backtop


Print 57 comment(s) - last by Regected.. on Jul 14 at 1:35 PM


  (Source: csmonitor.com)
The attorney general's office received a petition last Friday, which will require 434,000 voter signatures to qualify for the ballot

Amazon's stance on the collection of sales tax on goods sold over the internet has been clear from day one: it's not going to happen. But a new law in the state of California may change Amazon's mind real fast, or cause it to cut ties to the state.

In the recent past, we've seen the online retailer cut ties with states like Texas, where Texas State Comptroller Susan Combs charged Amazon $269 million in unpaid sales taxes, and Illinois, where Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) introduced a bill called the Main Street Fairness Act, which would force Amazon to collect sales tax. 

Last month, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that would require websites that forward shoppers to Amazon to collect sales tax in California. The law is expected to generate $200 million in revenue, and prompted Amazon to threaten to leave California-based affiliates. 

Now, Amazon is asking California voters to repeal the new law. The attorney general's office received a petition last Friday, which will require 434,000 voter signatures to qualify for the ballot. The attorney general's office will put together a title and summary for the petition. 

Amazon has said that it does not have to collect sales tax because of a 1992 Supreme Court decision that 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 those states. But between states looking for ways to offset large financial deficits and brick-and-mortar stores like Best Buy complaining about Amazon being unfair competition, Amazon is being pushed between a rock and a hard place. 

Website operators are already feeling the effect of the new law. Ken Rockwell, who operates a photography site called www.kenrockwell.com in California, said online retailers have stopped doing business with him because of the new law. 

"I'm trying to figure out some other payment scheme," said Rockwell. "That business model went away. I've got to look for new business models." 

Currently, Amazon only collects sales tax in Kansas, Kentucky, New York, North Dakota and Washington.



Comments     Threshold


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

Tax for what?
By Hakuryu on 7/12/2011 2:04:34 PM , Rating: 5
I mainly shop online. Not because of tax, because it's easy, I can do it in my underwear if I wanted to, I don't get pressured by salespeople, I don't have to wait in a line for 15 minutes, I'm not getting 1/2 of a tree's worth of paper in receipts, and many more reasons.

What I don't get is what exactly are they trying to tax online? When you go to a brick and mortar, you are using public roads, expect public service like Police if needed, and a tax seems fair for my use of the public assets.

But online, I'm using my PC over a service I pay for (and pay taxes for), over cables owned by private companies, and to top it off I'm creating jobs for those sites and the USPS... what exactly am I being taxed for in this situation? Wear and tear on the air, cables are strung through?




RE: Tax for what?
By msheredy on 7/12/2011 2:13:17 PM , Rating: 2
After reading your take it actually made me think again on my view. I'd much rather pay taxes this way (completely voluntarily) vs having my income tax go up that's for sure. It's a crappy deal either way though because Cali needs the dough and I think this is one of the better ways of going about getting it.


RE: Tax for what?
By Mr772 on 7/12/2011 2:35:18 PM , Rating: 5
"because Cali needs the dough"

Correction: Cali needs to cut the state spending!


RE: Tax for what?
By The0ne on 7/12/2011 3:04:07 PM , Rating: 2
There is no correction. Both are correct. As with many states they need to cut and cut and stop spending like there's not tomorrow. Being correct, however, does not make it right. You don't want them to be comfortable in trying to get money any which way they can, no matter what.

If you live in CA, think hard about this issue, and vote! :) Review the post above about being tax for privileges vs being tax for no apparent reason except money in the governments pockets.


RE: Tax for what?
By mmc4587 on 7/13/2011 7:44:05 PM , Rating: 2
I submit for your consideration the state of Illinois.
State revenue has nearly DOUBLED in the past 10 years!
At the turn of the century IL total revenue was $70 bill.

2010 fiscal year:
$211,624,095,291.00 = Appropriated
$130,983,956,575.31 = Revinue
$ 67,159,783,227.69 = Debt
http://www.ioc.state.il.us/

quote:

Illinois State Comptroller [written by] Daniel W. Hynes
Jul 9, 2011 ... CHICAGO – Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka on Monday announced the launch of a new office website that includes easy-to-access state ...
www.ioc.state.il.us/


Unfortunately this 'new' website does not allow me to pull data from before 2009... whereas before it did, hmm !$@*%!

Perhaps someone else knows how to retrieve that data and can help me out with verifiable numbers?


RE: Tax for what?
By mmc4587 on 7/13/2011 8:05:06 PM , Rating: 2
PS

The Federal Constitution of the United States of America contains a Free Trade agreement between all States of the Union. TAXES & TARIFFS ON INTERSTATE COMMERCE IS A FEDERAL CRIME!

Imagine how unstable our nation would become if states were constantly in a political battle against each other over to maintain interstate diplomacy and trade agreements...


RE: Tax for what?
By Regected on 7/14/2011 1:35:56 PM , Rating: 2
In the 1920's, the US stopped being a country of self governing states cooperating and became a single large entity controlled by a few. States have slowly lost the power, which was given to the states by the US Constitution, to decide for itself how to govern. There are more people tried for federal crimes now days because the federal government has been over reaching its power and passing unconstitutional laws.


RE: Tax for what?
By qdemn7 on 7/12/2011 2:15:10 PM , Rating: 2
So if all shopping is done online, thus no taxes are collected for Police, roads and the like, then how are those services going to be paid for? By a state income tax? By a Federal VAT tax?


RE: Tax for what?
By TheDoc9 on 7/12/2011 2:18:18 PM , Rating: 2
In the hypothetical world of worst case scenario's that will never happen - Yes, the tax structure would actually have to be changed.

Oh, but welcome to reality.


RE: Tax for what?
By DN23 on 7/12/2011 2:32:20 PM , Rating: 3
They set up a false argument, that says that there isn't enough money so we have to raise taxes to raise revenue. What needs to happen first is that they need to stop spending so much money! We are their bosses, we give them their jobs and we pay their salaries. What they are doing is like any of us going into our boss' office demanding a raise because we have severely leveraged outselves in debt and need a raise to survive. We would not recieve the raise and neither should they!


RE: Tax for what?
By Fracture on 7/12/2011 2:44:34 PM , Rating: 2
Roads and telephone lines existed before the internet so arguing that this additional revenue will make a difference is not just wrong, it borders on stupid.

Online commerce saves on wear and tear on roads, alleviates congestion issues, and better serves free market enterprise. Just because brick and mortar stores have to pay for their costs doesn't mean that everyone else has to. Adapt the business model to the changing environment or die.

But Amazon is right, based on the Supreme Court ruling (that was focused on mail-order companies). The company has no duty to any state to collect sales tax until federal legislation is passed to address it and laws like the one in California are unconstitutional (based on Article I, Section 8, Clause 3).


RE: Tax for what?
By Reclaimer77 on 7/12/2011 2:56:42 PM , Rating: 3
There's a mountain of legal precedence on Amazons side. Every attempt to force a mail order (online) retailer to collect individuals taxes for a state government has been shot down by Federal Judges. As recently as this year a ruling was upheld.

Only the Federal Government has that power, not the commies in California.


RE: Tax for what?
By Spuke on 7/13/2011 12:37:00 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
There's a mountain of legal precedence on Amazons side.
Amazon is not required to collect any state taxes in CA nor are they going to. Basically, Amazon had some third party companies that resided in CA that sell their products through Amazon. The state gov wanted Amazon to collect tax because those companies resided in CA. Well, Amazon does not have to collect taxes in CA nor can CA force them to no mater how many laws they pass. Amazon cut ties with those companies, effectively putting 125,000 people out of work (number came from state Senator George Runner who is on the state board of equalization...they collect taxes in CA...BTW, he thinks the law is asinine).


RE: Tax for what?
By Bad-Karma on 7/13/2011 1:39:57 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Amazon had some third party companies that resided in CA that sell their products through Amazon. The state gov wanted Amazon to collect tax because those companies resided in CA.


