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This amount is strictly for the September-December 2012 quarter

Some U.S. states -- like California -- are starting to see new revenue from sales tax on internet purchases from the likes of Amazon.

The California Board of Equalization said it made $96.4 million in sales tax on internet commerce from September-December 2012, which is the first full quarter that the state started collecting. This is good news for the California Department of Finance, which has a forecast budget goal of $107 million in new e-taxes for the fiscal year starting July 1, 2012.

While these numbers look great for the state of California, they're a bit off from the estimates provided by a 2009 University of Tennessee study that said California would make $1.9 billion in 2012 revenue if it collected online sales tax. It also said states would miss out on $11.4 billion in 2012 revenue nationwide if they failed to collect online sales tax.

As of right now, Amazon collects sales tax in nine states (including California) and will collect in seven more over the next year.

Georgia is one the most recent to collect online sales tax. Amazon started collecting sales tax in Texas in July 2012, and California and Pennsylvania in September 2012.

Amazon has been fighting states that force it to collect sales tax for years (except in Kansas, Kentucky, New York, North Dakota and Washington). The e-tailer fled many states that attempted to force tax collection on the company, such as California and Illinois. 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, the issue swelled.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said many times that his company would agree to collect taxes if there were some sort of federal legislation.

But eventually, Amazon finally broke down and started collecting sales tax in certain states, which allowed it to build more distribution centers within those states. For instance, Amazon announced that it would collect sales tax in New Jersey last May so that two Amazon distribution centers could be built. This led to faster shipping for customers, such as Amazon's same-day delivery program, making it more competitive than ever.

But earlier this month, Amazon and challenged a New York law passed in 2008, which forces companies with affiliates within the state to collect sales tax. However, Amazon said this law is unconstitutional because a 1992 Supreme Court decision said retailers that don't have a nexus of operation in a state does not need to collect sales tax. While New York said that websites with purchase buttons for Amazon as well as other national retailers are local solicitors because they receive fees for doing so, Amazon said argued that web referrals are less like solicitors or a local sales force and are more like advertising. 

Source: Reuters

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RE: Grats!
By PontiusP on 2/21/2013 1:52:13 PM , Rating: 2
"Yeah, it's a lot more complex than debt is good/bad."

Actually, it's a bit more complex than you described. In the current world monetary system, getting out of debt is not an option. Money is a function of debt. All of the money in the world is borrowed into existence and is extinguished when it's paid off. That is, money == debt. No debt, no money. The interest the world pays is for the privilege of having the money to trade with in the first place.

It's a concept that is so prevalent, yet so few seem to grasp, even as evidenced on a message board like this with above average intelligence posters. I strongly advise watching the documentaries Money As Debt, parts I and II. They convey the concept in a straightforward manner.

Unless you are talking about monetary reform (which IMHO is *the* issue of our times), then you are not seriously considering getting out of debt. Under the current system, being debt free is a physical and mathematical impossibility.

RE: Grats!
By Solandri on 2/21/2013 2:00:05 PM , Rating: 2
In the current world monetary system, getting out of debt is not an option. Money is a function of debt. All of the money in the world is borrowed into existence and is extinguished when it's paid off.

That's not really a fair characterization of how it works.

Money is a representation of productivity. When productivity increases (via technological improvements or better distribution of goods - e.g. dairy farmer and apple farmer agree to swap milk for apples), the money supply has to be increased to keep its representation proportional to actual productivity. You increase the money supply by issuing debt, which creates more money.

Unfortunately, governments have figured out that they can create the appearance of increased productivity by increasing debt. This results in increased inflation (money is worth less). In strictly neutral terms, money is still a representation of productivity, it's just that the ratio of dollars to a fixed unit of productivity has changed.

RE: Grats!
By PontiusP on 2/21/2013 2:11:13 PM , Rating: 2

I think you are on the right track:

"You increase the money supply by issuing debt, which creates more money."

I understand how debt issuance works, and obviously so do you. Ditto for inflation.

But my problem with the current system is that money cannot exist without debt. I would prefer that money be a representation of value, for the productivity you mentioned, rather than being a liability that must be paid off. Remember, when it's paid off, it's extinguished. True, value-based money would exist perpetually, it would simply be "there" forever. Could you imagine the productivity and stability we'd see if the entire world wasn't continually obsessing over, and dedicating futile effort to, its debt burden?

I stand by my original point, no debt == no money. We need serious monetary reform. Give those documentaries I mentioned a try, it'll help explain.

RE: Grats!
By Felthis on 2/22/2013 9:30:36 AM , Rating: 2
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