Print 35 comment(s) - last by The Raven.. on Oct 15 at 12:39 PM

NC gonna get paid, privacy be damned
NC wants names, addresses, and products purchased for all NC amazon customers

One of the longest running battles between states and online sellers has been the desire for states to capture sales tax revenue on purchases made by its residents. As it is today, taxes are not automatically recovered by a company online unless it has a physical presence in the buyer's home state. State residents, however, are supposed to report these purchases on their state tax returns.

One of the states pressing the sales tax issue the hardest is North Carolina. NC filed a suit against online giant Amazon in April of 2010 seeking to recover what it claims to be $50 million in sales taxes that were not paid by citizens on purchases dating back to 2003. Amazon sued NC in an effort to block the request by the state for Amazon to turn over information about the buying habits of people living in NC on grounds that the information would violate the user's privacy.

Amazon and its customers in NC are getting some help in the legal suit by the ACLU with the group set to go to court this week in Seattle. The ALCU will fight the state's request for specifics on what NC customers purchased online, including names and addresses of the buyers. According to the NC Revenue Department, it, for example, is not seeking specifics about what book a customer purchased, but only wants to know if the customer purchased a book or a CD.

Amazon states that it has already provided the state with purchase details as requested without providing any information about what each of the customers actually purchased. Amazon says that if it turns over names and addresses of the NC residents who made purchases that the state would be able to link the buyer to a specific product purchased.

The ACLU wrote in a statement, "The American Civil Liberties Union will be in federal court in Seattle Wednesday, October 13 to argue that requests by the North Carolina Department of Revenue (NCDOR) for detailed information about purchases made by customers are unconstitutional because they violate Internet users' rights to free speech, anonymity and privacy."

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RE: Wow.
By FITCamaro on 10/13/2010 12:11:28 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. You are supposed to pay the tax on anything bought online. Few people do. Don't complain if your state tries to collect that lost tax revenue. Now they shouldn't need anything more than who you are and what you paid for the item so they can determine the tax. But any other information they shouldn't need.

RE: Wow.
By Flahrydog on 10/13/2010 1:05:50 PM , Rating: 2
I assume they want to know the type of item to determine if it is actually subject to sales tax. In MA, you do not pay sales tax on clothes or food. Without this information, the state would not only be taxing people who bought food or clothes from Amazon (which they aren't allowed to do), but also everyone could claim that they bought food or clothes (even if they bought a book or cd).

That is not to say I am for Amazon giving out this information, because I am not. But that is my take on the states reason.

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