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New York wants Amazon to pay Sales Tax

New York Governor Eliot Spitzer wants Amazon to start paying sales taxes on the sales it makes in New York. Spitzer believes it will level the playing field with those companies that reside in New York that compete against Amazon and already pay sales taxes.

Plus on a side note it would mean much more revenue for Spitzer’s causes, approximately120 million dollars from 2008 through 2010.

I have always felt this was inevitable, paying state taxes from on-line purchases. Is it fair?

Ned Litte

is Jane's long suffering husband who enjoys high fantasy novels and the occasional romance that Jane disguises as a fantasy book. He is also the photographer and artist of the multimedia reviews here at Dear Author.

7 Comments

  1. MeriBeth
    Feb 15, 2008 @ 15:18:38

    Hey Ned,

    In most states you’re already suppposed to pay sales tax on any mail-order or online purchase if you didn’t pay it at time of the sale. It varies by state, but most of them have that in their income tax codes and on the annual state tax forms.

    ~MeriBeth

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  2. DS
    Feb 15, 2008 @ 16:18:02

    User fee it’s called in my state. At least it means we only have to pay the 6% sales tax.

    Does Amazon have a significant physical presence in NY? That was the rule for mail order companies. Most of my purchases come out of KY and if I buy anything from an Amazon partner like Target then I end up paying sales tax for the state I have it delivered to.

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  3. (Jān)
    Feb 15, 2008 @ 16:57:23

    I already pay sales tax on any store that has a physical presence in my state. I think it’s only fair that if Amazon has a presence in NY that NY residents do the same, and if not they shouldn’t have to.

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  4. Bev Stephans
    Feb 15, 2008 @ 23:54:30

    I believe taxes should be collected from all mail-order and on-line businesses. It’s only fair.

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  5. Ned
    Feb 16, 2008 @ 10:16:28

    Bev, I would have to believe with you. I wonder though if most companies would pay it if it were a simpler process. There are over 7500 taxing districts within the US.

    A few years ago, due to the complexity of the sales and use taxes, and the need to collect more sales taxes, 32 states decided to band together and develop a simpler approach (now almost all states are part of the movement). Their organization is called “Streamlined Sales Tax Governing Board“. I went to their website to look around, the issue appears to be very complex.

    Maybe Ross Perot had it right a long time ago promoting the flat tax!

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  6. Kalen Hughes
    Feb 18, 2008 @ 12:26:21

    Would my tax be determined by my address? By the address to which the item is delivered? By a “base” for the state? What? This just sounds waaaaaaaaaaaay too complicated to me.

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  7. Michael Herrmann
    Mar 19, 2008 @ 09:46:27

    Take a look at what Amazon does with sophisticated software online already. Their argument that it’s all just too complicated to figure out doesn’t pass the laugh test. There is no legitimate argument that they shouldn’t collect the tax. Barnes & Noble does it already for sales online.

    ReplyReply

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