damning the use tax law. You don't get to change what you're arguing about now that you realize how wrong you are.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By FITCamaro on 3/21/11, Rating: 0
RE: ...not about the tax.
By kjboughton on 3/21/2011 12:25:13 PM , Rating: 2
No one expects you to ignore them, as you do so at your own peril. But for God's sake, don't argue in support of them. Are you for the Rule of Law or not?


RE: ...not about the tax.
By Motoman on 3/21/2011 12:50:42 PM , Rating: 3
Nice straw man.

You're the one trying to subvert the rule of law. There's not the slightest precedence for declaring state use tax laws to be illegal. None. And there's plenty of precedence demonstrating their legality...like the fact that the federal government has allowed every state in the union to require and collect use taxes for decades now.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By kjboughton on 3/21/2011 1:22:57 PM , Rating: 2
Once again, the straw man arguement is YOURS. We're not talking about a Use Tax . Drop it.

We're discussing the constitutionality of States collecting Sales Tax (an Import Tax) for goods, purchased out of state, yet shipped (imported) in state.

Either conceed the point, as has been argued, or let it go. WE DON'T CARE WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY ABOUT USE TAXES.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By Motoman on 3/21/2011 1:45:02 PM , Rating: 2
You're trying to move a goalpost.

We are talking about use taxes. We're talking about the right, in your case, of the state of CA to require you to pay use taxes on the products you buy from Amazon.com. You are the one who declared that was an illegal law. You're the one who can't provide any proof to back that up.

Sales tax is a different issue that isn't being discussed here. We are, and have been, discussing state use tax laws since this started...and it started when you specifically declared that the CA use tax law was illegal.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By kjboughton on 3/21/2011 2:05:20 PM , Rating: 2
No, the story is about Sales Tax. I have written in regard to Sales Tax.

You're talking about Use Tax (and won't let it go).

I've had just about enough. I've made my point. This will be my last post in this thread.

Look, nothing's stopping you from paying a Sales Tax on out-of-state purchases. You want to hand over that money to your state? Go right ahead. Put your money where your mouth is. Do it - write a check out to the state and remit the difference in payment next time you buy something online that doesn't include State Sales Tax in the total. See if we care. There's nothing that says you can't pay more to the state than demanded, and if you're as keen on giving over your money to the state as you say you are, you'll have no problem doing this. As for the rest of us, don't tell us we have to pay when we don't.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By Motoman on 3/21/2011 2:10:40 PM , Rating: 1
I have stated, from the very beginning, that requiring online vendors to collect sales tax is illegal based on the interstate commerce regulations. I have never stated, or even insinutated, otherwise.

Your words that STARTED this conversation:

quote:
You've been duped. In this instance, CA's demand for a Use Tax on imported goods is effectively the same as an Import Tax, the difference being remittance directly to the state at tax time rather than at time of sale. Stop blindly accepting what you're told with regard to the law; it will lead to no good. I'm reluctant to call your actions noble in heart; however, don't tell me I must pay money "due" the State when the Constitution forbids it otherwise.


This discussion has always been about the use tax. YOU are the one who started the discussion by declaring that USE TAXES were illegal. YOU are the one who's been making an ass of himself trying to argue that USE TAXES are illegal without providing any proof thereof.

YOU are now intentionally trying to weasel out of your own stupidity by starting to throw around "Sales tax" instead of "use tax" - and trying to pretend that you've been arguing about sales tax instead of use tax all along.

What you have done is admitted your own catastrophic stupidity. And what I want you to do, right now, is admit that use taxes are legal, that they can be levied and collected by states, and that you owe the state of CA use taxes on your Amazon purchases. Go on. Do that. Since apparently you have no problem with use taxes now, right?


RE: ...not about the tax.
By kjboughton on 3/21/2011 2:17:40 PM , Rating: 1
From the official CA BOE website ( http://www.boe.ca.gov/sutax/isvdprog.htm ):

"Use ( Import ) tax is imposed upon the purchaser. It generally applies to purchases from out-of-state vendors who do not collect California tax on their sales. Generally, if sales tax would apply when you buy a particular item in California, use ( Import ) tax applies when you make a similar purchase from a business outside the state."

