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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard

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