It goes a bit deeper than just taxing those CA resident companies. What the CA law proposes and several other states have attempted is to use the in state affiliates as a way to latch the tax onto Amazon's total company income.

That and the fact that it could be an absolute nightmare trying to calculate taxes for each state, county, and city that your product transact.

If you get mugged by a group, you don't take your wallet out and divide it out amongst the group, You hand it to the guy closest too you and they distribute it out to each other later. That's a service they provide.


RE: Tax for what?
By lightfoot on 7/12/2011 2:51:24 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
What they are doing is like any of us going into our boss' office demanding a raise because we have severely leveraged outselves in debt

You're not thinking like a liberal. You're entitled to that raise because... um, well... you deserve it! And you'll spend the money in the economy (or China's via WalMart) instead of saving or investing it like those damned "rich" people do.

You should form a union with all your coworkers, and demand that raise that you "deserve."

If you are still denied you should protest and walkout. Under no circumstance should you ever get more skills, work harder or start your own business. If those greedy bastards don't like it, then they can just take their business to China! That'll show 'em!


RE: Tax for what?
By Dr of crap on 7/12/2011 3:06:43 PM , Rating: 3
+1 - priceless!


RE: Tax for what?
By VinceCL on 7/12/2011 4:40:29 PM , Rating: 2
++1

You summed up most of what's wrong with this country with that single post.

Well done.


RE: Tax for what?
By Solandri on 7/12/2011 4:43:18 PM , Rating: 2
California already has one of the highest state tax burdens in the country. They rank 11th out of the 50 states at $3154.06 per capita vs. a national average of $2493.45. And that's just the state - most California counties and cities also levy their own taxes. Normalizing for cost of living (personal income per capita) doesn't help their case either - they're still 12th out of 50 states at 7.39% vs. a national average of 6.7%.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_tax_levels

That they still have a huge budget shortfall (both in raw dollars and as a percent of total budget) should tell you that the tax structure and amount of tax revenue they're collecting is not their problem. They are already collecting far in excess of what most states need to maintain their infrastructure and services.
http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=711


RE: Tax for what?
By ClownPuncher on 7/12/2011 3:11:07 PM , Rating: 4
Sales tax doesn't (shouldn't) really cover things like roads and police. Property tax, licenses, gas tax and the like do.

There is no reason for a WA company to be a tax collector for the state of CA.


RE: Tax for what?
By Calin on 7/13/2011 2:28:19 AM , Rating: 2
Road taxes would be collected from fuel costs - why would people that don't use a car pay for road maintenance?
The City Police would be paid by the City, the highway Police by highway permits (or fuel taxes).
And so on. Stop taking my money for things I don't use, or have a need for.


RE: Tax for what?
By TheDoc9 on 7/12/2011 2:16:13 PM , Rating: 1
Yep, it's as if the government is living in 'stupid land'. They've got the lessons from history, and they've got public opinion (which is who they're working for). AND YET THEY STILL FUCK EVERYTHING UP.


RE: Tax for what?
By aharris02 on 7/12/2011 2:24:41 PM , Rating: 2
Wait, public opinion still affects government?


RE: Tax for what?
By Reclaimer77 on 7/12/2011 2:31:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
But online, I'm using my PC over a service I pay for (and pay taxes for), over cables owned by private companies, and to top it off I'm creating jobs for those sites and the USPS... what exactly am I being taxed for in this situation? Wear and tear on the air, cables are strung through?


Exactly. The "use tax" is a fictional construct to get around Constitutional constraints prohibiting states taxing out of state sales. Something that only the Federal Government has the power to regulate according to our Constitution.

I like your post because you are asking questions, good and solid ones. You are trying to make sense out of that which makes no sense. When you apply simple logic and common sense to the problem, your post cuts to the very core of the issue.

Internet taxation is not only ethically wrong, but legally as well.

p.s. waits for Motoman to start up the same old argument again.


