Print 117 comment(s) - last by Ammohunt.. on Apr 29 at 3:36 PM

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

When it comes to internet purchases, you're supposed to individually list them on your yearly tax return and then pay back sales taxes to the state.  Of course, few people do this.  Now the government of North Carolina and other states are battling and other e-tailers to get these records. this week filed suit against the North Carolina state government -- specifically, the Department of Revenue (DOR) -- claiming that the state's demand for records of virtually every North Carolina resident who has purchased anything from Amazon since 2003 was not only unreasonable, but a violation of privacy.

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

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

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

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

Comments     Threshold

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein

Most Popular ArticlesAre you ready for this ? HyperDrive Aircraft
September 24, 2016, 9:29 AM
Leaked – Samsung S8 is a Dream and a Dream 2
September 25, 2016, 8:00 AM
Yahoo Hacked - Change Your Passwords and Security Info ASAP!
September 23, 2016, 5:45 AM
A is for Apples
September 23, 2016, 5:32 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki