backtop


Print 130 comment(s) - last by Motoman.. on May 23 at 11:00 AM


Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos
CEO Jeff Bezos hopes federal legislation will fix this ongoing battle

Amazon has been fighting tax-related battles for some time now, and as pressure to collect in some U.S. states grows stronger, Amazon refuses to back down. In fact, Amazon's CEO sees their demands as unconstitutional

Amazon is the largest online retailer in the United States with over 90 million registered buyers. It was founded in 1994 and went live in 1995. It started out as an online bookstore, but soon began selling CDs, computers, software, DVDs, video games, electronics, toys, apparel, furniture, and food. 

In recent years, certain U.S. states have demanded that Amazon collect sales taxes because the retailer's affiliates operate within these particular states, and to offset huge budget deficits. For instance, Amazon filed a lawsuit against the state of New York because the state tried to collect taxes from out-of-state transactions through the online retailer. In another instance, Texas State Comptroller Susan Combs charged Amazon $269 million in unpaid sales taxes, which pushed Amazon to close a local distribution center and cancel plans to expand operations in the state of Texas. Amazon has also cancelled tens of thousands of affiliate accounts in Illinois and Colorado because of tax-related demands.

In addition, brick-and-mortar competitors like Best Buy, Wal-Mart and Sears are complaining that Amazon has an unfair advantage in the retail industry because of its refusal to charge taxes in certain states. 

Now, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is saying that some U.S. states' tax demands are violating the U.S. Constitution. 

According to Bezos, a 1992 Supreme Court decision excuses Amazon and other remote sellers from having to collect taxes in U.S. states that do not have the company's employees or warehouses operating within its borders.

"First of all, most of where we do business - Europe, Japan, some of the states here in the United States - we collect sales tax. More than half our business," said Bezos. "We do collect sales taxes, the European equivalent of value-added tax. And in the U.S., the Constitution prohibits states from interfering in interstate commerce. And there was a Supreme Court case decades ago that clarified that businesses - it was mail-order at the time because the internet did not exist - that mail-order companies could not be required to collect sales tax in states where they didn't have what's called 'nexus.'

"And that's a very clear decision. Our point of view on this is that we should simplify the sales tax system, and we've been consistent on this for about 10 years. It's called the Streamlined Sales Tax Initiative. I think 22 or 23 states have signed onto it. Because the right way to fix this is with federal legislation. That's where it can be fixed properly."

The Streamlined Sales Tax Initiative promotes simplified sales and use tax collection and administration by retailers and states by minimizing costs and administrative burdens on retailers that operate in multiple states and collect sales taxes.

As of right now, Amazon collects tax in Kansas, Kentucky, New York, North Dakota and Washington. Another 40 U.S. states have sales taxes, but are supposed to document and pay tax on out-of-state untaxed sales, but rarely do either because they're unaware of this or just don't want to. Amazon has made it clear that it would comply with state tax collection if Congress mandated it more clearly. 

Just this month, Amazon praised states like Arizona and Indiana, whose governor's do not demand the collection of taxes. Amazon plans to promote growth in these areas, and even announced plans to expand three warehouses.



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

Indiana
By paydirt on 5/18/11, Rating: 0
RE: Indiana
By Motoman on 5/18/2011 11:22:09 AM , Rating: 5
If you make any effort, at all, to report and pay use taxes on your online purchases, you are probably about 1/10 of 1% of the total number of online consumers in your state.

...which ultimately is the problem that states are trying to solve...in the wrong way.


RE: Indiana
By Reclaimer77 on 5/18/2011 11:32:43 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
...which ultimately is the problem that states are trying to solve...in the wrong way.


The problem states have is rampant spending and unbalanced budgets. In the good times, they bloated their budgets because tax revenues were high. Then the recession hit and they were caught flat footed with their hands in the cookie jar.

The solution is NOT more tax revenue. American's have to cut back now, so should governments. Spending is the problem, not Amazon.


RE: Indiana
By Motoman on 5/18/2011 11:45:45 AM , Rating: 3
I see no point in arguing that concept one way or another, as it's not relevant to this issue...which is people not reporting/paying use taxes, and the states trying to overstep their bounds by requiring private businesses to do their job for them.


RE: Indiana
By knutjb on 5/19/2011 3:57:23 AM , Rating: 4
This is the way people rebel against over taxation, silently. They avoid paying it. When taxes are perceived as fair most people pay without concern.

The politicians continue to push beyond their limits and demand more. When will we replace them rather than allow them to continue doing this to us? We do have a choice.


RE: Indiana
By therealnickdanger on 5/18/2011 11:47:54 AM , Rating: 4
Spending is our friend. You just need to go back to school and recite the Keynesian economic rules over and over until you understand the proper way to do things.


RE: Indiana
By omnicronx on 5/18/2011 12:51:58 PM , Rating: 3
He means overspending, i.e going beyond your means.

Americans do have to cut back, the idea that the average person can have thousands of dollars in credit card debt, multiple mortgages and still expect to buy a house car, car, basic necessities.. etc is just beyond me.

Keynesian economics states that excessive saving is a bad thing, it does not imply that excessive spending is a good thing..

(Sure spending money will help boost the economy, but when the result of said spending causes you to default on your house loans and live on welfare, you are clearly not benefiting society or the economy in the long run)

Americans were living beyond their means, plain and simple..


RE: Indiana
By Reclaimer77 on 5/18/2011 1:05:27 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Americans do have to cut back, the idea that the average person can have thousands of dollars in credit card debt, multiple mortgages and still expect to buy a house car, car, basic necessities.. etc is just beyond me.


This isn't the 1950's. Houses cost at least $100,000 today. Cars? About $30k. Nobody has that kind of money just saved up, so of course we have to borrow. Cut back? You don't know the half of it obviously. By the way, why didn't taxes make your list there?

You call it living beyond their means? Well we can't all live with our parents forever like you. Fyi, even during the "mortgage crisis", 95% of all mortgages in America were healthy and being paid on as agreed.


RE: Indiana
By Chaser on 5/18/11, Rating: 0
RE: Indiana
By EricMartello on 5/19/2011 5:48:48 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Amazon is four walls and a ceiling with conveyer belts and UPS trucks. A Best Buy -or any business- has more overhead for the customer service experience and they play by the rules paying/charging state (and local) taxes.


BestBuy chooses the brick and mortar business model, nobody forced them into it. If they wanted to they can pull a circuit city and go online, but I doubt they'd have any better luck out-competing Amazon if they were a web-only operation.

"Playing by the rules" does not warrant any kind of reward, bro. In business the ones who find success write their own rules as they go.


RE: Indiana
By cruisin3style on 5/18/2011 3:23:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Well we can't all live with our parents forever like you.


How old are you? Because in all seriousness unless I missed something in the person you are replying to's message, it is time to mature.


RE: Indiana
By omnicronx on 5/18/2011 5:19:23 PM , Rating: 1
What are you a child?

Getting a car loan, getting a loan to buy a house etc etc, is not overspending.

Racking up thousands in credit card debt you can't afford and putting second mortgages on your house so you can live beyond your means clearly is not.

I'm not saying that there is never a situation in which you are forced to take such action, I'm saying there are far too many that are putting themselves in a bad position when it was never warranted.

P.S I've lived on my own since I was 18 thank you very much. I've long paid off all of my school debt and don't have any credit card debt either. I live within my means and I am proud of it.


RE: Indiana
By Reclaimer77 on 5/18/2011 9:24:06 PM , Rating: 3
Yup, I would like to apologize to you. Moto just had me in such a bad mood with his obtuse ignorance. And it's kind of a pet peeve of mine when people repeat that government lie that people living "outside their means" supposedly caused an economic collapse.

Regardless, that's no excuse. I'm sorry man.


RE: Indiana
By tecknurd on 5/18/2011 9:40:50 PM , Rating: 2
You are a complete child because you do not know what is over spending. Over spending is what you can not afford. If you taken out any loans, this is over spending. Credit cards and mortgages are loans, but with a different name.

You really think that "Racking up thousands in credit card debt you can't afford and putting second mortgages on your house so you can live beyond your means" is not over spending. It is definitely over spending. Any loans you can not pay off in one month is over spending. Sure there can be an exception for car and house loans, but do not go too far. I think too far is no more than 80% of the income.


RE: Indiana
By EricMartello on 5/19/2011 5:54:28 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
You really think that "Racking up thousands in credit card debt you can't afford and putting second mortgages on your house so you can live beyond your means" is not over spending. It is definitely over spending. Any loans you can not pay off in one month is over spending. Sure there can be an exception for car and house loans, but do not go too far. I think too far is no more than 80% of the income.


This is some dumb shit. First of all, when you take at a loan to make a large purchase, you are leveraging your income against the term payment you agree to - which is typically a monthly payment. If you manage your money properly and pay off the loan within a specific period then it's not "overspending".

Overspending would be racking up $10K in debt to buy something stupid like a TV on a credit card, and then making the minimum payments. The principle will not decrease, and you will end up paying more in interest then the value of your principle.

I don't know where most of you idiots get your ideas about managing finances but it's clear that most of you are clueless when it comes to managing money...so please, stop talking about it like your last name is Rockefeller.


RE: Indiana
By Reclaimer77 on 5/19/2011 12:50:27 PM , Rating: 3
LOL I know Eric. I read his post and was just dumbfounded. It's like he doesn't live out in the real world or something. And he calls ME a child?


RE: Indiana
By phantom505 on 5/18/2011 12:57:07 PM , Rating: 1
Ummm that's consumerism (aka Milton Freedman) not Keynesian. Try again.


RE: Indiana
By foolsgambit11 on 5/18/2011 2:13:37 PM , Rating: 2
He must have meant government spending, not individual spending. That distinction is implicit in his reference to Keynsian economics.


RE: Indiana
By invidious on 5/18/11, Rating: 0
RE: Indiana
By tng on 5/18/2011 2:00:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
...which ultimately is the problem that states are trying to solve...in the wrong way.
Sounds like Amazon is willing to do it's part, but some states are just demanding the money. Their loss.

Of course people in government don't have any idea how much of a problem it is for one company to comply with dozens of sets of tax collection rules.

Sounds like Amazon is pushing for a single system for all states tax collection based on federal legislation? Is that what I am reading here?


RE: Indiana
By mcnabney on 5/18/2011 2:59:13 PM , Rating: 2
Your right. It isn't like there is a network of computers that the Amazon servers could log into and identify the appropriate tax authority.

The complexity excuse is a pack of lies made up by online retailers that enjoy the 6-10% cost savings they can provide that B&M locations cannot.


RE: Indiana
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 5/18/2011 6:10:42 PM , Rating: 2
B&M locations can get the same savings if they just cut their stupidly high overpricing. Online retailers operate on the model that they can sell tons of items with a small margin. B&M locations have stupidly high margins on many of their items, especially accessories. They need to sell a fraction of goods to make ends meet and post a profit. Until B&M stores are willing to do that they can suck it.


RE: Indiana
By Reclaimer77 on 5/18/2011 11:28:31 AM , Rating: 2
"run roughshod over local businesses"?

Is that a joke? You're serious, aren't you. Yeah how DARE Amazon for providing a service millions of people enjoy! I'm so sure the reason Amazon was founded was to screw over local business...

Also what kind of idiot goes OUT of his way to pay taxes he doesn't have to? The only one being "run roughshod" over is the American taxpayer!


RE: Indiana
By Motoman on 5/18/2011 11:33:02 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Also what kind of idiot goes OUT of his way to pay taxes he doesn't have to?


He does have to pay those taxes - they're called "use taxes," and every state in the union requires that their citizens report out-of-state purchases and remit use taxes for them with their tax returns.

Granted, 99%+ of all citizens of all states don't actually do that - but all that means in the end is that 99%+ of all citizens of all states are breaking the law.

This is irrefutable. It's law. Period.


RE: Indiana
By Reclaimer77 on 5/18/11, Rating: -1
RE: Indiana
By ebakke on 5/18/2011 11:41:13 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The law is unconstitutional and obviously cannot be enforced.
Defend your claims please.


RE: Indiana
By ebakke on 5/18/2011 11:42:42 AM , Rating: 2
(don't tell me it can't be enforced - I already know that. Tell me how/why a law saying "if you buy something, and tax wasn't collected by the vendor, you must report it on your income taxes" violates Indiana's Constitution)


RE: Indiana
By Reclaimer77 on 5/18/2011 11:58:07 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
(don't tell me it can't be enforced - I already know that. Tell me how/why a law saying "if you buy something, and tax wasn't collected by the vendor, you must report it on your income taxes" violates Indiana's Constitution)


Article 1, Section 9, Clause 5 of the Constitution says simply: "No tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any state."


RE: Indiana
By cerx on 5/18/2011 12:22:48 PM , Rating: 3
Article 1, Section 9, Clause 5 places limits on CONGRESS, not on states. It is meant to prevent CONGRESS from favoring one state over another.


RE: Indiana
By Reclaimer77 on 5/18/2011 12:28:53 PM , Rating: 5
My argument would be:
1) Under the US Constitution, Article 1, Section 10 :
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 it's inspection laws: and the net produce of all duties and imposts, laid by any state on imports or exports, shall be for the use of the treasury of the United States; and all such laws shall be subject to the revision and control of the Congress.

2) Sales taxes on items that come across state lines (assuming the sender does not have a physical location in the receiving state) are already unconstitutional.

3) A use tax is a sales tax with a different name. Especially since the "use tax" rate is the "sales tax" rate and you can take any sales tax you pay to the first state off of the use tax.

Constitutionally states do NOT have the right to impose sales taxes on interstate commerce. The "use" tax was a clever fictional way to get around this, but it's still Unconstitutional at it's core.


RE: Indiana
By BailoutBenny on 5/18/2011 1:41:56 PM , Rating: 2
Reclaimer, I am glad you read the constitution and posted this. I wonder how many people in this country actually know what is in the constitution.

As for what you pointed out, there are 2 problems I can see with your argument:

1) Are there federal laws allowing states to charge sales and use taxes? I don't know offhand.

2) There is an exemption in this clause "... except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it's inspection laws ...." This is a pretty big loophole that would allow a state to charge sales taxes as part of its inspection process and since most, if not all, states run deficits year to year, I'm sure they could find a way to avoid remitting any excess sales taxes to the treasury.


RE: Indiana
By Motoman on 5/18/2011 1:48:13 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Reclaimer, I am glad you read the constitution and posted this. I wonder how many people in this country actually know what is in the constitution.


Unfortunately, Reclaimer doesn't know either. He's misappropriating that passage for a purpose it doesn't apply to. That passage applies to barring states from requiring out-of-state vendors to collect and remit sales tax to them.

He's trying to say that it means the states can't require their citizens to pay use taxes. 2 totally different issues. States are fully in compliance with this law - they don't require out-of-state vendors to collect and remit sales tax...although as seen in this article, they're trying to figure out a way to do just that. States are also in compliance with federal law by requiring their citizens to pay use taxes themselves on purchases they've made out of state.

Use tax laws have been around essentially forever. With no precedent showing them to be illegal and therefore removed from the books.

Reclaimer, as usual, hasn't got an argument. And it should be eminently obvious that if he did, use taxes wouldn't even exist.


RE: Indiana
By Reclaimer77 on 5/18/2011 1:52:06 PM , Rating: 1
So because the Founders didn't anticipate something as asinine as a "use" tax, the Constitution doesn't even apply?

Sir, you make yourself look ridiculous. A "use" tax is sales tax under any other name. It's absurd you support this obvious loophole.


RE: Indiana
By kjboughton on 5/18/2011 6:43:04 PM , Rating: 2
More succinctly put, the "use tax" is a clever name for an "import tax," which, as was previously noted, is unconstitutional per the cited reference.

My attempt to argue this same point was met with similar resistance the last time such an article was posted on DailyTech.

Some people will defend to their death the status quo. It does not matter how you argue your point, they're dead-set on ensuring the state ALWAYS gets their pound of flesh. Why for, I do not know...


RE: Indiana
By kjboughton on 5/18/2011 6:44:37 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Indiana
By Reclaimer77 on 5/18/2011 7:44:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
More succinctly put, the "use tax" is a clever name for an "import tax," which, as was previously noted, is unconstitutional per the cited reference.


Exactly. I don't understand why Moto insists this isn't the case when multiple people with common sense have plainly seen the logic in it.

The fact is he just doesn't WANT it to be the truth.

quote:
My attempt to argue this same point was met with similar resistance the last time such an article was posted on DailyTech.


I feel your pain, but it comes with the territory. DT is infested with pro-big government lefties like Moto.


RE: Indiana
By Motoman on 5/23/2011 11:00:54 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I feel your pain, but it comes with the territory. DT is infested with pro-big government lefties like Moto.


Just was browsing through this article again to see what other stupidity you'd posted. The depth of your willful ignorance is truly a site to behold.

But this is a perfect example of how you warp your perceptions of reality...if I were put in such a position of power to do so, I'd whack the federal government apart with a vengeance...my guess is that it's probably honestly at least 75% too big.

Leftist, eh? Nope. Just a guy in firm contact with reality - which is a concept that you have no relationship with at all.


RE: Indiana
By BailoutBenny on 5/18/2011 3:42:03 PM , Rating: 3
Actually I think Reclaimer is correct in using this passage from the constitution. The wording explicitly says that no imposts or duties (aka tax of any kind whether sales or use) can be applied by a state to any goods that are imported or exported from the state. This means the state really can only legally tax that which is manufactured and consumed wholly within the state.

A use tax is only applied to items which have not had a sales tax applied to them, otherwise it could be considered a true consumption tax and applied to all items equally when "used." Since a use tax is only applied to out of state purchases which did not have a sales tax applied to them, it is obvious and logically provable that a use tax is just a sales tax on out of state items. Since both a sales tax and a use tax are imposts and duties on imports to the state, they are illegal (unless a specific federal LAW, not regulation, passed by congress allows them).

I don't recall any case law where the state has actually prosecuted an individual for failing to fill out use taxes correctly. I believe the reason they choose not to pursue this form of prosecution is precisely because legal precedent would be established showing use/sales taxes to be illegal and forcibly overturned in every state.


RE: Indiana
By Reclaimer77 on 5/18/2011 7:41:29 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Actually I think Reclaimer is correct in using this passage from the constitution. The wording explicitly says that no imposts or duties (aka tax of any kind whether sales or use) can be applied by a state to any goods that are imported or exported from the state. This means the state really can only legally tax that which is manufactured and consumed wholly within the state.

A use tax is only applied to items which have not had a sales tax applied to them, otherwise it could be considered a true consumption tax and applied to all items equally when "used." Since a use tax is only applied to out of state purchases which did not have a sales tax applied to them, it is obvious and logically provable that a use tax is just a sales tax on out of state items. Since both a sales tax and a use tax are imposts and duties on imports to the state, they are illegal (unless a specific federal LAW, not regulation, passed by congress allows them).

I don't recall any case law where the state has actually prosecuted an individual for failing to fill out use taxes correctly. I believe the reason they choose not to pursue this form of prosecution is precisely because legal precedent would be established showing use/sales taxes to be illegal and forcibly overturned in every state.


Thank you, beautifully put. Succinct and correct.

I guess Moto skipped right on past this in his quest to flame an easier target, like the government shill he is.


RE: Indiana
By Reclaimer77 on 5/18/2011 2:31:40 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Reclaimer, I am glad you read the constitution and posted this. I wonder how many people in this country actually know what is in the constitution.


Thanks, unfortunately people in power long ago realized the Constitution doesn't matter. They can do whatever they want, and if called on it, simply get a Federal judge to SAY they can do whatever they want.

Using Moto's logic, ObamaCare was legal "because it was passed." As if there is even a shred of evidence to support it's Constitutional for the Federal government to mandate health care and force citizens to participate in it.

I will try to address your two questions after lunch. This spirited debate has me running late. Thank you :)


RE: Indiana
By BailoutBenny on 5/18/2011 4:22:29 PM , Rating: 3
I'm of the opinion that the constitution is invalid and non-binding. I think too many people rely on this document, without fully understanding what is in it and without fully understanding the power that they, as the ultimate sovereign power backing that document, have. The constitution is only as effective as the governed allow it to be, but even more importantly, because the people have the power, the constitution is not necessary.

Here are some issues I have about the validity of the constitution:
I didn't sign it so I'm not part of the contract as far as I am concerned. I have never voted, so one can't cite implied consent, and given the choice of jail, massive fines and possibly death at the hands of police/military, I have been coerced into conforming with the rest of the system, which we all know coercion is not consent. It is easy for people to tell me "If you don't like it just leave" but I challenge them to find a country that is more free than the U.S. I don't imply the U.S. is free, just that other countries are as corrupt and oppressive as the U.S. I'm screwed no matter where I go.

There is no such thing in contract law as the ability to bind future unborn generations to a contract they didn't willingly form, so the whole notion of an eternal social contract is null on its face.

