New York State To Start Taxing Amazon Purchases

One of the budget-related changes voted in last week by New York State’s politicians included a new “Amazon tax”:

“Another $50 million will come from requiring online retailers like Amazon that do not have a physical presence in New York to collect sales taxes on purchases made by New Yorkers and remit them to the state.

New York’s argument, based on a reading of the 1992 Quill vs. North Dakota U.S. Supreme Court ruling, is that because Amazon makes sales through affiliates who live in the state, it can be considered to have a physical presence there—which means the new law wouldn’t apply to retailers who don’t use affiliate programs.

Oddly, until now New York residents have been asked to voluntarily provide their total sum of online purchases on their state tax forms in order to estimate a tax payment, but InternetNews wrly notes it “evidently has fallen short” of the expected revenue goals set by the state.

Although there’s likely to be a legal challenge to the law, it’s also possible that other states will use it as a model to levy their own sales taxes whenever there’s an affiliate presence in-state. In the near future, at least, it looks like New Yorkers will soon have to start paying sales tax on Amazon purchases.

“Legislators Back Spending Rise in State’s Budget” [New York Times] (Thanks to Andres!)
“‘Amazon Tax’ Lands in New York” [InternetNews]

RELATED
“Amazon Doesn’t Love New York Tax Plan” [InternetNews]
(Cat: izarbeltza)

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. ecwis says:
  2. ByeBye says:

    Isn’t this ILLEGAL?! I thought web site purchases are TAX EXEMPT? I understand the “argument” of some of the “stores” having a “physical” location – but what about the Amazon sellers that don’t? I mean, seriously – this is FUCKED up. Glad I don’t live in NY, that’s all I’m saying.

  3. ecwis says:

    @TheManator: Uh no, why would online purchases be tax exempt? However, this is likely illegal since Amazon does not have any physical locations in the state of NY. I can be that Amazon will take this to court.

  4. ecwis says:

    @ecwis: bet*

  5. uricmu says:

    @TheManator:

    Actually, anything you don’t report as “use tax” is something on which you are illegally not paying state tax.

    People don’t report use tax because they assume that it never gets reported to the state or that the state would not come after them, and indeed, nobody does.

    However, if most people count up online purchases over the year: say, a few CDs, a few clothing articles, some DVD box sets, Christmas presents, maybe a few video games and even a gaming console or a new digital camera, not even talking about a computer or stuff like that, it adds up to at least a grand. On average, each state would make about 60-70$ if you reported it, and aggregated over the population it’s a lot.

  6. Tzepish says:

    @TheManator: Sales tax is required for online purchases if the retailer has a physical presence in your state. I already pay tax on amazon.com items because I’m in WA.

  7. ConsumptionJunkie says:

    I love how the Consumerist always has cat images whenever there is a story on taxes.

  8. TechnoDestructo says:

    Does this apply only to purchases FROM Amazon, or purchases from other sellers VIA Amazon? Because if I’m selling shit on Amazon, I sure the hell don’t have any affiliates in NY.

  9. differcult says:

    LOL Good luck new york

  10. mzs says:

    @uricmu: Hrumph, the ‘use tax’ always gets me. If it is a use tax, how come I don’t have to pay it on items I use and bought in the the same state (coincidentally paying sales tax on it)? And how come the use tax rate just conveniently happens to be the same as the state general sales tax rate? Yeah use tax is just a fancy sales tax so that if you live near another state you can’t take advantage of tax rate differences.

    BTW, in my last home the village and zip code I was in was in three different counties each with a different sakes tax. Also each with different sales taxes on different items like groceries and clothing. Yeah this is going to be really easy to pull off for amazon.

  11. cmdrsass says:

    If only NY government could be as creative in finding ways to control their bloated budgets! Easier to put their hands out again, I suppose. Does anyone doubt that this new revenue stream will be wasted?

  12. humorbot says:

    What tax bracket is that cat in? He seems very alarmed.

  13. StevieD says:

    Most state tax auditors have a personal office at your local jewelry store. States love chasing use tax violators. It is easy money and often well worth the effort as the use tax on a highend jewelry can easily top 1,000′s or even 10,000′s of $.