(words in bold added be me)

Calling an Import Tax a Use Tax doesn't change the fact that it's unconstitutional. And neither you or some court is going to convince me otherwise.

I know you want to jump up and down and convince us all how simply changing the word from 'Import' to 'Use' makes it all nice and legal, but that's balony, and you know it.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By Motoman on 3/21/11, Rating: 0
RE: ...not about the tax.
By ekv on 3/21/11, Rating: 0
RE: ...not about the tax.
By kjboughton on 3/21/2011 4:27:09 PM , Rating: 2
Not true:
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/01/31/judges-...

You haven't been paying full attention to the matter.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By ekv on 3/22/2011 3:04:37 AM , Rating: 2
I pay as little as possible, to turn a phrase.

Not to be contrary for the sake of contrary, but my point still stands.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By bah12 on 3/21/2011 2:16:38 PM , Rating: 2
If you want to argue sales tax then start your own thread MORON. The OP's first paragraph.

1. As I have pointed out numerous times, as have others, USE TAX is not a new idea...it has been around forever, inasmuch as it pertains to the issue of levying sales tax against internet purchases.

This thread has and always was about USE TAX, and that we do not need more laws rather enforcement of the ones we have. STFU you dim whitted idiot go clog up some other thread with your off-topic babble.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By kjboughton on 3/21/2011 2:22:30 PM , Rating: 1
We were having a pretty civil conversation on the matter until you decided to jump in and astound us all with your ability to call people names while posting on the internet - bravo.

Now bug off, the grown-ups are speaking.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By bah12 on 3/21/2011 2:30:35 PM , Rating: 2
Well grown-ups admit when they are wrong, until you acknowledge that you've hijacked this thread out of shear stupidity/confusion then I must meet you at your own intelligence level in hopes that maybe you will see the colossal idiocy of your posts today. But we all know your not man/woman enough to admit such a thing.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By Motoman on 3/21/2011 1:45:59 PM , Rating: 1
...and BTW, if you are now willing to admit that use taxes *are* legal, and that you are required by law to pay them, then that would be fine with me - since you seem to be confused about what kind of tax you're arguing about now.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By FITCamaro on 3/21/2011 3:42:46 PM , Rating: 1
You certainly aren't. You're openly admitting to violating a law because you don't believe its constitutional.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By ekv on 3/21/2011 3:59:59 PM , Rating: 2
Good grief. Next thing you know we'll have another Rosa Parks....


RE: ...not about the tax.
By kjboughton on 3/21/11, Rating: 0
RE: ...not about the tax.
By Motoman on 3/21/11, Rating: 0
RE: ...not about the tax.
By kjboughton on 3/21/11, Rating: 0
RE: ...not about the tax.
By Motoman on 3/21/11, Rating: 0
RE: ...not about the tax.
By Nutzo on 3/21/2011 12:34:37 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, but my reasoning is different.

California government has grown so large and so corrupt, the only option left for the people is to try and starve the beast. Anything I can do, that sends less money to the politicians then better.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By Solandri on 3/21/2011 5:20:26 PM , Rating: 2
California's budget problems stem from an overly strict and unequal limit on the increase of property taxes (2% - less than half the average rate of inflation), combined with mandated spending imposed by voters via direct referendum, and poorly negotiated contracts with unionized workers. After those two are paid for and combined with the first, there simply isn't enough money left to pay for other government functions.

In retrospect, allowing the voters to change the State Constitution (and thus override their legislature) with a simple majority vote was a really bad idea. The whole point of having a legislature is that because those people make laws as a full-time job, they have a better sense of the "big picture" than the average voter. The California ballot initiative process (which I was a big fan of in my 20s) undermines that.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By kjboughton on 3/21/2011 6:26:15 PM , Rating: 2
Holy chit. I don't even know where to start on this one.

