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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 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.

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By VinceCL on 7/12/2011 3:03:39 PM , Rating: 3
Even though someone buys something online, unless it magically appears on your doorstep, all of the infrastructure that is supposedly avoided is still used, just not by you, at your behest.

UPS drives on the roads, buys gas, burns the gas, so on and so forth...

In Texas, if Amazon doesn't want to collect the taxes, it is ultimately not their responsibility. If the seller does not collect the tax, it is the duty of the buyer to submit the proper amount of tax to the proper authority.

Here's the tax code wording:
Acts 1981, 67th Leg., p. 1569, ch. 389, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1982. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 486, Sec. 2.02, eff. Sept. 1, 1994.

Sec. 151.403. WHO MUST FILE A REPORT. (a) A person subject to the sales tax shall file a tax report.

(b) A retailer engaged in business in this state as provided by Section 151.107 of this code shall file a tax report with respect to the use tax.

(c) A person who acquires a taxable item, the storage, use, or consumption of which is subject to the use tax, shall file a tax report if the person did not pay the use tax to a retailer.

Of course, each state's laws differ, but we don't have an excuse in Texas.

I imagine that it is much more convenient for the states to go after Amazon instead of going after their own citizens.

RE: ?
By Dr of crap on 7/12/2011 3:11:29 PM , Rating: 2
MAYBE they should go after ALL those that buy from Amazon and collect the taxes owed?!!?

Think of all the jobs that would create? And then those people with the new jobs would pay more taxes and the taxes just keep rolling.....

RE: ?
By tng on 7/12/2011 3:19:47 PM , Rating: 3
UPS drives on the roads, buys gas, burns the gas,
Yeah, UPS already pays an income tax on profit, tax on gas they use, property tax on buildings they own in the area, etc.....

So why do they need more tax money? Looks like they are getting a little from almost everything already.

Also didn't Amazon pull out of TX and planned expansion in TX because TX wanted to charge them a bunch of taxes? How many jobs went away because of that?

RE: ?
By VinceCL on 7/12/11, Rating: 0
RE: ?
By thisisaname on 7/13/2011 5:10:24 PM , Rating: 2
That's what vehicle licensing fees pay for, the use of roads! UPS has to license their vehicles like everyone else.

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