  14. lonewolf333 says:

    Is the tax only for Amazon.com, or is it just of everything you buy online.

  15. Quippish says:

    Huh, I thought Amazon already did charge sales tax in NY for some reason.

    The “Use Tax” if ludicrous as it’s completely unenforceable. It’s supposed to apply to purchases on Indian Reservations as well.

  16. JustAGuy2 says:

    The law (as stated by the Supreme Court in Quill, as noted in the post) says that, if a company has a physical presence in your state, they have to collect your state’s sales tax from sales to people in your state.

    If the company’s doesn’t have a physical presence, it doesn’t have to collect the tax, but you still owe it – you’re just responsible for writing the state a check, rather than having the store pay the tax on your behalf. Needless to say, the number of people who actually write this check is, uh, limited, hence the state’s desire to force more online retailers to collect the tax.

  17. petrarch1608 says:

    Oregon is the best state ever. No sales tax, and any politicians who float a sales tax basically commit political suicide.

  18. magic8ball says:

    What happens if I buy an item in another state, pay sales tax on it at the point of purchase, then take the item back to my homes state and use it there? Am I supposed to pay sales tax on it again in my home state?

  19. youbastid says:

    @TheManator: I don’t live in NY, and I’m very concerned. Other states often follow NY’s lead. Remember when you could smoke in bars?

  20. gewdtimes says:

    I hope CA doesn’t do this anytime soon. Only reason I buy things from Amazon is because of no tax and free 2 day shipping w/ Amazon Prime.

  21. spinachdip says:

    First, killing the congestion pricing, and now this.

    NYC seriously needs to secede from Albany.

  22. Diet-Orange-Soda says:

    @youbastid: Still can in Michigan. (But I don’t think the state has enough money to buy a pen to write the bill anyway.)

  23. spinachdip says:

    @magic8ball: Well, no. You pay the tax where you make your purchase. Otherwise, wouldn’t that amount to an interstate (and unconstitutional) tariff?

    Going off topic, if you go to Canada and bring shit back, then you may have to pay a duty for importing goods BUT you can get your Canadian sales tax refunded.

  24. Saydur says:

    If this is a tax on items that come from Amazon affiliates with NY physical presence, it makes sense. If it taxes the entirety of Amazon purchases, it’s just another attempt at taxation that the internet as a general whole has fought against to retain commercial viability in a number of goods and services.

    Meh. For everyone that complains about federal taxes, the states and local municipalities are far worse.

  25. spinachdip says:

    @youbastid: FWIW, California had the smoking ban four years before NY did.

  26. BStu says:

    @magic8ball: Actually, I think you are supposed to pay a use tax in your home state most of the time. BUT, you also can likely get a tax credit for the tax you paid at the point of purchase, so you’re not really paying the same tax twice. Just the higher of the two taxes. This isn’t a universal rule, though, so some people might technically owe a sales tax twice.

    Massachusetts actually has “safe harbor” voluntary payment option. You pay a standard amount determined by your income and the state clears you completely for that year. I think its a little high, myself, creating too little incentive for casual internet buyers to step up and pay. I think I get a lot online, but even for me, its borderline beneficial to pay the safe harbor tax. Nevertheless, one wonders if a well executed “safe harbor” law might be more financially beneficial to New York then trying to take Amazon to court to force them to collect New York State taxes.

  27. Katorok says:

    If Amazon just opened up a new warehouse in NY then this tax makes sense, if they didn’t then.. I don’t like where this is going..

  28. compuwarescc says:

    @magic8ball & BStu

    BStu is right as far as most states are concerned. If you buy something in a state with a lower sales tax, your state will (in most cases) “require” that you pay the difference.

    For example, if you buy something in Massachusetts at 5% State Sales Tax, and then return to your home state of Rhode Island, where the State Sales Tax is 7%, you owe the difference of 2% to Rhode Island.

    I know this because I live in Rhode Island. The state is actually quite clever in collecting, too… My dad bought a car in MA from a private citizen and when he registered it in RI, not only did he have to pay all 7% of the Sales Tax in order to register it, he had to pay 7% of the used dealer Kelly Blue Book sales price – a good $2400 higher than the actual sale price!

    PS: I hate sales & use tax.

  29. NDub says:

    Dear amazon,
    We are not able to enforce our laws, can you please do it for us?

    Thanks,
    New York.

  30. Major-General says:

    @BStu: I want credits from California for the things I bought in Oklahoma last year. Or for that matter, for the things I bought in Europe two years ago.

  31. pecheckler says:

    If you believe regular sales tax is justified but get upset at having to pay sales tax on an item purchased via the Internet, you are a stupid hypocrite.

  32. Trai_Dep says:

    Kitty be freaken because Amazon.com sells mouse vittles.

  33. Blinkman says:

    OH MAN CATS ARE SO FUNNY I’M GLAD THEY’RE IN THIS PICTURE!

  34. Concerned_Citizen says:

    @Katorok: Amazon opened one in Munster, IN. If this means Indiana can make them pay sales tax, that would be a joke. It’s not a store, it’s a warehouse for storing things to achieve quicker shipping. Why not charge a sales tax for every state a 18 wheeler passes through? Tax needs to be levied on the point of sale. Adding any more complication than that is just going to cause problems.

  35. DJC says:

    Oh great, way to be a trend setter NY. I hope the politicians in the other states (*cough* california) are smarter and listen to the people and leave the matter as is.

  36. Joedel263 says:

    it doesn’t need to be a ‘store’ it just has to have a presence (and the example of a shipping warehouse is moot as the items stored are shipped to consumers and therefore sold)

    from the getgo it seemed as though New York was targeting amazon.com. obviously there are other retailers that will be involved. (including anyone who sells on ebay..) but if it was just amazon who they wanted to go after.. offer the company a tax break to open an office in a closet somewhere in the state and then no one can argue..

  37. arcticJKL says:

    CA already has a ‘use tax’
    These taxes are illegal because one state can not tax sales in another nor can it tax property for crossing state lines.

  38. mikelotus says:

    @pecheckler: agreed, hate paying it, don’t want to pay it, but its inevitable. there is no reason why the internet purchases need to remain tax free. the justification of needing to help assure success of internet commerce no longer exists.

    @arcticJKL: states can’t tax alcohol, cigs and gas that cross state lines? yea, right.

  39. BobMarley1981 says:

    My main incentive for buying stuff online isn’t to avoid sales taxes, but to avoid having to get up off my butt to shop.

    Shipping costs pretty much eat up any savings made by not paying sales tax

    Also, I’d estimate that about 2/3 of my online purchases tacked on the sales tax anyways!

    So now I’m basicly guranteed to get double popped.

    Add in that it takes at least 5 days to receive anything. And unless you’re really brave, you can’t buy stuff that you really should be there at the point of purchase to try out (clothes, shoes, instruments, etc.)

    The slight, online shopping edge is really diminished now that taxes are guranteed to be paid.

    New York is a dying state, and hooker-loving-governors are the least of our worries.

  40. goodcow says:

    Maybe I’m wrong, but why are people making a big deal out of this?

    Amazon will laugh and say “no, we’re not implementing this, see you in court,” and it’ll drag out for years and years.

  41. chiieddy says:

    @youbastid: Your state already likely requires you to declare your untaxed purchases on your income tax form (unless your state doesn’t charge sales tax ala New Hampshire). In MA, you can try to remember what your bought or pick the safe harbor figure at .005 * your AGI.

  42. Concerned_Citizen says:

    @mikelotus: I wouldn’t be so sure. Unless all sites eat the shipping, you are paying that extra fee. Tax will make the internet more expensive.

  43. Interesting article about nexus (that’s what the connection is called), particularly with regard to commissioned salespeople:

    [www.catalogsuccess.com]

    Personally, I think this is a non-starter, particularly once the retailers get wind of it, since pay-for-performance referrals are so important to online retailing, but we’ll see. {ProfJonathan}

  44. JustAGuy2 says:

    @spinachdip:

    Actually, if your home state use tax is higher than the sales tax where you bought it, you’re supposed to pay the difference.

  45. bohemian says:

    The reason states are going after Amazon is because they are big. They want to eventually force this on every internet retailer. I don’t even want to imagine the burden this would put on tiny 1-2 person internet businesses to calculate and collect state sales tax x50 plus do the returns every month. Many states also have county and city calculations.

    The idea of taxing the internet on a state taxation basis is an idea hatched by petty dictators in state legislatures who think the internet is a bunch of tubes.

    Use tax was implemented when people used horse & buggy, it doesn’t work in todays world.

  46. scarysnow says:

    I am so tired of bailing out my government with my tax dollar.

  47. @Concerned_Citizen: You haven’t scratched the surface. In addition to the state sales tax (4%), there is a county sales tax that varies from county to county. We have 67 counties in New York. When you go to a regular store, that’s not a big problem, but when you buy a car in New York State, you get charged sales tax based on where you live, not where you bought the car. So the dealer has to look up the tax rate based on your zip code. This is to keep people from doing what they do with everything else, which is to shop in some other county where the sales tax is lower. It doesn’t matter when you buy a sweatshirt, but one point of sales tax on a $20,000 car is $200, and people will drive across the state to save $200.

  48. @scarysnow: I
    guess you’d rather move to a state with a reasonably functional state government. Good luck with that. I’ve lived in several states, and I have found the state governments in all of them to be quite dysfunctional. Albany is, alas, exceptionally so. They embody the worst anyone has ever said about Washington, except on a somewhat smaller scale.

    For example, we have pork barrel spending in Albany. The dollar amounts of the pork get allocated based on whether you are a member of the majority or minority party. Thus, the Assembly has been dominated by Democrats since the beginning of time, and the Senate has been dominated by Republicans (with a couple very brief breaks) since the beginning of time. Your ability to redirect tax dollars is determined by your politics, which perpetuates the parallel two-party system in Albany’s legislature. This also guarantees that congressional districts will be hopelessly gerrymandered, but I digress.

    Budgets are negotiated by “three men in a room,” those being the Governor, the Speaker of the Assembly, and the Senate majority leader. The budget is due on April 1st, but it is taken for granted that it will be at least several weeks late every year, if not several months, depending on whether it’s an election year, or whether one of the parties, usually the Governor decides to actually take the responsibilities of maintaining the state budget and suppressing pork barrel spending seriously that year. Unfortunately, the longer it takes to adopt a budget, the more time legislators have to insert yet more pork into the resulting bill. The more pork, the less any one item will be noticed, no matter how ridiculously frivolous it might be. So thousands of local projects that ought to be approved or disapproved by county supervisors or even village boards, end up being paid for with state money.

  49. zibby says:

    The New York State government doesn’t need more money. They need less. That aside, this pathetic grab ain’t likely to fly.

  50. quail says:

    States were vying for the catalog dollars back in the late 80′s and early 90′s. Thankfully they never succeeded back then.

    I don’t agree with their argument that because individual resellers live and work in NY it means that all of Amazon must collect sales tax for NY. But they’ll probably make it stick. It’s the same faulty logic that California uses to make professional athletes from other states pay CA income tax simply because they play one or two games there.

    And yea, NY State Government is some of the worst in the US. I wish all governments carried a law that Kansas has stating that the state budget will be submitted on time or the legislators face fines and criminal charges. (Or at least they had that one on the books at one time. I hope that KS still does that.)

  51. Starfury says:

    I live in CA and in Alameda county the tax rate is 8.75%. Because of this I do tend to shop online (Amazon/eBay) for electronics items/books. When I did my taxes there was a “use tax” line to account for anything I bought mail order. I figure for the amount of sales taxes they’re already getting from me for my family’s other expenses (gas, clothing) is enough. I’m not paying.

  52. bsalamon says:

    makes sense….
    Just read Pennoyer v. Neff, and everything will become clear regarding NY’s jurisdiction

  53. quail says:

    @spinachdip: Ahem, Albany is NYC’s little lap dog. Just ask the rest of the state who gets the tax dollars and who gets forgotten. The rest of NY State would love to let NYC succeed. Economic opportunity might actually start again for the rest of the state.

