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Old 05-13-14, 08:48 PM   #31
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it's really only fair that amazon has to charge sales tax. do i like it? no. but i don't think anyone really wants all brick and mortar retailers to go away and they've been at a major unfair disadvantage for a long time.
I disagree - competitiveness is not an acceptable justification for or against sales tax (or taxes in general). If B+M stores argued that they shouldn't get charged sales tax because amazon doesn't, I would disagree also.

IMO the rationale for sales tax is that the state and/or county provides services for the businesses that operate in the state or county. For a B+M store, those services are obvious - the infrastructure such as streets and associated maintenance, not to mention police and fire departments, etc. etc. For amazon, if they don't operate warehouses or distribution facilities or anything like that, then what services are they using? Even in terms of shipping the goods to consumers' doorsteps, the shipping companies are the ones who pay the taxes associated with that service. There's just no justification for taxing amazon - it's just magical made-up liabilities based on where the consumer is.

This is why I was unhappy with amazon settling with many states on this issue. IMO online retailers should have fought the states. Many states wanted to sue amazon to force them to charge sales tax and to also pay retroactive sales taxes, but amazon took the easy way out and settled with these states by agreeing to charge sales tax in return for the states not suing for retroactive taxes.

Frankly, consumers in general should be more concerned with amazon's strategic lack of profitability, which is designed to starve B+M stores out of the marketplace and allow amazon to dominate in the future. That should be the incentive for consumers to support local B+M stores - not the sales tax issue.
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Old 05-14-14, 05:22 AM   #32
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IMO the rationale for sales tax is that the state and/or county provides services for the businesses that operate in the state or county. For a B+M store, those services are obvious - the infrastructure such as streets and associated maintenance, not to mention police and fire departments, etc. etc. For amazon, if they don't operate warehouses or distribution facilities or anything like that, then what services are they using? Even in terms of shipping the goods to consumers' doorsteps, the shipping companies are the ones who pay the taxes associated with that service. There's just no justification for taxing amazon - it's just magical made-up liabilities based on where the consumer is.
It's actually not magical or made up, the tax is imposed upon you as the consumer and NOT the business. The business is just charged as the collection agent. If you live in a state with a sales tax, and you order a product from a vendor that does not act as your state's agent, you are required by law to pay that same amount directly to the state, in the form of a use tax, on your annual (or quarterly, if applicable) return. The fact that very few consumers actually comply with the law--as evidenced succinctly in this thread and others like it on various other fora by the number of people outraged at the "price hikes" on Amazon--doesn't mean that the law doesn't exist.

The change in law is merely an attempt to close one loophole that consumers use to dodge one of their tax liabilities, by forcing it to be collected at the point of sale for all transactions, not just those made at a B+M store. Amazon initially fought it--witness the wholesale dropping of all Amazon market sellers in NY a few years ago--because there is a competitive advantage in enabling evasion of sales/use tax. But eventually it gets to a point where it just isn't worth it anymore.

For the record, I'm in the group that is, shall we say, less than diligent about reporting my use taxes. But this change was always the eventuality so it won't change the amount or the mix of things I do/do not order from Amazon.
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Old 05-14-14, 06:23 AM   #33
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Amazon Sales Take a Hit in States With Online Tax

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In one of the first efforts to quantify the impact of states accruing more tax revenue from Web purchases, researchers at Ohio State University published a paper this month that found sales dropped for Amazon when the online charge was introduced. In states that have the tax, households reduced their spending on Amazon by about 10 percent compared to those in states that don’t have the levy. For online purchases of more than $300, sales fell by 24 percent, according to the report titled “The Amazon Tax.”
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Old 05-14-14, 11:55 AM   #34
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One part of the tax is that there is no uniformity between states and counties. Had this been a set percentage, the competition for goods may be a bit easier with the B+M shops. In another sense, Amazon has sales that cannot be offered by B+M from the sheer number of competing goods for a specified category.

For consumer goods, we've seen similar with the influx of goods produced in countries off shore. In this case sales tax shares in that overall price point for consumers. Amazon has been able to aggregate these consumer items into a concise location for making sales. My view is that the profitability of such a company has become the sore spot to local merchants who cannot compete. The use of tax laws allows leverage for states to pressure Amazon. There has not been as large a "mail order" company but the times change. The significant $'s in transactions was not one of these under the radar situations. Was only a matter matter of time before states would jump up and down to get their share in tax $.

