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back to article Texas realizes Amazon is in Texas

Texas may soon follow in the footsteps of those clever New Yorkers, asking Amazon for some serious sales tax dollars. Or maybe not. Currently, Amazon does not collect sales tax on goods shipped to the Lone Star State. But as reported by The Dallas Morning News, the Texas comptroller is considering whether this situation needs …

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Tax Liability

What shite. If the tax man doesn't know their own business it's their problem. Screw them with a burning donkey.

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Pirate

Taxes

No matter how slick and savvy your lawyers and accountants are , ultimately the man who writes the rules is the winner because they will always write the rules so they can ultimately fund their corrupt ways and pig feeding trough for friends and the stupid wowserisms to write even more silly rules for people to follow and the police to fine them for general revenue whilst doubling the gulags to find an additional low cost work force for corporate amerka to use !

But alas , some people with more pesos then brains prefer the plebe's and slaves to pay their taxes so they can have even more pesos in their posterior !

To me it would be cheaper for Amazon in the long term to run up the white flag and start working towards co-operation rather then shove the finger up yours truly , for the rule makers have bigger nukes !

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Anonymous Coward

Complicated

I guess this is complicated because each state has a different rate of sales tax. However, in Europe, different countries have different rates of VAT - the seller, depending on where his presence is, has to collect the tax - it goes to the country where he is.

Amazon must have at least one US presence, perhaps it's easier for e-tailers to collect tax based on where their main place of business is in the US. Of course, this could lead so some relocation to states with lower sales tax. I guess this is better than collecting no tax and having a distorted position across the states... or perhaps not in a country averse to taxation ?

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Coat

mmmm...

...burning donley

mines the one that looks like a barbeque apron

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@Complicated

Actually, from what I understand, when you trade between countries of the EU, the buyer is supposed to pay the VAT of HIS country, to HIS country. The seller gets the price of the item, without VAT, and gets a refund from the VAT it paid when buying the item from its supplier. So in the end, it is only the country of the buyer who gets any tax.

This leads to the "carousel fraud", where the selling companies manages to get a refund (because they sold to a different country) but the buying companies declare bankrupt before paying the VAT they owe (because they bought from a different country)

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Flame

Amazon going down

The only reason to use Amazon was to save money by not having to pay shipping charges and state sales tax on purchases. If they're going to start taxing items customers won't be saving squat ! They might as well just go to Walmart and have the item the same day.

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Coat

taxes...

well, let's see:

if you live in the EU and you buy from another EU company then you get charged VAT

if you live in the US then they will soon be charging tax on all things sold by US companies

i think i have a solution: buy everything from china!

...the black one with the typo in the brand name

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Paris Hilton

It's where?

I know that most of the kids who went to 'Nam (literally) couldn't find the place on a map, but I hadn't realised that American high school geography was so bad it put rivers in the wrong countries... or are they in de Nile about this still?

Mind you, it's a sad fact that a decade ago I worked for a consultancy firm in the Czech Republic to which the US Dept. of Defense sent a packaged addressed to 'Prague, Poland'...

Paris because she's been known to have problems driving places, too.

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Sales taxes and mail order

Even when sales taxes are charged on mail order items, you still tend to save on the fact that the mail order company has less in 'brick and mortar' expenses embedded in the price. However, sales taxes in the US are much more complicated than what I recall VAT taxes being, from my time in Germany. Not only do the categories of items that sales taxes apply to vary from state to state, but you also have sales taxes applied by counties, cities, and other layers of government. Those borders don't always correspond with zip codes, so the task of determining what sales taxes to collect, which is relatively simple to perform for a local retailer, is extremely difficult for a mail order retailer to perform accurately.

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Anonymous Coward

re: complicated

Some states (such as New Hampshire) have no sales tax at all, so that wouldn't work.

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Why pick on Amazon ?

OK, the sales tax scene seems quite complicated in the US.

So why pick on Amazon, surely Dell's products would attract a much higher Sales Tax Value per order.

I bet none of the states have sales tax at 17.5% which is the rate of VAT in the UK !

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Re: Tax Liability

@Solomon Grundy

" What shite. If the tax man doesn't know their own business it's their problem. "

Not if Amazon didn't fill out their tax forms correctly. Or do freetards now consider that "fair use" includes tax fraud?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Tax Liability

There is a difference between the tax man not knowing their own business and an e-tailer not filing correctly. From what I know, Amazon HAS properly filed, but that the fulfilment center is not guaranteed to ALWAYS ship to Texas customers. They might get one book from Texas, one from Kansas and one from Washington, depending all on where there is stock to ship. Since the fulfilment center is the presence in Texas, not the company itself, it becomes more complicated.

Technically, Amazon should cover its backside by charging those buyers who are in a state in which it has a fulfilment center the appropriate state sales tax, where applicable, regardless of whether the order is actually fulfilled from there or not. Amazon should also make that clear in their FAQs, and point out that that sales tax is sent to the state. But then you have the state being idiotic and returning the sales tax saying that it is not due or necessary, and subsequently idiots who sue to get their tax back.

Over here it's simple, and everyone understands the concept.

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Anonymous Coward

@AC rate of tax

"bet none of the states have sales tax at 17.5%" - correct - the highest seems to be Calif at 7.25% and five states have none.

The five are typically places where a) you wouldn't want to live or b) if you need to worry about tax, you can't afford to live there anyway...

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Unhappy

not so easy

As someone pointed out, there are something like 44,000 different taxing districts in the US. In Ohio, there are 88 counties alone, so there can easily be 88 county sales tax rates on top of the state tax rate; and each and every city can have their own additional sales taxes on top of that.

Some states are trying to get into a simplified "online" taxing scheme so that they can dip their fingers into the online business receipts, but this has not come to pass (yet). The US has interstate commerce rules which control how interstate business gets done so that you don't have one state driving business in every other state with their own set of rules (up to a point); else business would never get done. It's a confusing mess whick will get settled one day in the future with a big hand in everyone's pocket for more money, cause they just can't spend it fast enough.

The following is lifted from www.retirementliving.com: All states except Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon, collect sales taxes. Some have a single rate throughout the state though most permit local city and county additions to the base tax rate. Those states with a single rate include Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.

States with the highest sales tax (when you include weighted averages for county and city rates) are: Tennessee (9.4%), Louisiana (8.7%), Washington (8.5%), New York (8.25%), Arkansas (8.15%), Alabama (8.05%), Oklahoma (8.05%), and California (8.0%).

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Anonymous Coward

Tax bill

Should be a nice big whopping tax bill when China buys

the good ol' US of A.

Lock, stock and barrel.

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Jim

Amazon does ship from Texas

Just checked the Amazon order I placed on Friday.

From the shipment tracking page:

May 11, 2008 --- DALLAS TX US Departure Scan

May 11, 2008 --- US Carrier notified to pick up package

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Tax rates here and there, and "the system"

What fun! In my part of California, it is 8.25% (its a county thing!). If I have a really big ticket item, I just have it sent to my sister's place in Oregon where the rate is a very low 0.0%. California has various rates depending upon the locality. Oh, and there are other catches. A few hours ago, I bought a nice HOT roast beef sandwich. Tax charges. If I had asked it to be cold (as well as take-out/to go), no tax. Go figure. The rule is that if it is "hot edible" its taxable. If it is "cold, edible, take-out" there is no tax. All of this is to make sure that restaurants (especially fast food joints) charge tax, even on take-out orders. If they charged for "cold, edible, take-out" then they would also need to charge tax for groceries which isn't too attractive.

Fortunately, Amazon doesn't sell food that I know of.

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