  54. BStu says:

    @Major-General: If you paid OKC’s higher sales tax, then you may have been eligible for a credit IF you paid CA’s sales tax. Indeed, you may not have needed to pay it all, but I can’t be certain of that. You may have been legally required to pay it twice, too.

    VAT is a seperate issue, though. Everything I found with my state indicated that they would not credit any Value Added Tax paid on a purchase when collecting a use tax on the item. I imagine most other places do the same.

    All this confusion and bitterness over sales taxes is pretty illuminating when you remember that Republicans have a habit of suggesting the solution to all of our problems are MORE sales taxes. I feel a lot better paying income taxes than I do sales/use taxes. Consumption taxation is inherently regressive having the greatest impact on those who make the least, and thus spend the highest percentage of their income.

  55. NewYorkNewYork10001 says:

    Hey Consumerist, it would be great if you could acquire the names of the “NY Politicians” who voted to approve of this “Amazon tax.” I for one want to know who NOT to vote for during the next election.

    So when Spitzer had his little tryst in Washington, did he have to pay a “use tax” back to NY?

  56. arcticJKL says:

    mikelotus – They can tax products they sell in their state no matter where they came from they can not tax things for crossing state lines or that were purchased in another state.

    Basically what we discovered under the Articles of Confederation is that states should not begin trade wars with each other.

  57. dmang88 says:

    @compuwarescc: Similar experience, I was moving from VA to PA, and if you purchase a car out of state and move to PA within 6 months of purchase, you are required to pay the difference in sales tax if greater. In my case, I just waited an extra 3 mos to
    register.

  58. Beerad says:

    “Amazon cat is worried about an audit.”

  59. vladthepaler says:

    So, one option for amazon would be to stop allowing New York affiliates.

  60. Beerad says:

    @quail: “Just ask the rest of the state who gets the tax dollars and who gets forgotten.”

    I’m comfortable with that question, as long as we can also ask who pays the most taxes and yet receives a smaller percentage of their tax dollars back from the state government in terms of spending! (Here’s a hint — it’s not Oswego County).

  61. @magic8ball: You either pay the difference between the two states tax rates OR you pay your state’s tax rate and file for a refund from the other state. I had to do it a couple times in college when I bought big ticket items in IN (at 5%) that I took back to IL (at 7%).

    (Boy, those were the days, stupid 9 3/4% central Illinois)

    In theory if you buy at 7% and take it home to the 5% state, you should get that 2% refunded. I’ve never lived in a state with lower taxes than its neighbors, though, so I wouldn’t know. :P

    It’s called “use” tax because it’s only interested in items you bring home to use. So, for example, if you go to college out of state but pay taxes back home, you don’t pay use tax on your textbooks because you use them where you bought them. Similarly, nobody cares about the “use tax” on that soda you drank on a road trip. (Well, food’s often exempt anyway.) But you get the idea. There’s usually a minimum number of days they want you using tangible personal goods outside the state for it not to count under use tax.

    The specific rules are usually a little different for cars, boats, etc., but the idea is similar.

  62. hi says:

    How else are the ny governers gonna pay for their woman?

  63. Mr. Gunn says:

    That sucking noise is the sound of Amazon pulling out their affiliates. Provided this stands up in court, of course.

  64. Jeangenie says:
  65. Jeangenie says:

    Didn’t connect my comment to the URL I just posted (from the American Booksellers Assn), but this isn’t just Amazon folks–Target, Borders.

    Why do people assume that online purchases should be sales-tax free? The argument is all about the burden of tax collection. Previous arguments were that it was too burdensome to comply with the various tax schemes of the different states/ localities. I think that a better standard than ON (all Internet retailers must collect & comply with local taxes) or OFF (individuals required to file use tax statements) would be a certain threshold such as $1 million in sales or somthing.

  66. nequam says:

    @BStu: The safe harbor deal in MA is not a voluntary payment. You must pay either the actual 5% use tax applicable to your non-exempt out of state purchases or you can pay the safe harbor amount as an estimate. Sure, you could claim no use tax (making it arguably “voluntary”), but if you had non-exempt OOS purcahses, you’d be committing tax fraud.