The 14th amendment, while declaring me a citizen of the U.S. by the simple fact I was born here, is illegal and inapplicable. It is de-facto enslavement with no recourse for the person bound to the system. Highly unethical and void on its face if you go by common contract law.

The notion of a "social contract" itself is flawed. There are always parties to a contract. Abstract concepts like "the people" and "the state" and "the government", all legal fictions, cannot be part of a contract because they are not real reasonable people. This all plays into the notions of corporations and legal persons, which is all BS.

Beyond my problems with the actual validity of the constitution, there are significant flaws in the document itself; 3 clauses in particular:

1) Taxation to provide for the General Welfare and Common Defense (justifies obamacare among other things).
2) The commerce clause, through which almost all government overreach is accomplished (could be used to justify obamacare).
3) The necessary and proper clause, which allows congress to enact all laws "necessary and proper" to accomplish the above ambiguous clauses along with the other clauses in the document.

Even if the government didn't ignore the constitution outright, these 3 clauses, combined with the "living document" doctrine of reinterpretation, allow the government to do anything it wants.

I'm hoping more people come to the conclusion that the constitution is a fundamentally flawed and irrelevant document. For those wishing to establish a new government, I would suggest making it opt-in only (i.e. define an age where an individual is an "adult" capable of making decisions and only then can they sign up for citizenship, citizenship is not automatic) and as simple as possible (command structure for army; prohibit the government from everything else like deficit spending, borrowing, any kind of regulation, currency manipulation, etc.).


RE: Indiana
By chunkymonster on 5/19/2011 10:28:45 AM , Rating: 3
Interesting post and a very unique view on the Constitution; certainly not the lessons learned in Civics class or about the American government.
quote:
I'm of the opinion that the constitution is invalid and non-binding. I think too many people rely on this document, without fully understanding what is in it and without fully understanding the power that they, as the ultimate sovereign power backing that document, have.
Agreed. Too many people rely on the Constitution without understanding what is in it. Most people do not understand the basic fact that the intent and purpose of the Constitution is to limit the powers of the government and the basic fact that the only way the federal government can be given powers is by and through the consent of the people. Most people do not realize that the federal government, since the late 1800's, has stolen and perverted the legacy given to them by the Founding Fathers, stolen and perverted their right as an American citizen.
quote:
...but even more importantly, because the people have the power, the constitution is not necessary.
The supposition that because the people have the power, the Constitution is unnecessary is wrong. The Constitution is necessary because it was purposely written to limit the powers of the government and to secure the basic human rights of the people that existed prior to the creation of the Constitution. Surely, without it, we would be farther down the road of tyranny and potentially living in anarchy.
quote:
Here are some issues I have about the validity of the constitution: I didn't sign it so I'm not part of the contract as far as I am concerned.
Another wrong supposition. Just because you were born to your parents does not change the fact that you are their child. Every sovereign nation recognizes a natural born person as a citizen of that country.
quote:
I have never voted, so one can't cite implied consent, and given the choice of jail, massive fines and possibly death at the hands of police/military, I have been coerced into conforming with the rest of the system, which we all know coercion is not consent.
Given that America was and is established as a republic with a representative government, which implies an inherent responsibility as a citizen to participate in the forming and running of the government, the fact that you do not vote automatically makes any grievances or complaints you have against the government or how it is run, invalid.
quote:
It is easy for people to tell me "If you don't like it just leave" but I challenge them to find a country that is more free than the U.S. I don't imply the U.S. is free, just that other countries are as corrupt and oppressive as the U.S. I'm screwed no matter where I go.
You're right in that it is easy to say, "love it or leave it.", but given the simple fact that you continue to choose to live in America, you are also choosing to live within the laws that govern this country, regardless if that choice is made willingly or unwillingly.
quote:
There is no such thing in contract law as the ability to bind future unborn generations to a contract they didn't willingly form, so the whole notion of an eternal social contract is null on its face...The notion of a "social contract" itself is flawed. There are always parties to a contract. Abstract concepts like "the people" and "the state" and "the government", all legal fictions, cannot be part of a contract because they are not real reasonable people. This all plays into the notions of corporations and legal persons, which is all BS.
Another wrong supposition. Do not confuse legal contracts with the binding and common understanding within society. Not yelling "fire" without justification in a crowded public place, is a social contract. Agreeing that murder is wrong, is a social contract. You live by social contract whether you realize it or not.
quote:
The 14th amendment, while declaring me a citizen of the U.S. by the simple fact I was born here, is illegal and inapplicable. It is de-facto enslavement with no recourse for the person bound to the system. Highly unethical and void on its face if you go by common contract law.
You have a fundemental misunderstanding of the 14th Amendment, which is ironic given that you purport that "other people" do not fully understand the Constitution. Briefly, and without giving a complete history lesson, the 14th Amendment passed in 1868 as part of the Reconstruction Amendments and was intentionally passed to recognize the freed slaves as full and whole citizens of America. Prior to the 14th Amendment, slaves were regarded as property, not as a full and whole citizen. The 14th Amendment has been perverted by the supposition that anyone born in the United States is a citizen. An example of this supposition is supported by those who wrongly state that the children of illegal immigrants are American citizens.
quote:
Beyond my problems with the actual validity of the constitution, there are significant flaws in the document itself; 3 clauses in particular: 1) Taxation to provide for the General Welfare and Common Defense (justifies obamacare among other things). 2) The commerce clause, through which almost all government overreach is accomplished (could be used to justify obamacare). 3) The necessary and proper clause, which allows congress to enact all laws "necessary and proper" to accomplish the above ambiguous clauses along with the other clauses in the document. Even if the government didn't ignore the constitution outright, these 3 clauses, combined with the "living document" doctrine of reinterpretation, allow the government to do anything it wants. I'm hoping more people come to the conclusion that the constitution is a fundamentally flawed and irrelevant document.
Believe it or not, I agree with the spirit of what you are saying here, but as demonstrated, your logic is fundamentally flawed, not the Constitution.
quote:
For those wishing to establish a new government, I would suggest making it opt-in only (i.e. define an age where an individual is an "adult" capable of making decisions and only then can they sign up for citizenship, citizenship is not automatic) and as simple as possible (command structure for army; prohibit the government from everything else like deficit spending, borrowing, any kind of regulation, currency manipulation, etc.).
Unless there is a total uprising and/or support by a vast majority (over 70%) of Americans, no "new government" will be established. However, given the poor state of the economy and government over reach, there are far too many sheeple sucking on the government teat to be unplugged from the matrix. No, a "new government" will not be formed, America will continue to hobble along until the liberal progressive socialists have died off or until the sheeple wake up, unplug, and realize that the power is in their hands and they can actually live without the intrusion of government into their daily lives.


RE: Indiana
By BailoutBenny on 5/19/2011 3:26:55 PM , Rating: 2
The constitution was written by a bunch of English mercantilists who thought they could get richer through a centralized protectionist government not under the king of England's control. That is why it was purposely written to be ambiguous and contradicting.

There is a lot of debate over the meaning of the word "right" as used in law. I take the stance that a right is fundamental to the human condition, ergo they are inherent and inseparable from being human. They cannot be granted nor taken away by government of any kind. A government granted "right" is really a privilege and can be taken away as easily as it is given. When I say the constitution is not necessary, I mean it. Individuals alone are responsible for securing their rights. Perhaps a group can come together to look out for one another, a government if you will, but a document isn't necessary for that. All that is necessary to secure the rights of an individual is the willingness for that individual to do whatever is necessary to prevent them from being infringed upon.

The constitution doesn't remove power from the people, it delegates certain powers that people inherently have to the corporation we call the United States. It is a contract that "the people" made with the corporation saying you can exercise these powers as if the United States was a real person (legal fictitious person in corporate law) in our stead and we will abide by the consequences.

I maintain that because I did not sign the document, I am not a party to the contract. A slave born into slavery is having his rights infringed, but perhaps slavery is an accepted practice in the country the slave is born in. Are you therefore implying the slave should accept his station in life in that country or should the slave secure his inherent rights? If the slave's parents entered into a contract to be slaves, should the child suffer for the foolishness of the parents? Or should the child be free until he is of such age as to enter into such a binding contract willingly?

My responsibility as a "citizen" of the United States are to ensure the government abides by the terms of the contract that govern the government. Voting is a privilege I have as a citizen, but in no way am I obligated to exercise that privilege nor does not exercising that privilege make any grievance or observation I have invalid. It is my inalienable right, as part of being human, to say whatever I damn well please about any topic no matter how informed on the subject I may be. Besides, who is the ultimate check on government power? The individual, that's who. U.S. citizens right now barely grasp that the Supreme Court, the judicial arm of the government appointed by the executive arm and approved by the legislative arm, cannot be impartial when judging cases. How can they be? It is the government deciding on the legality of the government's own actions! And the only way to remove the judges is if they die, retire or are impeached. Only congress can start the impeachment process, so unless people start "retiring" judges, they won't make their voice heard when SCOTUS decides yet again that the overstepping by the government is legal and the people will just have to suffer under whatever new burden is illegally placed on them. It would have been more effective if Supreme Court judges were popularly elected and could be popularly removed, but that would have given people more say in the government, something the framers didn't especially want in their new pseudo-English mercantilism.

United States citizens, right now, are abiding by a social contract with the United States government, not a legal contract. The only people who were ever properly legally bound to a contract with the United States government were the signers of the constitution. Once they all died, the real contract ended.

Here is the text of the 14th amendment:

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Please tell me how I am misunderstanding the part where it says all persons born in the United States are citizens of the United States.

My contention that I am de-facto enslaved in the system, I feel, is justifiable.

Assuming that I consent to the system because I remain here is false. Does the rape victim who stops fighting back and just gets it over with then consent to their rape? No matter where I go, I will get raped. Taxes will be involuntary, servitude to the state will be absolute. In no country will I be free to do business without regulation or taxes; will I own, tax free, my property. Many governments abridge the right to freely bear arms, even the United States! I can go on and on, but every established government on the planet oversteps its reach. I could move to Somalia, but the constant warring between factions instigated by the U.S. and other countries make that a non-starter.

I'd like clarification about which parts of my logic are flawed when I state that there are 3 very ambiguously written clauses in the constitution which, combined together, allow the government unchecked power?

I know that people will not rise up against the government to establish a new one unless the government really f*cks up and even then I have my doubts. The last time citizens in the United States stood up for their own autonomy and beliefs, they were killed in an unjust and illegal civil war. The government has gotten far more efficient since then at identifying possible threats to its power and either running a massive disinformation and discrediting campaign against the individual/group, framing the individual/group for a crime, or covertly/openly assassinating the individual/group leaders and members.