You'd make a GREAT tyrant.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By FITCamaro on 3/22/2011 7:49:46 AM , Rating: 2
Imagine if the US population could directly make changes to the US constitution.

A pure democracy doesn't work. Because everyone just votes on whats best for them. That's why our country was set up as a republic. With equal representation between the states in the Senate. A state alone works no different.

Allowing the voters to override the people they elected to represent them eventually results in anarchy. As Commifornia will eventually fall into.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By tng on 3/22/2011 8:02:56 PM , Rating: 2
Yes and no.....

The big issue with CA is that yes the voter can do that and the problem isn't that they limited the rate of growth on property taxes, it is because some years ago they voted that EDUCATION get guaranteed minimum funding that increases every year.

Now that mandate is (last I heard) 88% of the states budget. This is what you don't hear on the news here in CA, and there is no amount of budget cutting that will solve it. The Cal Teachers Association spent millions on ads and lobbying to get this in and they still complain that CA schools don't have enough money.... Even if they cut the other 12% to nothing, CA would still be in debt. So in retrospect as you say, yes it really was a good/bad idea in my eyes.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By callmeroy on 3/21/2011 1:16:52 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed...you list a lot of good reasons...

For me the list stops at "detests shopping." IMO--- Malls were the invention of Satan....


RE: ...not about the tax.
By fic2 on 3/21/2011 1:49:37 PM , Rating: 2
I am curious - I buy all my Christmas and birthday presents on-line and have them sent to various states. Texas is one of those states. Am I supposed to pay a use tax to a state that I don't live in? Never going to happen.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By bah12 on 3/21/2011 2:27:28 PM , Rating: 2
No, the person in that state does have to acknowledge that gift and your friend in TX does owe the tax (plus any applicable Federal gift tax depending on the lifetime/one time limits). The laws are usually very well defined with regard to use tax, but extremely hard to enforce as Moto has stated.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By Some1ne on 3/21/2011 6:29:01 PM , Rating: 5
No, the solution is to get rid of all the people who think these taxes are justified. The money that I spend when I buy something was *already* taxed when I earned it. And who the hell are you (or anyone else, for that matter) to suggest that it be taxed *again* when I spend it?

Just because the law says that you can, that doesn't mean that it's right to do so.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By Motoman on 3/21/2011 6:46:45 PM , Rating: 2
Oh good...so you're going to declare that all taxes other than income tax are illegitimate? You know what, you can actually do something about that. Move to a state that doesn't have sales tax - like Montana, or Alaska.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By Some1ne on 3/22/2011 4:34:26 AM , Rating: 3
Actually, I'd rather have a flat tax on consumption and no income tax. Because then I have the ability to control how much I pay in taxes by moderating my consumption. The current system essentially punishes people to taking higher-paying jobs. I would love to have the ability to earn $100,000 but pay the same taxes as someone who earns $20,000 if I live frugally enough.

But you misinterpreted. It's not that I feel that any specific kind of tax is illegitimate, it's that I feel that taxing the same dollar over and over again is illegitimate. If you tax it when I earn it, then don't tax it when I spend it. If you tax it when I spend it, then don't tax it when I earn it. If you taxed it when my father earned it and when he spent it, then don't tax it yet again when he dies and leaves the remainder to me. How many times do I have to pay my dues before the government is happy?


RE: ...not about the tax.
By Motoman on 3/22/2011 10:06:08 AM , Rating: 2
The question is ultimately how to fund a government that can function properly. If you want a 30% sales tax and no others, then go and argue that to your lawmakers and get them to lobby for it.

At any rate, you can also pick a state that has no income tax, and only pay sales tax. Move to Nevada or South Dakota, for example.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By SilthDraeth on 3/22/2011 12:47:41 PM , Rating: 3
I have to agree with you here. It isn't that I am completely against taxes but the way our government is taxing us, or trying to, there is no end.