On another side, it begs the traditional merchant mark-up and how competitors have undercut mark-up for volume sales. All of us work toward that bottom line.
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Old 05-14-14, 11:59 AM   #35
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Looks like I'm going B&M for the Star Wars prequel trilogy...Amazon just jacked the price back up and it wouldn't ship for a week.
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Old 05-14-14, 01:31 PM   #36
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a lot of things like movies and games you can just price match at best buy and dont have to wait 2 days. Youll be paying the same price anyways.
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Old 05-14-14, 01:31 PM   #37
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Looks like I'm going B&M for the Star Wars prequel trilogy...Amazon just jacked the price back up and it wouldn't ship for a week.
I hate when they delay shipping like that!

its $39 at crapmart

http://www.walmart.com/ip/27225018?w...274996&veh=sem

or this seller has is for $40.94 shipped on amazon... http://www.amazon.com/gp/aag/main/re...A321PLJ87I6DR7
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Old 05-14-14, 02:11 PM   #38
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Anyone ever had an issue with a third party item that shipped from the Amazon warehouse through Prime? Was Amazon good dealing with the issue?
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Old 05-14-14, 02:28 PM   #39
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It's actually not magical or made up, the tax is imposed upon you as the consumer and NOT the business. The business is just charged as the collection agent.
What I was referring to as "magical" and "made up" is the justifiable liability for collecting a sales tax. This concept is established judicially in Quill v. North Dakota, specifically the 'physical presence' concept resulting in an actual cost to the county/state and therefore being a justification for tax liability.

The difference you're talking about is between sales tax (i.e., when there is a physical presence) and use tax (when Quill doesn't apply, but greedy governments want money anyway). The latter is not enforced. Anywhere. Despite plenty of attempts by states to do so.
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Old 05-15-14, 07:35 AM   #40
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In Tennessee, Amazon located distribution centers near Nashville and Chattanooga a couple of years ago which would give them a physical presence and obligate them to collect sales tax (this is happening across the country as they expand). As part of the deal to locate in TN, they were allowed to delay the collection of sales tax until January 2014. I find myself doing to Amazon what brick and mortar business complain about. I will look on Amazon and check out prices and reviews then go to eBay and see if I can find it cheaper there. Our son gave us Amazon Prime for Christmas, so if I need something in a couple of days, or there is minimal difference in price, I still use Amazon.

As to the overall sales tax issue, one point is that brick and mortar stores collect and remit sales tax to one government entity, the one where THEY are located. However, internet sellers would be expected to remit taxes to the many thousands of government entities where the buyers are located, a much harder task. In 1999 the Streamlined Sales Tax project was established by national organizations of the states’ governors and legislatures to address the issue. They came up with a solution to collect sales tax based on the residence of the customer. As part of the project states were required to provide data bases of rates for all related government entities with the idea that technology would be able to address the complicated collection and reporting. Most states promptly signed on to the Streamlined agreement. However, when pushback was received from brick and mortar stores to change the way they collect sales tax and make it more complicated for them, plus with delays by states in creating the required database, states simply continue to delay the implementation date indefinitely.

Now the push is to force internet sellers to collect sales tax based on the location of the customer, but not change the way brick and mortar stores are required to collect tax. This levels the playing field from a competitive price basis for the brick and mortar stores, but requires the internet seller to calculate and collect sales tax for multi-thousands of state and local governmental entities, while brick and mortar stores still just apply the one rate of the location in which they are located, and remit to the state. Obviously a multi-location seller like Walmart reports to many government entities, however at the store level they just apply one rate, not the rate of the residence of every customer that comes through the door. The cost of compliance to internet sellers would be substantial and obviously impact the pricing of their products.
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Old 05-20-14, 07:10 AM   #41
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I've ordered several things from Amazon and they haven't charged me any sales tax. I'm assuming they only charge tax if it's shipped from your state but reading online leads me to believe that if they have a hub in my state I will be charged sales tax regardless if the item was shipped from my hub or an out of state hub.

Oh well I'm not complaining....
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Old 05-20-14, 09:44 AM   #42
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Nothing I've bought has been shipped from my state and I've been hit with tax. Not sure if they have a hub in NV.
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Old 05-20-14, 10:08 AM   #43
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Lots of things I order come from Sparks, NV.
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Old 05-20-14, 10:56 AM   #44
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Lots of things I order come from Sparks, NV.
Most of my stuff comes from Phoenix, but usually has an Las Vegas return address. I don't know Nevada too well, being new to the state, but I'm guessing Sparks is probably far enough north that Phoenix is closer to me
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Old 05-20-14, 11:04 AM   #45
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Most of my stuff comes from Phoenix, but usually has an Las Vegas return address. I don't know Nevada too well, being new to the state, but I'm guessing Sparks is probably far enough north that Phoenix is closer to me
I used to live somewhat near there for work 20 years ago.... Sparks is basically a suburb of Reno.

Your post reminded me of a saying the locals had "Reno is so close to hell you can see Sparks"
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Old 05-20-14, 11:04 AM
 
 
 
 
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