RE: Indiana
By chunkymonster on 5/20/2011 11:22:41 AM , Rating: 2
You sound like a Libertarian...

You have placed yourself on the outside of any responsibility as a citizen to be involved with how you are governed...
quote:
I maintain that because I did not sign the (Constitution) document, I am not a party to the contract.
but then contradict yourself by stating,
quote:
My responsibility as a "citizen" of the United States are to ensure the government abides by the terms of the contract that govern the government.
Are you a slave born into servitude within a society and government that has been forced upon you or are a responsible citizen that ensures the government lives up to their part of the (contract) Constitution? Which is it?

Again, anyone who exercises their "right to non-involvement" forfeits any grievances or complaints against how they are governed. By not choosing, you have made a choice. You are not a "contentious dissenter" by not voting, you are a statistic.

You have built a nice circular logic that allows you to accept inactivity and non-involvement in your local, State, and Federal government as an excuse to believe that you are not part of the system and society that you live in.

Your anger is not lost, just misdirected. It is easier to play the martyr and be a victim rather than accept your responsibility, involvement, and actively participate in changing the government to reflect your beliefs and ideals.

Non-involvement is just as, if not more, detrimental to how you are governed as is those who are participating in their government with ill-intent.


RE: Indiana
By BailoutBenny on 5/20/2011 12:30:21 PM , Rating: 1
I have stated I do not want to be governed, period. I am not a slave to be bossed around. You can be, if you like, but I would prefer a life of liberty over one of servitude to the state.

I don't see any contradictions. I maintain that I do not consider myself a citizen of the U.S. because I never consented to the government that was imposed upon me. Just because I describe what I consider to be a citizen's duty doesn't mean I've contradicted myself, only that I have considered what citizenship would entail.

You stated that it is a citizen's duty to vote. The assumption on your part is that voting is the only option a citizen has to affect change in the United States. This is patently false. Citizens are given the privilege to vote, but they can also rebel, vocally protest, secede, evade taxes and/or perform jury nullification to enact change. The problem with those methods is they are likely to get you killed or jailed. I wouldn't risk those consequences at this point in time for my beliefs because I know for a fact that it would be for nothing in the United States. It would not be the spark that causes meaningful change, the government would just demonize me and the sheeple would eat it up. So for now, I'll bite my lip and endure until I feel my opportunity has come.

The United States considers me a citizen, whether I recognize it or not. Here is where I describe what I think my sole duty as a citizen is. As a "citizen" my sole duty is to make sure the government abides by the rules it was given to play by, not just to vote. Generalization: A citizen's duty is to keep the government in check, period.

I am far from being uninvolved and inactive in how my life is directed, even though I don't consent to this government. I've written congress critters and state legisleeches to clarify laws and proposals that are ambiguous and broad so that I may better understand the oppression being forced upon me. I've written letters of protest for those who would be affected by new laws. I've passed on everything I've learned to others who choose to go through the voting charade so they have at least the semblance of a semi-informed choice based on the lies and false promises they are told. I've exercised my right as a human to be armed and trained for self defense. I've gone to protest rallies. I've participated in town halls. Yet you will focus on how all of that is meaningless when I don't vote. My actions have a meaningful effect on those that do vote, and thus I say I've affected the government by my actions without ever casting a vote. I would say my actions are more meaningful to myself and those around me than any vote I could cast.

I ask you, though, how can you vote in good conscience when you know every candidate is full of shit and when none of them actually espouses your ideals? When you know they are lying and will not fulfill their promises? When the system is purposely set up to support a false dichotomy (left vs right) and to disallow any meaningful competitors? You are purposely only shown a choice between murder or rape and not told about choices 3, 4, ... or none. So one, I don't vote because none of the choices are to my liking. Two, I don't vote because I don't consent and voting would give the semblance of implied consent.

If everyone decided not to vote, what would, what could, the government do? The government only functions at the will of the people. Not voting is a powerful weapon and it sends a powerful message. I hate when people say it is a waste and accomplishes nothing because they can't see past the end of their own nose.

The whole non-involvement means you consent and have no right to grievance is non-sense. If you are not involved in your murder conspiracy or decision to be fired, does that mean you still cannot protest? Do you believe you must accept the decisions that affect you silently? So say they give you a say in the matter but you are outnumbered? At least it was a democratic process, so now you have no reason to complain, right? Or can you complain now, because it was a democratic process, even though you knew your vote would be in the minority and effectively meaningless? You believe in the system and that is the problem, not my logic.


RE: Indiana
By swampthing1117 on 5/18/2011 12:32:22 PM , Rating: 2
exactly, which he seems to be ignoring. it's in the us constitution, it's federal law not state law. It also was intended to apply to goods produced in that state not goods shipped to that state for distribution later on. It was intended to protect southern states that relied on cotton exports.

There is absolutely nothing about that part of the constitution that applies to this situation as the goods shipped by amazon are not exports. The very definition of the word export makes this completely not applicable.

Amazon is a retailer, they are not an exporter of manufactured goods. They should be required to collect sales tax like all other businesses. ALL online business should be collecting tax. They shouldn't get a free ride considering how popular online shopping is there's a ton of lost tax revenue.

what the guy misquoting the constitution doesn't get is that if this continues this way you ARE going to pay these taxes elsewhere either through higher property taxes, higher gas taxes or some other method. The amount of money being lost is far to great.


RE: Indiana
By Reclaimer77 on 5/18/2011 12:44:01 PM , Rating: 2
No, it's at the very HEART of the matter. Do you not understand? Do I have to write a book to explain the pitfalls, legality, and slippery slopes that taxing internet sales opens?

I have quoted now two major articles that support my claim, and the reasoning behind them. What more do I have to do? The Federal law, technically, PROHIBITS states from doing this without Congressional authority. However the other article expressly prohibits Congress FROM giving states this power.


RE: Indiana
By Motoman on 5/18/2011 1:35:31 PM , Rating: 2
As always, you're ridiculously confused.

The information you've provided shows that states can't require out-of-state vendors to collect and remit sales tax to them.

That is consistent with the points I've made.

It says nothing, however, about the states requiring their own citizens to remit use taxes on those sales. Which is what you're trying to mis-use this information for. IT DOES NOT ADDRESS USE TAXES.

If it did, the use taxes would have been immediately declared invalid and wiped off the books, a few decades ago.

The problem is...that never happened. Use taxes are still on the books, in every state in the union, BECAUSE THEY ARE LEGAL. If you could find *one* case where state use taxes were declared to be illegal, and therefore a state took them off their books, then you can win your argument - and frankly, be a MASSIVE hero to citizens across this nation, who would take your legal precedent and get *all* use taxes declared illegal, and taken off the books.

But that's not going to happen. Because use taxes are legal...hence the reason why there's never been any such case where they were proven illegal.


RE: Indiana
By Motoman on 5/18/11, Rating: 0
RE: Indiana
By DigitalFreak on 5/18/2011 1:39:57 PM , Rating: 2
Talk about the pot calling the kettle black...


RE: Indiana
By Reclaimer77 on 5/18/2011 1:48:59 PM , Rating: 2
Your argument is basically, if the government can do something with absolutely NO functional checks and balances in place, then it MUST be legal.

I weep for our future with that kind of state of mind being prevalent.


RE: Indiana
By Reclaimer77 on 5/18/2011 1:41:58 PM , Rating: 1
No Moto, "use" tax is just a sales tax, no matter what you call it. It most certainly addresses them.


RE: Indiana
By Motoman on 5/18/2011 1:51:08 PM , Rating: 4
You. Are. Wrong.

Your continued assertion that you are right proves nothing but your own willful ignorance.

Use tax happens within a state. States have the right to do that. And they do that...all of them. And there's not the slightest precedence showing that they can't.

If you're convinced that use taxes are illegal, why don't you provide us with an instance where they were proven to be illegal in a court of law, thereby requiring the state in question to remove them from their books?

Without that proof, you have done nothing but demonstrate your limitless stupidity before the entire world. Again.


RE: Indiana
By Reclaimer77 on 5/18/2011 1:59:38 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
If you're convinced that use taxes are illegal, why don't you provide us with an instance where they were proven to be illegal in a court of law, thereby requiring the state in question to remove them from their books?


Motoman straw man #12. Lack of contention is not proof of ratification.


RE: Indiana
By Motoman on 5/18/2011 3:24:19 PM , Rating: 3
Perhaps, but it would be proof to support your claims. For which there is no proof.

You're just some guy making wonky tax claims on an internet site without any proof to validate your claims...which makes you nothing but a troll.


RE: Indiana
By CorwinOfAmber on 5/19/2011 1:14:14 AM , Rating: 4
I have already been down this road with the tax authorities in Taxachusetts - um, Massachusetts.

About 24 months after the Federal law banning sales taxes on internet sales "quietly expired" I received a "failure to pay Use Tax" on purchases of cigarettes online. Of course, I had no idea the Federal exemption had expired. It was precisely because of it I was buying my smokes online.

So I get a $2500 bill in the mail, and rightly so, bring it to a tax lawyer.

To make a long story short - I had to pay. But I learned a few things on the way - perhaps you readers can benefit from my mistakes.

1. Anything you buy out of state and don't pay taxes on (if your state taxes it) qualifies under the "use tax". Some states like mine split the difference (if you did pay tax on the purchase but it was less than what your state charges you would only have to pay the difference - or no tax at all if you paid more).

2. FEDERAL law allows states to demand from RETAILERS (of any kind) sales to their residents (retailers must comply). This is what allowed Taxachusetts to know and levy the use tax against me.

3. Interestingly enough, states cannot demand sales information from credit card companies. This is because they are not considered retailers but banking institutions and are not covered under the law.

What my state did was find high volume internet retailers, demand resident purchase data and turn around and tax those residents on the sales reports of the retailers (assuming the purchases were not reported on their income tax filings). Perfectly legal.

So, if you buy online (retailer) you are screwed. If, on the other hand, you go to a neighboring state (like New Hampshire for me who have no sales tax) and purchase a new 60" HD TV and pay for it via credit card you're good to go.

Some of you might see a contradiction here. The establishment you bought that HD TV from IS a retailer. This is true - but you will find that any tax free state does not want to - and won't comply with sales records for out of state customers and their states will back them up. I can't tell you how many times this has happened between Taxachusetts and New Hampshire.

