States Trying To Make Amazon Collect Sales Tax

Budget deficits across the country are leading states to put the pressure on Amazon.com to start collecting sales tax. But guess what? It doesn’t want to! Because really, who likes taxes?

In Illinois, Gov. Pat Quinn signed a low compelling online retailers working with affiliates in his state to collect sales tax on items purchased by its residents, reports the New York Times. California, Hawaii, New Mexico, Minnesota and Vermont are taking similar measures.

But Seattle-based Amazon is all like, no way, that stuff is unconstitutional and counterproductive and we don’t wanna do it.

“We play by the same rules as other retailers, as the national chains collect online only for states where they have physical stores,” Paul Misener, Amazon’s vice president for public policy, said in a statement.

Texas got even friskier, sending Amazon a bill for $269 million last fall because of its warehouse in Dallas. They say it counts as a local address and must pay taxes. So Amazon fought back and shut down the warehouse and won’t build another it had planned. That dispute is still ongoing.

“It’s a time-honored custom to not pay taxes,” said Susan Combs, the Texas comptroller. “A lot of people try not to, but it’s up to the state to make sure that there’s tax fairness.”

Even if online companies are exempt from collect taxes, which is the case unless they have a physical presence in the state, those taxes still have to be paid. Consumers are supposed to report what they owe, but most don’t.

What do you think? Should Amazon start collecting sales tax, or should states find some other way to make up for the budget deficits?

Struggling States Try to Get Amazon to Collect Sales Tax [New York Times]