  67. plustax says:

    You must remember that sales and use taxes are local taxes that were enacted by the representatives that you elected to sit in your statehouse. This money provides the needed funding for your local puplic human services. Depending on whether or not the tax is state or locally adminisitered it is divided up and send back into your community to benefit you and your family. When you try to around the system and buy things online you are only taking money away from your own community. State and local sales taxes are a necessary evil along with county property taxes.

    The alternative for local funding would be some sort of federal funding and we all know that’s probably not a very good idea. I encourage you to shop locally and support your own communities with your tax dollars. You may not agree with what your state or local government is doing with those dollars but that is when you must stand up for them and throw the bums out and run for state rep yourself and make those changes yourself.

    The Internet tax issue is not about paying tax for retail items but for not taxing the access to the Internet itself. I know no one will read this considering I’m a bit late but this is the one topic I know best. I should teach a class on this topic matter it’s fascinating stuff. If you want to know more (or be bored) let me know. In the meantime pay your state and local taxes with pride know that you are making a difference where you live.

    Now where’s that W-2…?

  68. JustAGuy2 says:

    @nequam:

    You would be committing fraud, but everyone in NY who doesn’t pay use tax is committing fraud as well.

  69. youbastid says:

    @chiieddy: They sure do, and there’s no way I fill that portion out.
    The only way they get you is if, say, you buy a car in NH where there’s no sales tax and immediately register it in MA.

    I’ve lived in both MA and CA (currently CA) and always buy big ticket items from Amazon when I can. As someone else already said, at 8.75% on just about EVERYTHING (and some of the highest gas taxes in the country), I’ll keep the rest, thanks.

  70. jimconsumer says:

    @plustax: When you try to around the system and buy things online you are only taking money away from your own community. – Good. My community takes my tax dollars and wastes them on stupid, pork projects. Then they have the audacity to whine about being broke and needing to raise taxes. You know what, we’re taxed enough. The American public is sick and tired of it, so when we’re presented with an opportunity to keep more of our own money instead of giving it to these wasteful bureaucrats, we take it. Screw them and screw their stupid use tax rules.

    If they go back to using our money only for the bare necessities such as roads, water, sewer, etc, and eliminate all of the socialist spending and giveaways, they’d have plenty of money. I have a tight budget, I can’t just spend-spend-spend, I have to make hard choices on what I can afford and what I can’t. Government needs to do the same and the people are beginning to demand it. Soon, we won’t leave them with a choice in the matter.

  71. teqjack says:

    arcticJKL at 10:23 AM – oh? Ever hear of “excise tax” in your state? Gas, tobacco, furniture… Buy it via the internet, and if your state finds out you may well be socked with these beauties. It’s why a couple years ago a number of internet tobacco suppliers either closed shop or no longer ship to some States – they could not handle having ALL their records subpoenaed by States on fishing expeditions.

    Oddly, until now New York residents have been asked to voluntarily provide their total sum of online purchases on their state tax forms in order to estimate a tax payment, but InternetNews wrly notes it “evidently has fallen short” of the expected revenue goals set by the state.

    Uh, there is no “voluntary” here, in the STates with sales taxes you are [usually] supposed to report purchase of taxable items on which you did not pay (your State) sales tax.

  72. plustax says:

    @jimconsumer: You can’t just demand they do something about it, you must go in and try to change the system from within. Whining about how state and local government spends our tax dollars is not nearly enough to get things done. It’s the grassroots efforts of community activists that will really make the difference in our tax laws. How did Prop 13 which helped property tax payers in California get passed through the state house, it was due to a revolt of grassroots organizations who stood up and took a stand and used their democratic rights as voters to get their message across. Many people disagree with Prop 13 but it shows that something can be done to make changes in our system. But until then, don’t shortchange your own community by cheating on your taxes.

  73. jimconsumer says:

    @plustax: I actually am active politically, I always vote, I write letters on a regular basis and participate in government as best I can as a private citizen. That doesn’t change the fact that these people do whatever they darn well please. We throw them out and elect new people who proceed to do whatever they darn well please, too. They already take 30% out of my paycheck and I pay nearly 9% in sales tax on things bought locally, plus outrageous vehicle licensing fees (they charge sales tax on the full retail price of the vehicle no matter what you paid for it).