RE: Tax for what?
By rudy on 7/12/2011 4:55:11 PM , Rating: 2
Taxes are complicated often a tax starts out to deter people from doing something or to pay for 1 item but quickly becomes a source of revenue for manything things. I would say your roads should be covered by your gas tax not sales taxes. Property taxes cover local things, sales tax is more for general state use like state wide schools and such. Regardless of what they are actually used for the state needs money to operate and for many years most have used the sales tax to do alot of that. Online stores take this away and even convince people to buy things that are far away rather than close for the same price just to save the sales tax. In the end this will need to be resolved some how. If you are not willing to pay sales tax you must decide which tax you are willing to pay.

So which is it?


RE: Tax for what?
By rudy on 7/12/2011 4:56:47 PM , Rating: 2
BTW one of the things I could see happening is some sort of shipping tax where packages are taxed based on mass or shipping cost or something. Perhaps it will be a special shipping sales tax that may have an instate waiver or something.


RE: Tax for what?
By Solandri on 7/12/2011 4:58:49 PM , Rating: 2
California charges sales tax on shipping and handling.


RE: Tax for what?
By Reclaimer77 on 7/12/2011 5:12:45 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
California charges sales tax on shipping and handling.


California charges a tax on EVERYTHING, and they are still broke. Go figure....


RE: Tax for what?
By Reclaimer77 on 7/12/2011 5:10:40 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
often a tax starts out to deter people from doing something


Which is wrong and was never intended. Why the HELL would you want to "deter" commerce?

quote:
Regardless of what they are actually used for the state needs money to operate and for many years most have used the sales tax to do alot of that.


There isn't a state in the country with a tax income problem. They have a SPENDING problem. The solution isn't to just tax the hell out of everyone to keep expanding spending programs going.

quote:
Online stores take this away and even convince people to buy things that are far away rather than close for the same price just to save the sales tax.


B.S! I've never had an online retailer even mention taxes, let alone use that as a sales pitch. And who cares how "close" something is? If I'm content to have it mailed to me for a lesser price, that's my prerogative. And if I buy something for the "same price", then I didn't shop around very well. Regardless, nothing is wrong or criminal in this.

Get this through your head, all of you, we do NOT have a moral obligation to pay as many taxes to our government as possible. Look at the Constitution and how many pages and Articles are designed to PROTECT citizens FROM excessive taxation.


RE: Tax for what?
By CZroe on 7/12/2011 5:01:53 PM , Rating: 2
Not that I agree with the tax (I don't), but I don't understand why they are distinguishing online sales from other forms of mail-order. Either make a mail-order tax or don't. There's no reason to single out online retailers when you have phone and catalog sales and Shop-at-Home TV commercials still doing their business without sales tax.


RE: Tax for what?
By MobiusStrip on 7/12/2011 8:43:14 PM , Rating: 2
Sales tax isn't collected to mitigate your use of roads or other public resources. It's simply to collect general revenue. If pressed, I'm sure public officials would claim that it covers the licensing, inspection, and other bureaucracy associated with having businesses operating in the state. But of course, I'm sure the businesses are assessed fees specifically for these things too. One example is the ridiculous $800 fee that California charges you to simply start a business. You don't get anything for that money. It's just a rip-off.

The fact is, however, that states are losing vast amounts of money because everybody buys online now. It's also not fair to proprietors of real shops.

The trouble is that interstate taxation is illegal, and this dates back to the earliest days of our country. This patchwork of state laws amounts to de-facto interstate taxation, which is a matter for the federal government. Amazon should've filed suit in federal court and had this resolved nationwide.


RE: Tax for what?
By Reclaimer77 on 7/12/2011 10:02:52 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
The fact is, however, that states are losing vast amounts of money because everybody buys online now.


Lie.


RE: Tax for what?
By Spuke on 7/13/2011 11:21:12 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The fact is, however, that states are losing vast amounts of money because everybody buys online now. It's also not fair to proprietors of real shops.
Same argument that was used on mail order catalogs back in the day and they're now protected by a federal law and backed up by precedent. Online retailers are the same as mail order catalogs in that they are NOT required to collect state taxes if they do not reside in that state. In Amazon's home state they DO collect state taxes.


"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997














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