Nexus vs. Presence
Amazon only has a nexus in California if their Affiliate program counts as such. So far, various courts have been pretty clear that it did in other states, no matter what Amazon's rhetoric says. That said, the sales tax system in this country is an absolute bloody mess - no consistency, many states do have hundreds, possibly over a thousand different jurisdictions (no, this is not an exaggeration), the rates change many, many, many times per year with no obligation to push those notices out to retailers, some states tax food, some don't, some tax it but at a different rate, some tax luxuries higher, etc. - the worst that people are complaining about in the forums here really is true. Amazon is big enough that they /could/ cope with it, but the question is: is coping with it worth it to them, or are they best served just dropping their nexus in any state that tries pushing them? Since aside from a handful of states they have their own facilities in the only real "nexus" they have /is/ their affiliate programs, how much are they worth to them? I suspect that they are worth a /lot/ less than screwing around with every US State's tax individual sales tax code.
Remember: This isn't about Amazon /paying/ taxes to California, it's about Amazon /collecting/ taxes for California. Amazon pays no more or no less taxes one way or the other. California would like to make Amazon into a branch of their own tax enforcement division, the same way that they (and most of the States) have nearly every other business. Personally, I don't blame Amazon for saying no - if I had the choice, I wouldn't want to become California's tax gatherer either. Let California send out letters to their residents reminding them about paying their "use taxes" (sales tax for out of state purchases that you never paid tax on). It's a California issue between the State and it's residents.
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