I am not sure on the exact amount, maybe someone out there has figured it out. But look up the "151 taxes in a loaf of bread" quote by Reagan.

I am sure someone will try to say it isn't true, but with every part of our lives being taxed, and taxed over and over, we actually all pay a lot more taxes than we realize.

Also, the fact that you can't "truly" own land in this country. Sure it may say you own it, but you get taxed when you buy it, taxed when you sell it, and taxed every year you own it, and if you don't pay the "ownage ie property tax" every year, they take it from you and sell it to someone who will.

I guess its a good thing they don't tax me every year for the clothes I wear if I didn't have to buy new clothes this year... One small concession...

I don't see how they get off taxing you on a car, or other item if you own it, and "sell it" it isn't like you made any money on it, unless you bought it for say $2k and then sold it a day later for $3k. Then sure, tax you on $1k made... but... if I own a car that is worth $2k, and I sell it ie trade it to a person for a truck worth $2k, then there is no net gain or loss on either side, if I trade it for $2k worth of food, then there is no net gain or loss, if I trade it for $2k worth of dollar bills neither of us is out the $2k, we simply exchanged one form of currency, a vehicle, for another (money is essentially credit usable to barter for goods, to ease the exchange, it has no value by itself)


RE: ...not about the tax.
By Hiawa23 on 3/21/2011 10:13:23 PM , Rating: 2
Correct me if I am wrong, but Walmart is the biggest or one of them in the world & they certainly has to be one if not the most successful, & they are whining. We all know it's a bad economy & in a bad economy we shop for the lowest prices. I am in Florida & I buy quite a bit from Amazon especially music downloads, & honestly I never noticed the tax issues here in Florida. I shop online cause it's more convenient, & I don't have to burn gas that now cost $3.50/gallon, so Walmart, & others keep fighting the good fight, but you are not making up shortfalls just by attacking Amazon. Other than buying videogames at Best Buy, I buy alamost all my electronics now from Ebay or Sams or Amazon since it's cheaper, that's why many shop online now.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By Hiawa23 on 3/21/2011 10:16:53 PM , Rating: 3
Amazon keep fighting & looking out for us. We don't need to give anymore dollars to our government so they can waste it starting up more wars in oil producing countries that we can't pay for then scream we are broke & cut teachers, police, public officers pay, & cut funding to education to give to those who need the breaks the least.


RE: ...not about the tax.
By Motoman on 3/22/2011 12:52:17 PM , Rating: 2
Uh, oh...bad news for our little disabled friend kjboughton...

http://consumerist.com/2011/03/california-may-go-a...

quote:
Under what was characterized in the agenda as a "Use Tax Gap Pilot Proposal," the staff asked that the BOE authorize a contract worth $7 million to $10 million for information on untaxed purchases made by state residents. The proposal states that "vendors have approached BOE staff to offer the sale of data on purchase transactions between out-of-state retailers and California consumers," and while the staff has yet to see the information "we do believe the data exists and may be useful.'' The contract would be "performance-based"—meaning the vendors would only be paid if the data produced extra revenue through "self-compliance or enforcement efforts." According to the proposal, the state would expect to collect three times the amount it pays out under the contract.


Good luck with that, kj...I'm sure the courts will support your theory that use taxes are an import tax and therefore illegal and you don't have to pay them. Let us know how that works out.


Hmm...
By Breathless on 3/21/2011 10:06:53 AM , Rating: 5
So instead of trying to compete with Amazon and figure out creative ways to win the consumers business, they just want to try to bully them. Freakin genius.




RE: Hmm...
By Tamale on 3/21/2011 10:59:27 AM , Rating: 4
exactly. I don't get it.. if these companies think Amazon has a too-good-to-be-true business model, why don't they drop their B&M stores and try to emulate Amazon? There's nothing stopping them from doing so....