Finally, I have to agree with Reclaimer here as it relates to "use taxes" being another name for a sales tax the state missed out on collecting. Common sense tells you so if you understand the nature of the tax. It does a complete end around of Federal law using a different name.

Motoman's arguments I attribute to analism in legal interpretation and narrow mindedness.


RE: Indiana
By Reclaimer77 on 5/18/2011 11:44:20 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Defend your claims please.


Read the article. It's clear cut.


RE: Indiana
By Motoman on 5/18/2011 11:47:35 AM , Rating: 2
No it isn't. There never has been, and never will be, the slightest validity to your claim.

You can have an *opinion* that this law is unfair...but it's legality has been well-established, and there is not the slightest proof that it is "unconstitutional" in any way.

As usual, you're a freaking idiot...and you're getting your stupid all over the forums again.


RE: Indiana
By Reclaimer77 on 5/18/2011 11:56:31 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
You can have an *opinion* that this law is unfair...but it's legality has been well-established, and there is not the slightest proof that it is "unconstitutional" in any way.


WOW....really?

Article 1, Section 9, Clause 5 of the Constitution says simply: "No tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any state."


RE: Indiana
By neogrin on 5/18/2011 12:13:51 PM , Rating: 2
Motoman,

Reclaimer77 just provided you proof of his claims. Are you going to apologize to him for calling him an idiot or are you just going to sulk away and pretend it didn't happen?


RE: Indiana
By YashBudini on 5/18/2011 12:38:28 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
"No tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any state."

That reads as the seller isn't going to collect taxes. It does not address the buyer's position or responsibility to their state as required by their state law. You buy a car in Europe, pick it up at the factory, and import it the US, the European country won't tax you (no really R77) but US customs will most certainly pop you. That is different but also a parallel. Out of state car purchases are handled in a similar manner.

Again such laws were created pre-Cyber age during a time untaxed out of state purchased were insignificant, ie they knew it was a loophole but they let it go. Today the states want the money from the buyer, and apparently have few options how to get it, so they choose an option that does work, but fails because of the wording of the laws. One reason not to take a more legal approach? Easy, it's not cost effective.

End result - The current politicians failure to grasp, define the proper method for such tax collection, and implement it. Epic ineptness, no brainstorming. Eventually it will be resolved. Make a bet - the feds will collect the taxes one day and then distribute it to the states. Wait for it.


RE: Indiana
By Reclaimer77 on 5/18/2011 12:48:33 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Again such laws were created pre-Cyber age during a time untaxed out of state purchased were insignificant, ie they knew it was a loophole but they let it go. Today the states want the money from the buyer, and apparently have few options how to get it, so they choose an option that does work, but fails because of the wording of the laws. One reason not to take a more legal approach? Easy, it's not cost effective.


Exactly! And there is a system the Constitution put in place to address these things. It's called "Amendments" But nobody want's to do that anymore because, if they stuck to the process, 80% of the crap they wanted to do would fail on Constitutional grounds.

I would fully support any legal amendment to the Constitution to address this. However I will NOT support this thuggery that the article discussed. Same with "use" tax, it's a bad loophole to do something that's CLEARLY Unconstitutional.


RE: Indiana
By YashBudini on 5/18/2011 1:05:00 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
No state shall, without the consent of the Congress, lay any imposts or duties on imports or exports

And this is why the feds will have a tax for onlines sales, because they can. If only there was a more efficient way, but what is it?

quote:
I will NOT support this thuggery that the article discussed.

In IT we used to call this writing a "quick and dirty." It seems bypassing checks and balances are the way things are done anymore, by everyone.


RE: Indiana
By Motoman on 5/18/2011 1:30:28 PM , Rating: 1
I'm going to point out that he didn't provide proof for his claims.

That has nothing to do with whether or not states can require their citizens to pay use taxes. It just says states can't directly levy sales taxes on out-of-state vendors.

Which is consistent with reality, and with what I've stated.

He's said nothing at all that supports his contention that use taxes are illegal.

And ponder this: use taxes have been on the books for, I don't honestly know, but I'll guess at least 30 years. You reckon they'd *still* be on the books, in every state in the union, if they were illegal?

Get a grip.


RE: Indiana
By Reclaimer77 on 5/18/2011 1:39:31 PM , Rating: 1
Ok you're just being deliberately obtuse now. I have MORE than did my part to provide proof. You just don't want to hear it.

"Use" tax is a fictional, intangible, creation to get around the law prohibiting sales tax in this situation. But for all intents and purposes, it IS a sales tax. And it's illegal technically, key word, technical.

Moto how can you honestly justify a tax for USING an item you purchased, online, in your state? It's ludicrous!

quote:
You reckon they'd *still* be on the books, in every state in the union, if they were illegal?


How ignorant. Today "legal" means what you can get away with, not what's actually Constitutional. Dozens, maybe hundreds, of laws are on the books that are technically illegal. YOU get a grip.


RE: Indiana
By Motoman on 5/18/2011 1:52:10 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
How ignorant. Today "legal" means what you can get away with, not what's actually Constitutional. Dozens, maybe hundreds, of laws are on the books that are technically illegal. YOU get a grip.


OK. So when are you going to take this to court in your state then? You go right on ahead and get use taxes declared illegal in your state. We'll wait.


RE: Indiana
By ebakke on 5/18/2011 11:40:12 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Also what kind of idiot goes OUT of his way to pay taxes he doesn't have to?
Really? You're chastising the guy for following the law?! That's a pretty douchy thing to do.


RE: Indiana
By Dr of crap on 5/18/2011 12:31:23 PM , Rating: 2
For all you that think the use tax SHOULD be paid by all - DO YOU PAY THE TAX????

My guess you're all just stating the law but do not REPORT it on your taxes - right!
After all it is like getting a good sale price - right?

If a scanned price comes up wrong/lower at a real store, do you also correct the checkout clerk, or just take the reduction and think you've scored a good sale? Same thing.

And I'd have to agree with the post that the state govts NEED to reduce thier spending just as everyone else has.


RE: Indiana
By ebakke on 5/18/2011 12:54:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If a scanned price comes up wrong/lower at a real store, do you also correct the checkout clerk, or just take the reduction and think you've scored a good sale? Same thing.
Not entirely. One is illegal, and one is (potentially) unethical.


RE: Indiana
By YashBudini on 5/18/2011 12:56:19 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
DO YOU PAY THE TAX????

Believe it or not, yes. If you've seen the money at work it's a tad easier.

quote:
If a scanned price comes up wrong/lower at a real store, do you also correct the checkout clerk, or just take the reduction and think you've scored a good sale? Same thing.

Some store's policies are you get the lower price with a mismatch. Some state laws address that. I've also mentioned it and was told thank you without a price increase. Smart business people understand repeat business is more important than the pennies they lose right now.

quote:
And I'd have to agree with the post that the state govts NEED to reduce thier spending just as everyone else has

Address it completely. Governments that spend 110% of their revenues fail in good and bad times. Balanced budgets please.


RE: Indiana
By tng on 5/18/2011 2:24:55 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Address it completely. Governments that spend 110% of their revenues fail in good and bad times. Balanced budgets please.
Yeah....., but like that is going to happen.

Maybe in Utah, they still have a balance budget I think.

I find it complete crap that states that have these multi- billion Dollar budget shortfalls are trying to raise a red flag about Amazon and other online retailers. I really doubt that even if they got all the Sales/Use taxes owed them it would amount to a drop in the bucket compared to the debt they insist is their right to pile up.


RE: Indiana
By YashBudini on 5/19/2011 7:02:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Yeah....., but like that is going to happen.

No, I'm only suggesting cutting spending to the point where anarchy starts won't be too good either.


RE: Indiana
By YashBudini on 5/18/2011 12:23:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Also what kind of idiot goes OUT of his way to pay taxes he doesn't have to?

I wouldn't be surprised if the reverse happens though, people who buy on-line specifically out of state to evade (not avoid) state taxes, even to the degree that shipping may exceed the state tax by a few cents. They call that principle, which is a viewppoint, but it is clear such tactics end up having the person shoot themselves in the foot. The tax law was created for xx amount of revenue, when it fails to make those numbers that revenue will be made up in other ways that same person will still have to pay, right or wrong.

Despite the tax laws it's still economically more advantageous to buy local in the long run, but without instant gratification/results people don't get that.



RE: Indiana
By Reclaimer77 on 5/18/2011 12:37:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Despite the tax laws it's still economically more advantageous to buy local in the long run, but without instant gratification/results people don't get that.


What about people living in the suburbs? They can't just walk down to the nearest FRY's electronics and buy/build a PC now can they?

I live in a major city, and even I couldn't find enough local shops that provide all the PC components I buy online. Even IF I felt like paying 40% more than I can get it on Newegg. Which I do not.


RE: Indiana
By YashBudini on 5/18/2011 12:47:17 PM , Rating: 3
All valid points, those are additional examples.

I can add to that, people who buy local retail who are simply too ignorant to do it online. And people who despise BB enough to avoid at all costs.

Prior to the Internet people could drive out of town passed a store that had what they wanted for a store further away that they preferred. Can't address all scenarios.


RE: Indiana
By tng on 5/18/2011 2:37:13 PM , Rating: 2
Local retailers are the best.

I wont deny that I don't occasionally buy stuff online, but mostly small stuff.

I have bought several appliances from a guy who lives several houses down from me (washer, dryer, stove). When I need a professional jeweler, there is another local guy that I know that has a shop and works hard to keep my business. And YES, I only buy at BB when there is no other choice, primarily because BB is not really a Best Buy, not even close.

quote:
I can add to that, people who buy local retail who are simply too ignorant to do it online.

Yash, that is mean spirited and ignorant. I could say that people who spend so much time online miss out on the spirit of community that they could forge with their neighbors instead of watching Facebook and Twitter, but that would be nonsense now wouldn't it?


RE: Indiana
By YashBudini on 5/19/2011 4:43:01 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Yash, that is mean spirited and ignorant.

Not intentional, I meant more like they don't care. But some eldery are intimated by doing much online.

quote:
I could say that people who spend so much time online miss out on the spirit of community that they could forge with their neighbors instead of watching Facebook and Twitter, but that would be nonsense now wouldn't it?

I don't read the local paper often, clearly I am ignorant of many local events, no question.

Ignorance in and of itself is not totally to be ridiculed. It simply means you don't know. So each time you exclaim, "I didn't know that." while watching Jeopardy you stated you (or anyone) are ignorant. Worthy of ridicule and loss of respect? Not in this example.

quote:
because BB is not really a Best Buy, not even close

Yeah, noticed that irony long ago. But I'm from the era when "everyday low price" was more accurately called "manufacturers suggested retail price." I miss such honesty.


