back to article Amazon.com dumps North Carolina affiliates

Amazon.com was willing to blink for New York state's online taxing plan, but it's not putting up with North Carolina. The online retailer said it's dumping all its North Carolina-based business associates in anticipation of the state passing a law that forces it to collect sales tax on locals. Amazon emailed its North Carolina …

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Headmaster

Brick-and-motor store?

Pedantic grammar, spelling, and everything else, nazi alert.

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(Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

Re: Brick-and-motor store?

Very droll. Fixed.

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Pirate

Interstate sales tax

It does appear that SSUTA is just not enough for some of our more ... income challenged members of the US. It is a sad, sad thing, but unsurprising that gov'ment would eventually come sniffing around for any way to keep up the ponzi scheme of gov'ment services, eh?

Pirate - do I really have to say why?

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Contradiction

"The disputed tax legislation, drafted to help fill North Carolina's budget gap, would require online retailers with a physical presence in the state to collect sales tax on purchases originating there - same as a regular brick-and-mortar store. Customers are already supposed to pay a tax for online purchases on their own, however unsurprisingly, this isn't widely done."

As is clearly stated in that second sentence, this tax legislation was NOT "drafted to help fill North Carolina's budget gap". It was drafted because the NC residents are violating the tax laws by not paying sales/use tax on taxable items purchased from out-of-state retailers. To rectify that (to enforce the tax laws), the state drafted legislation to put the burden of tax collection on the retailers, the same as they do for the "brick-and-mortar" stores.

I fail to see why selling via an in-state affiliate or representative should be treated differently than selling via an in-state "brick-and-mortar" store. The state is simply telling the companies to collect the taxes because the states' residents fail to remit these owed taxes voluntarily. It's not like the state is telling the companies they have to pay state income tax. The reasons Amazon and others don't like these laws are because it makes them do more work, and, more importantly, the collection of sales tax might push their total price for a product higher than another company.

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Silver badge
Boffin

NC vs NY

Why wouldn't they dump NC? Let's do some fast math... North Carolina has a population a bit above 9 million compared to over 8 million in New York City alone with another 11+ million in the rest of the state. This math begs the question, how many affiliates are really in NC and how many would a state need to employ a tax and keep Amazon put? Somewhere, it's all about dollars and what's it worth to Amazon.

Quietly here in the New England and just south of yours truly, walking papers were handed to Amazon's affiliates in Rhode Island (pop. 1 million, on a good day) for the very same reason.

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Rebuttal top Mr. Chris C

Why should it be up to a company you purchase from to have to remit taxes to a state they are not physically located in. If Amazon.com is taxed because someone in NC has a link on their site to Amazon should TigerDirect be taxed in Alamaba because Job Bob told his cuzin Billy Bob to boy a computur from em?

Taxes should be paid by the consumer and if you evade the taxes like many of us do than you should run the risk of an audit.

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Thumb Down

Lazy States

If North Carolina wants to ensure that taxpayers are properly paying their taxes, then the state should step up its law and enforcements ON THOSE CITIZENS who are required to do so. It is not fair to ask an out-of-state company to do the work that the citizens of the state and the state itself should be doing.

I suspect that Amazon.com really doesn't profit much from sales in North Carolina, and thus the work of monitoring, collecting and paying taxes is not worth the cost.

Of course, those affiliates could always just register as a corporation in another state. :-)

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oopsy

This could open up a very large can of worms

If this type of activity continues it's going to reveal all the taxholes large corporations have been using for years. When threatened with any type of "tax" (as amazon is stating) these corporations skate. They don't want to pay or do anything to contribute their fair share.

Now that's not to say that the politicans will do anything useful with the money anyhow other then play robin hood with it but Amazon is a shining example of what corporations will do when threatened to even be involved in 'paying up'.

Alot of this could be settled by forcing corporations to be incorporated in their home state. This would affect companies like News Corp / My Space etc... they all register out of their states because doh, theres obviously tax advantages.

Good job NC, let's hope this reveals the bigger picture, how the corporate world has been abusing our tax system for years, it's not joe customer buying something tax free it's these corporations.

You see it where I live, these companies come in, get tax free years on land deals and what-not then once those deals run out the companies pack up shop or threaten to pack up shop to extend the tax free periods.

Only once our socialistic utopia is gone, we get rid of the illegals here, cut welfare all together, medicare, social security.................. Then I will count every dime I have and make sure im paying my fair share, until all that happens I think we the people are all paying enough.

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Silver badge
Thumb Up

More power to Amazon

It's not just "State tax" - everywhere in the US you have local taxes - city taxes, county taxes etc - so an out of state company needs to know exactly what taxes are dues for the delivered address - one house might have a 2% city tax while another address a few houses away might not have to pay it but both house would be liable for a 8% state tax. With "bricks and mortar" businesses you simply pay the tax at the point of purchase - not based on where you live. So asking out of state businesses to collect taxes across tens of thousands of local tax districts to the US is a nightmare for the business.

You may argue that it's possible for a large company like Amazon to figure this out - but what about smaller companies? Potentially you're asking everyone doing business in the US to collect taxes across the entire country and then remit the money to each tax district every month - and then be open to an audit from each tax district.

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Unhappy

To add to the fun

There are some states - South Carolina I know is one - that have "sales tax holidays." In the case of SC, they would have it prior to the school year starting, but it only applied to goods you would purchase in preparation for school. The timing of the holiday and the goods the reprieve applied to were determined by the state government and were subject to change.

Also in SC, the state tax was, iirc, 5%, but each individual county could add 1% to that. However, again iirc, senior citizens were exempt from the additional 1%....

If Amazon has to support scenarios like this x50 states, well I think we'll soon be reading on the Reg about two things 1)EC2 being brought to its knees trying to calculate tax on someone's purchase, and 2)all the Amazon coders being committed to the nuthouse after trying to support this mess.

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Bronze badge
Grenade

Tax

How about all of the US states stopped behaving like children?

Either they are independent of the Federal Gov or they are not.

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Silver badge

Britain's Revenge

For some reason I find it amusing that Americans are so screwed up on taxes when they have no power to vote on them.

Tea party, anyone?

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Boffin

Insane US tax structure

I agree that it is not fair for Amazon (or any other Internet seller) to have to collect all the taxes for all the tax jurisdictions in the US, However, it is equally not fair for bricks and mortar to have to do so when Amazon or any other internet seller does not.

Perhaps Internet sellers in the US should have to collect the State sales tax (based on shipping address) plus 1% to be distributed amongst the various tax jurisdictions within the state.

Perhaps it would be even fairer to ditch consumption taxes entirely (except for sins such as booze and tobacco) and rely entirely on income taxes.

The same could apply when people are receiving goods from overseas sellers, except that it would be US Customs (or whatever it is called these days) doing the collecting for the vairous jurisdictions

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