    As far as I’m concerned, when I buy something from out of state and have it shipped to me, that’s mine, tax free. I don’t consider it to be cheating in any way, shape or form. What I consider to be cheating and, quite frankly, outright theft, is when they tell me, “We don’t care that you paid $500 for a non-running vehicle. Our computer says that vehicle is worth $6,000. You owe tax on that.” Then I pay over 100% tax and it’s happened to me multiple times. That, my friend, is cheating. Refusing to voluntarily hand over even more of my own money to these punks is not.

  74. kbarrett says:

    @plustax: Correct whining doesn’t change anything.

    Removing socialist tax and spenders from office does.

    The first thing we need to do is find out which politicians people like you support. Then remove them from office.

    Thanx for the advice!

  75. mikelotus says:

    @Steaming Pile:
    big deal, plenty of software out there to do this. amazon can implement this in a week. amazon is not likely to tie things up in court too bad, not good for business to be pissing off states. And Spend $25 at Amazon and shipping is free whiners. Also how do you think Barnes and Nobel is suppose to deal with having to charge the tax, which is supposedly so difficult to do, since they have a store presence in each state? Is this really fair to them? @arcticJKL: you are wrong. virginia tax officials have pulled over 1000′s of people (Virginia residents) buying booze in DC and bringing into VA and not paying the tax on it.

  76. MrEvil says:

    It will just be easier for Amazon.com to terminate any relationship they have with NY resellers. Then play the “Don’t blame us, blame your state gov’t” card. In which case NY state would be under the thumb of the Interstate commerce clause and not have a back door to make Amazon remit NY sales tax.

  77. plustax says:

    @kbarrett: We have members of the socialist party in the statehouse? I could be wrong but I’m sure the vast majority of people who represent us in state and local government would consider themselves as either a Democrat or Republican. Neither one of those parties would ever consider themselves Socialist so I am really confused on who you are referring to in your response. As far as who I support does it really matter considering we’re talking local politics here. I gather you are in some compound in Wyoming, Montana or perhaps Utah and you’re not going to make a difference in my local community.

    Here’s the basic problem local cities face on a daily basis thanks to the Internet and your attitude. I live and work in a city of 40,000 that is surrounded by a city of 3 million people. Local tax revenue is vital for our survival in providing the basic essential human services that we all take for granted. Because people do not buy locally and pay local sales taxes cities like mine suffer greatly. Also we have several hotels in this city and they lose thousands of dollars because when you book through travel sites the tax revunue is typically not allocated properly to the appropriate municipality. I sincerly hope that you and your family does not live in a community that feels the exact same way as you do and if you do, good luck.

  78. plustax says:

    You people all knew that this free ride had to end sooner or later. Sales and use taxes have more or less been around since the 30s and the Internet for considerbly less time. Since the wheels of government turn at a snail’s pace (thank G-d) it has taken them awhile to catch up. New York has finally found the loop-hole to get around the loop-hole Quill did earlier. This will go to the supreme court and we’ll see what happens. If the courts hold to NY’s position it may trigger what we’ve been working on for the past 15 years in the Streamlined Sales Tax Project. Not a national sales tax but an agreement to make the process less taxing for multistate retailers.

  79. barty says:

    More tax money for the government to flush down the tubes. I wouldn’t mind it so much if they’d eliminate other more onerous taxes by doing this, but its nothing more than another way of siphoning more money out of our pockets.

    @plustax: “Essential services” must mean moving City Hall twice, putting in cobblestone sidewalks and streetlamps every 40′ along the main drag (you can drive without your headlights on at night it is so bright!) and opening up a Senior Center that’s the largest for a municipality in my county. More taxes just mean more pet projects to spend MY money on so they can buy votes through useless projects.

    I don’t get all weepy when a government has to start trimming fat because of loss of tax revenues. I actually see this as a good thing.

  80. DantePD says:

    I made the mistake of moving to a place that has a 10% sales tax. I think 7 of it is Alabama and the other 3% are the county/city. It makes me miss Virginia, even with the higher personal property taxes being a consumer was still cheaper there.