RE: Indiana
By Ammohunt on 5/18/2011 2:21:28 PM , Rating: 2
if local businesses are not smart enough to innovate then they get what they deserve from online retailers. To be successful in business you need to adapt to changing consumer habits.


RE: Indiana
By BigDH01 on 5/18/2011 8:50:39 PM , Rating: 2
And if you want to be local, you should be prepared to have taxes unequally applied to your customers vs online retailers. My problem with the current situation is that people can't avoid paying sales tax at a local retailer but almost all avoid paying sales taxes for online purchases. If you want to make the pitch that no sales taxes should be collected anywhere, fine, but the current system which clearly favors online vs B&M is broken. I don't think Amazon should be forced to collect this tax, but I do foresee that states will at least start asking for sales info so they can start to go after these taxes.

The fact that most states have a use tax, which every buyer is legally supposed to pay, ostensibly means that this tax is meant to provide services for the consumer and not the seller. Argue that many state governments are inefficient (and I'll agree with you in many instances), but I would prefer that some businesses and buyers not bear the brunt of this taxation simply because states don't have access to or don't bother collecting this information. If there is going to be a tax, at least try to apply it fairly.


RE: Indiana
By inperfectdarkness on 5/18/2011 9:11:00 PM , Rating: 2
this is all BS anyways. i shop on amazon, i pay for shipping. guess what? 95% of the time, shipping costs can come fairly close to sales tax. (my last purchase had a $23 shipping cost).

so i call shiens on the "advantage" online retailers have from a pure dollars/cents perspective.

no...what the brick & mortar stores are crying about is that they can't offer the selection of online competition. that has nothing to do with taxes.


RE: Indiana
By BigDH01 on 5/18/2011 9:24:25 PM , Rating: 2
Do you think your local Best Buy manufactures the TVs it sells, or do you think that they had to pay shipping to get the TVs from their warehouse to their store and pass that cost along to the consumer? So people buying at B&M stores pay shipping plus sales taxes. I don't see your point.

If the government is only enforcing the sales tax for some of their consumers and not others, they are unfairly favoring some consumers (and by extension, businesses) over others.


RE: Indiana
By Reclaimer77 on 5/18/2011 9:48:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Do you think your local Best Buy manufactures the TVs it sells, or do you think that they had to pay shipping to get the TVs from their warehouse to their store and pass that cost along to the consumer? So people buying at B&M stores pay shipping plus sales taxes. I don't see your point.


And goods just magically arrive to and from Amazon distribution centers free of charge??


RE: Indiana
By BigDH01 on 5/18/2011 9:53:05 PM , Rating: 2
Where did I say that? The contention was that Amazon doesn't have an advantage because the buyer has to pay shipping. I was merely pointing out that local retailers have to pay shipping and thus their customers do too. Read next time?


Wah.
By Motoman on 5/18/2011 11:29:59 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
In addition, brick-and-mortar competitors like Best Buy, Wal-Mart and Sears are complaining that Amazon has an unfair advantage in the retail industry because of its refusal to charge taxes in certain states.


That's just an inflammatory way of saying that Amazon is adhering to the law of the land. Amazon "refuses" to collect sales tax in "certain states" because it's not legally obligated to. I can guarantee you that NO BUSINESS of any kind would volunteer to collect and remit taxes that it doesn't have to.

It's like challenging a barracuda to a swimming competition, and declaring that the fish is cheating because it "refuses" to come up for air. Which, naturally, the fish doesn't do because it doesn't need to.

Ultimately the states are trying to force Amazon (and by proxy, then, ALL online vendors) to fix their problem for them - the *actual* problem being that online consumers don't report their out-of-state purchases voluntarily on their tax returns, and pay the associated use taxes with them...which are laws that have been on the books since WAY before the internet age. Laws that are essentially universally ignored. And the states have no idea how to enforce them.

Forcing private businesses to take on the duties of state governments is so wildly the wrong thing to do, it boggles the mind - but the states just want an easy way out.

Only federal legislation could force online vendors to collect and remit sales tax for sales in all states. It is, as Bezos points out, a constitutional issue. And any such legislation would probably require a new federal agency to manage it too. By the time you pay all the bureaucrats that will be involved in said agency, you probably wipe out all the taxes that would be collected anyway...




RE: Wah.
By Reclaimer77 on 5/18/2011 11:42:39 AM , Rating: 1
Great post, I agree with everything you said. But in another thread you just completely flipped sides and lectured me about how "99%+ of all online shoppers are law breakers". What side are you on exactly?


RE: Wah.
By Motoman on 5/18/2011 11:50:59 AM , Rating: 2
Like Apple consumers, your reality distortion field is working overtime.

There is no contradiction in my statements. The states are overstepping their bounds by trying to get Amazon (et al) to do their work for them. It is also an incontrovertible fact that consumers are required, by law...now and since the beginning of the internet...to report and pay use taxes for their online purchases which came from out-of-state.

Your continued insistence that that isn't true proves nothing but your own ignorance.


RE: Wah.
By adiposity on 5/18/2011 1:46:15 PM , Rating: 2
He's saying he disagrees with forcing Amazon to collect taxes, but agrees that people should pay their use taxes voluntarily, since it is a law.

You are saying you are against the tax completely, as it is unconstitutional.

Regarding the constitutional ban on taxing state exports, I believe this refers to the feds taxing products that leave one state to enter another.

The idea is that an exporter does not suddenly become liable for federal taxes simply because the product exits their state. It is an important concept, because many things fall under federal jurisdiction once they cross state lines or involve multiple states--state law can no longer apply in those cases.

However, the constitution does not prevent a state from imposing taxes on imports to their state. In fact, it would probably be unconstitutional for the Feds to prevent it. A state can tax just about whatever it wants, in the state. There are several ways to accomplish the taxing of out of state purchases, and they would be completely legal. One way might be adding a tax to local internet connections in the state.

What is wrong with this situation is telling Amazon they have to do something that they clearly do not have to do. It is not their job to collect use tax, and if they do not do business in the state, they don't have to. Period. However, those states still can demand use tax from their residents, and eventually they will figure out a way to get it. But it probably won't be pretty.


RE: Wah.
By sviola on 5/18/2011 2:01:46 PM , Rating: 2
His posts are not contradictory. He is against forcing out-of-state sellers to collect the tax but is for people declaring their use-tax.


RE: Wah.
By Motoman on 5/18/2011 3:27:01 PM , Rating: 2
And unfortunately, retards like Reclaimer get "fans" that rate him up, and who rate me down, because they *want* his claims to be true, and they *want* my claims to be false.

Reality is that use taxes are perfectly legal, while levying sales taxes on interstate commerce is not.

Sadly, when retards like Reclaimer shoot their mouth off, they attract attention and gain friends...the entire group of which therefore becomes ridiculously misguided.


RE: Wah.
By ebakke on 5/18/2011 5:37:18 PM , Rating: 2
I wish I could uprate this post. But I can't, and replying to any more of Reclaimer's ramblings at this point just seems like a big waste of my time.


RE: Wah.
By Reclaimer77 on 5/18/2011 8:44:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
And unfortunately, retards like Reclaimer get "fans" that rate him up, and who rate me down, because they *want* his claims to be true, and they *want* my claims to be false.


Ok that's just really low and pathetic. I consistently get ranked down because I stand up for what I believe, or just because people don't like me. I don't have "fans", and I don't "get" people to do anything on my behalf. Give me a break!

quote:
Reality is that use taxes are perfectly legal, while levying sales taxes on interstate commerce is not.


Use taxes are legal, yes. They are also completely Unconstitutional. There IS a difference.

And please enlighten me how a "use" tax isn't a sales tax? I can't wait to hear this one...


RE: Wah.
By BigDH01 on 5/18/2011 9:18:52 PM , Rating: 2
quote:

Use taxes are legal, yes. They are also completely Unconstitutional. There IS a difference.


That's not logically consistent. Although a law might be on the books before being struck down, thus ultra vires, it would not technically be legal. You have the courts which can be used to challenge any action of the government which you find to not be in accordance with the Constitution. If the act or law is legal, it is upheld. If not, you get the above. If you feel that the use tax is not legal (thus not Constitutional), you should clearly file suit (like Amazon) and let the courts decide the legality (or Constitutionality) of it. So no, something can't be legal and unconstitutional (as the Constitution decides what is legal/not legal). It can be invalid, unconstitutional, and waiting to be revoked and modified. I think you are just upset that your interpretation of this particular clause is not in accordance with the court's interpretation. Unfortunately for you, the Constitution left it up to them to decide, not Reclaimer77.


RE: Wah.
By Reclaimer77 on 5/19/2011 12:42:58 PM , Rating: 2
Today "legal" means simply what law makers can pass. You precede from an extremely false pretense that all laws passed are Constitutional. I only wish this was the case. Congress feels they can do whatever they want, and if you DO challenge it, they just get a Federal judge to say they can do whatever they want anyway. Please, are you actually telling me that you believe we have working checks and balances today?

quote:
I think you are just upset that your interpretation of this particular clause is not in accordance with the court's interpretation. Unfortunately for you, the Constitution left it up to them to decide, not Reclaimer77.


I'm not interpreting ANYTHING. That's what others have done. I'm DIRECTLY quoting the clauses, and there is only one true conclusion that can be drawn. States do NOT have the power under the Constitution to regulate or tax interstate commerce. That is clearly and undoubtedly reserved for the FEDERAL government. There is ZERO legal grounds that a state can tax you for transactions that happened outside of it's borders.

And make no mistake, a "use" tax IS a sales tax. Doubly Unconstitutional.


RE: Wah.
By BigDH01 on 5/19/2011 3:57:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Today "legal" means simply what law makers can pass.


That statement is as false now as it's always been. Laws, even today, get overturned as they have throughout our history. Just because you may not agree with a particular ruling doesn't make the law in question "illegal."

quote:
You precede from an extremely false pretense that all laws passed are Constitutional.


In no way have I even ambiguously proceeded from that view. My post is very clear that Congress can pass unconstitutional laws. The legality of those laws is determined when they are inevitably challenged in court.

quote:
In this case, there is no question that Quill has purposefully directed its activities at North Dakota residents, that the magnitude of those contacts are more than sufficient for due process purposes, and that the use tax is related to the benefits Quill receives from access to the State. Wetherefore agree with the North Dakota Supreme Court's conclusion that the Due Process Clause does not bar enforcement of that State's use tax against Quill.