RE: Hmm...
By Breathless on 3/21/2011 11:02:51 AM , Rating: 2
Fo Shizzle


RE: Hmm...
By kjboughton on 3/21/2011 11:07:14 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe if we push a little harder we can get them to leave the country altogether. Brilliant! (Sounds like a Democrat plan for creating jobs, if you ask me.)


Pot, kettle
By MrTeal on 3/21/2011 10:22:13 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Stores like Walmart, Best Buy, Sears Holdings Corp., Home Depot and Target are coming together to try to force Amazon to collect sales taxes by supporting the Alliance for Main Street Fairness


Because the companies listed have never used questionable practices to force competitors out of business. I'm all for big box stores, but they could have picked a better name.




RE: Pot, kettle
By cjohnson2136 on 3/21/2011 10:44:02 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Alliance for Main Street Fairness


You do know that it was not the big companies that came up with that name right? the Alliance for main Street fairness has been around helping mom and pop stores fight stores like Walmart. Which is where the irony comes in to play as Walmart is not using the same people that have been fighting them.


RE: Pot, kettle
By tng on 3/21/2011 11:39:04 AM , Rating: 3
Yeah, Walmart involved with anything that helps defend mom and pop places is ironic at the least.

Walmart has been sued and lost many times for predatory pricing practices. It used to be in the early 90's they would put a store in, then drop their prices below cost to drive out local businesses. Once all the local competition was gone they would raise prices to normal.

That practice put thousands of small mom and pop places out of business.


Even with tax
By shortylickens on 3/21/2011 12:29:16 PM , Rating: 2
Amazon will still be cheaper.
-Lower prices for all customers
-Free 2nd day shipping for Prime customers
-Free movies and TV shows for paid Prime customers (non-student)
-Free Music, some of which does not suck

Going to Walmart takes gasoline out of my car. Also I hate actually setting foot in walmart.
My local Target is quite nice but a longer drive.

If these giant corporations think it will improve their instore sales they are sadly mistaken.




RE: Even with tax
By DigitalFreak on 3/21/2011 1:10:20 PM , Rating: 2
I always feel like I need to take a shower when I leave Walmart.


RE: Even with tax
By kmmatney on 3/21/2011 4:32:47 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think it would help in-store business - but it would help their on-line business. There are a lot of products that Walmart only sells online. Our local Walmart is new and pretty nice inside - most of them in Colorado are. I've come across several in other states, though, that I wouldn't want to go inside very often.


Walmart, Really?
By phatboye on 3/21/11, Rating: 0
RE: Walmart, Really?
By Denigrate on 3/21/2011 10:28:21 AM , Rating: 5
A Union for Walmart employees would accomplish exactly what? Asside from filling the pockets of said union with Walmart employee union dues, the union would do jack squat. Having worked in Union and non-union shops, I can tell you there's zero difference benefit and pay wise. In fact the only difference I saw was that I had to pay union dues at the union shop and watch lazy POS union members do half the work of the person beside them, but were protected by said union. Unions cost consumers money, and provide nothing to union members worth while.


By Denigrate on 3/21/2011 9:58:38 AM , Rating: 3
Amazon's buying power allows them to undercut the competition on price already. This group sees it as a chance to stick it to Amazon and try to stop the loss of sales they've been seeing to Amazon for years. Even in states where Amazon charges sales tax, Kansas for one, I bought more from Amazon than I did from Best Buy, Home Depot, etc combined.




By abscode on 3/21/2011 10:13:59 AM , Rating: 3
Even if Amazon did charge sales tax, I'd still make the bulk of my online purchases through them. Amazon's site, including the search engine and selection, is superior. Their return policy and associated costs is very consumer friendly. Adding in the shipping fees with a Prime membership, makes it a no-brainer for me, taxes or not.

I already refuse to buy anything from Walmart or Best Buy. I do purchase items from Target and Home Depot routinely, but not online. Nor are said purchases stuff I wouldn't get from Amazon, so taxes doesn't factor into the decision.

At least for me, nothing would change, and makes me like this band of whiners even less.




Blacklisted
By fatbaldandhappy on 3/21/2011 10:40:49 AM , Rating: 4
Stores like Walmart, Best Buy, Sears Holdings Corp., Home Depot and Target just went on the blacklist.

I'd pay to buy locally if I had confidence I wasn't getting bent over buying a $7 headphone adapter from Target then coming home and finding the EXACT same one for $.60 on Amazon (shipped free with my prime account). Sorry you numb nuts big boxers- it's not the sales tax that pushes buyers to Amazon- it's your 800% markup!




RE: Blacklisted
By theapparition on 3/21/11, Rating: -1
...
By The Imir of Groofunkistan on 3/21/2011 10:17:31 AM , Rating: 2
Noooooooooooooooooooooo!




Not a surprise
By daman5 on 3/21/2011 11:34:41 AM , Rating: 2
So, if the law can't beat'em try to have Amazon's competitors pressure them! LOL

Does anyone realize that Amazon's total stock price is basically equivalent to these three companies? (Sears being the biggest of the 3, with Walmart being the most "powerful" of 3 from a market aspect)

So not a surprise that these competitors would try to impact that number.

As others have said, basically Amazon is defending the legal aspects of enforcing other tax law upon residents not making a purchase physically in the state. Unless there is a flat fed tax at some point, or some other crafted bill from Washington, I'm guessing most judges will eventually shoot this down.




And so the worm turns.
By zxern on 3/21/2011 5:44:01 PM , Rating: 2
What I love about this whole situation is that Walmart is whining about the unfair advantages of the big new kid on the block, just like Mom and Pop shops used to whine about Walmart's unfair advantages.




job losses
By fearsjohn on 3/21/11, Rating: -1
RE: job losses
By Cerin218 on 3/21/2011 10:55:43 AM , Rating: 5
Why? Amazon will continue to make money, they just won't have facilities in that state that may make it easier. Everywhere else can still ship to Texas, so they will still sell to Texas, products just won't arrive as quickly. And they save 200-300 million. They will still need to employ just as many people as they would if they had a facility in Texas, it will just be somewhere else. All the politicians instead of wanting to run their states and budgets correctly, would much rather get a golden egg every day from business, except some like Texas that would rather kill the golden goose and get it all at once. The recession has hit all the people, but the government still hasn't figured out it's affecting them too.

But good job people, advocate destroying business because the faster you can all destroy the "evil" corporations is the faster you can destroy this country and the sooner we can replace business with government get to the communism you all want anyway.


RE: job losses
By phantom505 on 3/21/2011 11:20:09 AM , Rating: 2
We're not entirely fascist yet. Making new laws that may create an unemployment issue is a mostly a government problem. That is until we start outsourcing the state legislatures literally... which may happen in states like Arizona (or at least in my estimation may be better than the idiots they "elected").


RE: job losses
By Motoman on 3/21/2011 11:30:21 AM , Rating: 4
Simple.

If you don't like the laws you have to abide by in a given area, your one-and-only recourse is to leave.

You don't get to stay and ignore the laws you don't like. Amazon doesn't like the laws in TX, for example...so it left.

That's all there is to it.


RE: job losses
By fearsjohn on 3/21/2011 4:34:11 PM , Rating: 1
I should have phrased it better. What i meant was, is the politicians are a bunch of retards for trying to pass these laws. All it is doing is cause unemployment in their states cause amazon will just not make warehouses there and or fire people like they did in Illinois.

sorry for the poor first post was not fully awake.


RE: job losses
By FlyBri on 3/21/2011 6:13:03 PM , Rating: 2
On a similar note, making the assumption that many people buy online to get around sales tax (and I am making that assumption), if Amazon was forced to charge state sales tax, even in just a state like CA for example, they would probably stand to lose a good amount of revenue. Lower revenue means lower profits, and lower profits mean less potential job creation.

So while the state governments would end up getting more in tax revenue, Amazon would be hiring less people than it otherwise would have. Right now, that's not going to help the economy. Job creation should be highest on the list of priorities right now.


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