Their problem is one of interstate commerce, which is correct. However, Congress can quite easily give these powers to the state, not because of Section 9, which addresses limits on Congress and which you quoted above, but Section 10, which addresses limits on States, and the Commerce Clause.

quote:
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 it's inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.


This plus the Commerce Clause clearly gives the Feds power to let the states decide what to do. Amazon just wants the Feds to step in to make the laws uniform, and I agree with their CEO.

quote:
Congress feels they can do whatever they want, and if you DO challenge it, they just get a Federal judge to say they can do whatever they want anyway.


Yeah, clearly no law or decision is ever overturned. I mean it's not like Amazon is citing one of those instances to demonstrate why states cannot go after them.

quote:
Please, are you actually telling me that you believe we have working checks and balances today?


Yes. I may not like every decision, but that doesn't mean that every decision I disagree with is wrong. It's an argument from incredulity. You cannot possibly imagine that what you think is so obvious is false. However, this does not make you correct. The courts have already weighed in on the constitutionality of both the use tax and forcing out-of-state orgs to collect sales taxes. States can charge a use tax and cannot force Amazon to collect for them or DMA to report to them. The Feds have the power to quickly solve this issue, which is really the final conclusion in Quill vs North Dakota.

quote:
This aspect of our decision is made easier by the fact that the underlying issue is not only one that Congress may be better qualified to resolve, [n.10] but also one that Congress has the ultimate power to resolve. No matter how we evaluate the burdens that use taxes impose on interstate commerce, Congress remains free to disagree with our conclusions. See Prudential Insurance Co. v. Benjamin, 328 U.S. 408 (1946). Indeed, in recent years Congress has considered legislation that would "overrule" the Bellas Hess rule. [n.11] Its decision not to take action in this direction may, of course, have been dictated by respect for our holding in Bellas Hess that the Due Process Clause prohibits States from imposing such taxes, but today we have put that problem to rest. Accordingly, Congress is now free to decide whether, when, and to what extent the States mayburden interstate mail order concerns with a duty to collect use taxes.

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." Commonwealth Edison Co. v. Montana, 453 U.S. 609, 637 (1981) (White, J., concurring). In this situation, it may be that "the better part of both wisdom and valor is to respect the judgment of the other branches of the Government." Id., at 638.

The judgment of the Supreme Court of North Dakota is reversed and the case is remanded for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.


quote:
And make no mistake, a "use" tax IS a sales tax. Doubly Unconstitutional.


The Court made this decision long ago.

Henneford v. Silas Mason Co

and then...

General Trading Company v. State Tax Comm'n

I'm sorry you don't agree, but your disagreement does not dictate law.


RE: Wah.
By abhaxus on 5/18/2011 12:32:10 PM , Rating: 2
Amazon also operates its DCs under the guise of a different company so they can avoid having "their employees" operating within state lines.

It's all a sham. I manage a locally owned retail electronics and appliance store, and deal with people every day that come in, use our sales floor, use our employees, and buy on Amazon. Then come in when they have problems, and use our employees to help them fix their issues. For those that moronically support Amazon in this argument, I suppose your opinion would be that we shouldn't offer them any kind of help if we know they didn't buy it from us. I'll let you try to figure out on your own if that's feasible or good business.

In the end, you SHOULD pay taxes on your purchases if your state relies on sales tax revenue (my state, Tennessee, ONLY has sales tax to rely on). It's simply the right thing to do. You drive on state roads. You are protected by police and firefighters. You should pay taxes and not try to avoid them.

And finally, if you're buying on Amazon for things you could easily obtain locally at a fair price, keep that in mind, when you can no longer obtain anything locally. This is the Walmart-in-a-small-town argument at a grand scale.

*disclaimer* I, like everyone, buy some things on Amazon. Not to save the tax, because it's convenient for some items. If they charged tax, I'd still do it. Given the choice, I buy on Newegg in my state, because they collect sales taxes.


RE: Wah.
By DigitalFreak on 5/18/2011 1:35:03 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
I manage a locally owned retail electronics and appliance store, and deal with people every day that come in, use our sales floor, use our employees, and buy on Amazon. Then come in when they have problems, and use our employees to help them fix their issues. For those that moronically support Amazon in this argument, I suppose your opinion would be that we shouldn't offer them any kind of help if we know they didn't buy it from us. I'll let you try to figure out on your own if that's feasible or good business.


No one is forcing you to help people with products they didn't purchase from your store. QQ


RE: Wah.
By Motoman on 5/18/2011 1:44:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
No one is forcing you to help people with products they didn't purchase from your store. QQ


I don't think your "QQ" is called for.

This guy doesn't have any way of knowing if someone is actually intending to buy a product from him or not...all he can do is try to provide good customer service.

For the record, the fact of the matter is that even in the states where Amazon does have to collect and remit sales tax, the full cost to the consumer (price plus tax plus shipping) is generally still cheaper than at a B&M store anyway. Sure, maybe some people are purposefully using Amazon et al specifically to dodge the sales tax, but contrary to BBY et al's complaints, Amazon is still going to be cheaper than they are even with sales tax added on. And they'll still get the business.

Lower prices and convenience. It's just simply hard for a B&M shop of any size to compete, because the cost structures of the business are radically different. The question of whether or not sales tax is added on at the end is essentially a moot point.


RE: Wah.
By abhaxus on 5/18/2011 3:11:42 PM , Rating: 2
As I stated in my post, I agree whole-heartedly that there are times when buying online is the most efficient thing to do for me, and I do so. Even when I pay sales tax. But given the choice between buying online, and buying at a local retailer for a nominal upcharge, I think the right thing to do is buy at a local retailer. Now when I'm up at 2am, I order things online all the time.

And thank you for pointing out what I alluded to in my post. If we simply turned away customers when we weren't sure they had or were going to buy from us, we wouldn't have any customers.


RE: Wah.
By ddh on 5/18/2011 1:37:55 PM , Rating: 2
I am not a citizen of Tennessee but i do know as a businessman they have many layers to there tax system, you are paying a lot more than just sales tax. You may wish to review what you are paying by looking at the list below. Sales tax is not the only revenue source for the state.

Tennessee State Taxes:

Alcoholic Beverage
Taxes Automotive Rental
Surcharge Tax Bail Bond Tax
Beer Taxes Business Tax
Coin-operated Amusement Tax
More Information
Local Taxes
Informal Conference/Hearing Office
Tax Delinquencies
Franchise and Excise Tax
Gift Tax
Gross Receipts Taxes
Individual Income Tax
Inheritance Tax
Liquor-by-the-drink Tax
Mixing Bar Tax
Motor Fuel Taxes
Oil and Tire Taxes
Professional Privilege Tax
Sales and Use Tax
Severance Taxes
Television and Telecommunications Tax
Tobacco Taxes
Unauthorized Substances Tax

All of you could benefit from researching for a few hours exactly how each state collects taxes, you will be surprised to find out how many taxes you pay on everything you buy, it is rather nefarious.

Best of Luck to you.


RE: Wah.
By abhaxus on 5/18/2011 3:12:50 PM , Rating: 2
Your argument is the same as saying, "James Cameron already made a bunch of money selling Avatar on DVD, so I feel it's ok to pirate a copy."


taxes...
By skyyspam on 5/18/2011 10:42:05 AM , Rating: 2
Being tax-free is probably the only reason why Amazon is my #1 e-tailer. That, and the free shipping (which is also FAST shipping).

It's too bad that newegg hasn't followed suit.




RE: taxes...
By tekzor on 5/18/2011 10:47:25 AM , Rating: 2
for me amazon charges tax but newegg doesn't
I still like them both


RE: taxes...
By CliffClavin on 5/18/2011 12:06:08 PM , Rating: 2
It's not tax free if you live in one of the (approximately 45) states that impose sales and use tax. Just because the state can't make Amazon collect sales tax, doesn't mean you don't owe use tax.


RE: taxes...
By Reclaimer77 on 5/18/2011 12:15:05 PM , Rating: 2
Use taxes are not new: they were created for the express purpose of taxing out-of-state purchases, in spite of constitutional constraints, by creating the useful fiction that in-state ‘use’ of goods purchased were the subject of the tax.

So basically they are flat out Unconstitutional, no matter how you slice it. YOU can pay them if you wish, but I refuse to and so does the vast majority of Americans.


RE: taxes...
By CliffClavin on 5/18/2011 12:29:14 PM , Rating: 3
I don't think you'll find a lot of support for the argument that use taxes are unconstitutional, but it's your choice whether you want to comply.


RE: taxes...
By Motoman on 5/18/2011 3:29:18 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, he finds lots of support...from other ignorant people on internet forums.

He'll find no such support anywhere that it matters though...like in any available court of law.


RE: taxes...
By Reclaimer77 on 5/18/2011 9:04:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
He'll find no such support anywhere that it matters though...like in any available court of law.


Speaking of courts if you want to go that route. As someone else already pointed out, if this "use" tax was so binding as you claim why is it that nobody's ever been prosecuted in a court for not paying them? I've never heard of a "voluntary" tax.

Or is it because they are on such shaky legal ground, that if they went to court a precedent would be set when they were challenged and ruled Unconstitutional?

quote:
Oh, he finds lots of support...from other ignorant people on internet forums.


Everyone who doesn't agree with you is ignorant and stupid, my, what a compelling argument there Moto.


RE: taxes...
By CliffClavin on 5/19/2011 10:27:48 AM , Rating: 2
States go after taxpayers for use tax all the time. The focus is on business taxpayers rather than individuals because there are more tax dollars at stake with businesses. It's just more practical to audit businesses for sales/use tax than individuals.

On the constitutional side of things, the import/export clause in Article I Section 10 is referring to imports/exports from/to foreign countries."Whether we look, then, to the terms of the clause of the Constitution in question, or to its relation to the other parts of that instrument, or to the history of its formation and adoption, or to the comments of the eminent men who took part in those transactions, we are forced to the conclusion that no intention existed to prohibit, by this clause, the right of one state to tax articles brought into it from another." (WOODRUFF V. PARHAM, 75 U. S. 123, 136 (1868))


RE: taxes...
By Reclaimer77 on 5/19/2011 12:35:36 PM , Rating: 2
But doesn't the Federal government have the sole power to regulate commerce between the states? And how can the State legally impose a tax on a transaction conducted outside of its boundaries?

If you argue that they're not taxing the transaction but rather the importation of the item, then why aren't a person's goods taxed when he moves here from another state? Obviously most of them were purchased outside the state. The fact that states do NOT impose a use tax on people moving into the state pretty clearly shows that the use tax IS levied on the out-of-state commercial transaction. Thus Unconstitutional.

I hate to repeat myself, but states do not have the Constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce through sales taxes or any other taxes. And a "use" tax is nothing but a sales tax under a different name.


RE: taxes...
By CliffClavin on 5/19/2011 12:49:51 PM , Rating: 2
You've raised a few issues.
1. Generally speaking Congress does have the sole power to regulate interstate commerce. However, that doesn't mean state can't tax transactions that involve interstate commerce. There is a 4 part test that any state tax has to meet in order to pass commerce cause scrutiny. The test is from the Complete Auto Transit case. I'm oversimplifying things a bit here, but a state can tax a transaction that is in interstate commerce if the tax doesn't result in multiple taxation. The reason use tax doesn't result in multiple taxation is because states give you a credit for sales/use tax already paid on the particular item.

2. The "use" of the item is within the state's boundaries even though the item was sent in from out of state. Consequently, there is a sufficient connection (or "nexus") between the person using the item and the state.

3. There can be different reasons for not imposing a use tax on people moving into the state: 1) that exemption could be provided to individuals simply to give people a break, but the tax might still apply to businesses that move into the state; 2) the state might be concerned with interstate commerce issues and just wants to play it safe and not do anything that would/could interfere with a person's ability to move between states; 3) generally speaking, a state might just think it's bad policy to impose use tax on people moving to the state. None of those reasons, though, mean that a state is prohibited from imposing use tax at all. There are constitutional limits on what can be taxed and self-imposed limits, so just because one transaction isn't taxed (or perhaps is prohibited from being taxed) doesn't mean that certain other transactions may not be taxed.

This isn't entirely on point, but if an individual works away from home in another state, the individual still owes income tax to his home state on that income. That might appear to be taxing something that the state can't reach; however, the state will give a credit for any income tax paid to the state where the work was performed, and that means there is no multiple taxation and (generally speaking) means that there aren't any constitutional issues.


RE: taxes...
By Reclaimer77 on 5/19/2011 1:22:40 PM , Rating: 2
If you believe we can be taxed for "using" items in a state, not buying them, then you might as well say it's legal for them to tax us for breathing in their state as well. Or how about a farting tax?

I mean come on. Why are you making this so complicated when it's really not? A use tax IS a sales tax, and that is clearly not within the powers granted to the states on interstate commerce.


RE: taxes...
By CliffClavin on 5/19/2011 1:39:44 PM , Rating: 2
Use tax is definitely very similar to and related to sales tax. Even if you consider them to be identical, there's nothing unconstitutional about a state taxing someone who takes title to and possession of an item in that state - title and possession passing constitutes a sale, and if the sale takes place in that state, it would make sense that the state can tax it. The state can't require the seller to colllect the tax if the seller does not have nexus, but that doesn't mean that tax isn't due on the sale.


Amazon is right
By gamerk2 on 5/18/2011 10:50:34 AM , Rating: 2
Based on their cited Supreme Court case, Amazon is technically right; betweem the ICC and the cited case, Amazon could probably sue its way out of paying Sales Taxes in most states.




Consti-what?
By SiliconJon on 5/18/2011 10:57:14 AM , Rating: 2
What is this "Constitution" you speak of? Is that some sort of tin-foil hat lunacy?

- Jon in the USA




And so
By YashBudini on 5/18/2011 12:11:45 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
the Constitution prohibits states from interfering in interstate commerce.

Would that include setting up shop in the Cayman Islands or keeping revenues in Swiss bank accounts? Perhaps Amazon could try to create several dozen off shore subsidies. They can use Halliburton as an example.




Sick of this argument!
By Antioch18 on 5/18/2011 3:27:37 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
In addition, brick-and-mortar competitors like Best Buy, Wal-Mart and Sears are complaining that Amazon has an unfair advantage in the retail industry because of its refusal to charge taxes in certain states.


I'm sick of hearing this argument.

B&M stores have the advantage to consumers that they get their purchase *that day.* Not only must e-tail customers wait several days for their purchases, they must also pay shipping prices. So really it's no advantage, simply a trade-off that is rather equal.

The only advantage is that e-tailers are warehouses with fewer floor employees -- but Best Buy et al employees are as good as worthless IMO.




?
By digitalreflex on 5/18/2011 5:17:52 PM , Rating: 2
According to their logic, we should also charge Amazon an extra B&M Tax because their business model unfairly allows them to charge lower prices by not staffing people who don't know what they are selling. /sarcasm




Amazon taxing problem?
By croc on 5/18/2011 6:23:56 PM , Rating: 2
If I were amazon (or newegg, etc.), I'd just report totals purchased by individuals to their state of billing. If I recall, it is up to each of the states to collect taxes from its citizens, NOT amazon's responsibility. So, if the citizens are not paying their appropriate taxes, and the states are aware of this, then the state can take appropriate action.

Or, the US could just do away with the issue, institute a GST or VAT type of tax, then dribble out what the gov't thinks is fair to each state...




Agree
By KOOLTIME on 5/19/2011 3:26:58 PM , Rating: 2
I have to agree with his assessment here, as each state has enabled their own current tax laws, those laws were done by the people of each state they live in.

So as people we do decide our laws and what laws we live by. Each decide what state sales taxes or not to have, why should the federal government seek to override what the people in there towns already decided to live by.

Why are other businesses off the hook, when the do the same business, just because they are smaller ?? no money for some greedy lawyer / politician to get rich off from. Amazon is big so can afford larger legal pay outs, is all this really is. If they imposed this on a small business that sells just like amazon, they would be out of business.

Surprisingly though we see none of the smaller businesses included in this actions. Picking out 1 large company is not legal for taxation laws. have to impose it by state which means every person and or business has to follow. there is 10's of thousands of online businesses that do the same practice amazon does, why are none of them included ?

Aka its the frivolous go after money trick. They cant impose this on a small business as it would just put them out of business, and they lawyers and politicization wouldn't make any money off it, and only make them look bad going after a small guy. But going after big businesses, is ok to do right, while all the thousands of others businesses are free of this harassment. Thats unjust and unfair in its totality. Cant have tax law for a state and only go after 1 company, amazon is not the only e-tailor in the USA that sells in the same taxation schemes. either include everyone business wise or dont do it all. Picking 1 big business to milk for money in a bad economy is not really smart idea.




My opinion for what its worth
By RedemptionAD on 5/18/2011 10:46:04 AM , Rating: 1
I think it would be fair for Amazon and other etailers to pay a flat 1% sales tax from states that they do not have a "residence" in.




No no..
By icanhascpu on 5/18/2011 7:21:56 PM , Rating: 1
Income tax is unconstitutional. You, Amazon CEO, pay your fucking taxes. I dont want to see anyone huge ass corporations bitching about whats constitutional.




Level playing field
By casteve on 5/18/11, Rating: -1
RE: Level playing field
By tigz1218 on 5/18/2011 11:19:16 AM , Rating: 2
"Wonder why your state is running a deficit? Reduction of revenues from sales tax is part of it."

It's called cash flow. Our government no matter how much it raises taxes, has yet to learn to spend less than the amount of cash coming in. If you don't control spending it doesn't matter how much you raise taxes. Same thing can apply to obese Americans. If your calories in is more than your calories out you keep gaining wait.

Capice?


RE: Level playing field
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 5/18/2011 11:57:48 AM , Rating: 2
I think that is a logical fallacy (red herring, grounds shifting). The issue of paying ones taxes is not coupled with the issue of state budget deficits. Are you saying that if your state did not have a deficit, then you would pay these sales taxes? Decouple the issues.

Are states in the hole because they used the Excel trend line and thought revenues would increase forever? Yes. They should spend less.

Should one pay the state tax they are obligated to pay? Yes.

It seems like what Amazon is doing is correct and legal. We are all entitled to defend ourselves in court (that's in the Constitution in plain English.) They are taking the backlash for what their customers are NOT doing. Perhaps legislation should focus on etailers having to report sales per buyer per state. That is coming.


RE: Level playing field
By abhaxus on 5/18/2011 12:37:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Perhaps legislation should focus on etailers having to report sales per buyer per state. That is coming.


I believe North Carolina is trying this angle. I see it coming as well.


RE: Level playing field
By mvagusta on 5/18/2011 4:08:33 PM , Rating: 2
sorry but it is not as black and white. The only reason states are taking this approach in trying to force Amazon to collect state sales tax is because the spending beast of state government needs to be fed. It all comes down to enforceability. It is not on Amazon to collect sales tax if they do not have a nexus in the state, plain and simple. It is on the citizen to report it with their taxes. I for one, will not "perform my civic duty" and make it easier for my already heavily-taxed state to extract more of my money with a hefty 9% sales tax. If they cannot figure out a legal and constitutional way to effectively collect it, than it is unenforceable for the 95+ percent of us that don't report it. The issue of government corruption and overspending is tied to this issue, because I feel no moral obligation to make it easier for the state to squeeze more of my hard earned money just so it can get fed into public employee pensions, defunct public programs, and the otherwise black hole of public spending. It is as simple as that. If we in California were not some of the most taxed citizens in the country, and if our govt didn't pour most of the public treasury to pay for public employee unions, then perhaps I would opt to report my online purchases.


RE: Level playing field
By YashBudini on 5/20/2011 1:14:55 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's called cash flow.

Sigh, it's both. Cash flow and loss of revenue. Cash flow is what sparks the action, loss of revenue has been occurring for years but tolerated during good times.


RE: Level playing field
By AntiM on 5/18/2011 11:33:53 AM , Rating: 3
In my state, we already pay state income tax. We pay a gasoline tax and sales tax for items purchased at B&M stores. I also pay a yearly property tax and a vehicle tax. There are also the fees we pay for various things such as state inspection and licence tag renewal fees every year. States are making plenty of money, they just aren't managing it properly.


RE: Level playing field
By DigitalFreak on 5/18/2011 1:37:32 PM , Rating: 2
+4


RE: Level playing field
By KOOLTIME on 5/19/2011 5:14:17 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with you on this for sure, California is one of the most heaviest taxed states we have, and also has one of the largest populations and the most money over any other state, and its the most resource rich state in our country as well, yet we are in the worst debt of all state.

Someone is stealing outta the cookie jar and its not the working class taxpayers or companies like amazon, as they are just being used as a scape goat here.

No real freedom, when all they want is tax money thats not balanced in the 1st place. Saying fair for 1 state and not another is not equality or freedom, dependent upon which state boarder a person lives.


"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan














botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki