Trade Group: Amazon Breaking Law By Not Collecting Sales Taxes

January 30, 2013 10:08 am

by Charlie · 10 comments

The Alliance for Main Street Fairness, a trade and lobbying organization representing “brick and mortar” retailers, have issued a press release calling for Amazon to quit breaking the law.  Amazon should be collecting sales taxes on purchases made by Georgia residents based on Georgia’s recent tax reform package that expanded the definition of who must collect taxes on Georgia sales.  Says the group via press release:

Georgia’s  small business owners collect and remit the state’s sales tax everyday  from their customers,” said Sean Donnelly, spokesperson for AMSF in  Georgia.  “For  some reason, Amazon.com believes they are above the law and can play by  a different set of rules. Clearly Amazon.com is doing everything they  can to protect their unfair advantage over local retailers, but it is  time to put a stop to this special treatment  once and for all.”  

“Amazon  continues to thumb its nose at the state of Georgia by not collecting  our state sales tax,” said Ben Johnson, owner of Liberty Technology in  Griffin, Georgia. “If  I did that, I’d be in big trouble with the state. I’m not sure why  Amazon thinks they should be treated differently than every other  business in Georgia-but they shouldn’t get away with it. If any other  business in Georgia conducted themselves this way, they’d  be hauled into court.”

As reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Shoppers buying items from Amazon.com to be shipped to Georgia should be prompted to pay sales tax  under the law that took effect Jan. 1. But repeated checks of Amazon.com show that isn’t happening.”  Georgia small business owners and elected officials are all asking the same question – why is one retailer failing to follow Georgia law?

As more and more taxes are collected via sales taxes (and with proposals before the GA General Assembly to transition the income tax into additional sales tax, the advantage given to out of state retailers will become more and more of an incentive for people to invest elsewhere to sell into Georgia.  “E-Fairness” is a concept that upsets many, but without it we continue to maintain a system that punishes those who invest here while rewarding competitors from other states.

 

Three Jack January 30, 2013 at 10:23 am

If Amazon does not have a physical presence in GA, they shouldn’t have to collect sales tax. This debate has already taken place, but affiliates should not count as Amazon’s own physical locations.

seenbetrdayz January 30, 2013 at 11:25 am

I can understand the argument from the point of ‘fairness’. Physical stores are at a disadvantage due to their requirement to comply with taxation which Amazon does not have to.

However, what seems to be missed, is how much Amazon has grown in terms of not having to comply with sales tax in every state. If we want to talk about fairness, let’s not forget that we also have the option of lowering taxes for GA businesses to even the odds.

Most everyone agrees that it isn’t fair.

However, based on how politicians approach regulation, it’s more likely that gov’t will seek to inflict equal pain and suffering in the name of fairness, rather than equal freedom in the name of fairness.

saltycracker January 30, 2013 at 10:57 am

Rather Georgia & Counties get a piece of a monetary or equal transaction than many of the other taxes, like homesteaded property or income.

Theory: Amazon has selected Georgia to test as their lawyers figure that, of the states trying to tax their sales, Georgia legislators wrote the most vunerable law to challenge.

SOWEGA January 30, 2013 at 11:07 am

I believe you meant: “brick and mortar”

Charlie January 30, 2013 at 11:13 am

Seplling is hard.

SOWEGA January 30, 2013 at 11:23 am

I assumed, apparently in error, that misspelling was a rarity for those above the Macon-Dixon line!

Noway January 30, 2013 at 12:31 pm

To those of us who continue to use Amazon be prepared to have sales tax collected retroactively on all of our purchases we’ve made this year should Amazon lose.

Chuck Shiflett January 30, 2013 at 6:35 pm

As I warned would happen during the debate on this bill last year, many web merchants have terminated their advertising agreements with GA based web publishers in order to avoid having to comply and collect sales taxes to customers in GA. After 14 years in the web publishing business, I shut my doors at the end of December. Amazon was the only web merchant affiliation I had left, but they only accounted for less than 5% of my business. There are roughly 6,000 people in GA like me who will not be paying income taxes to GA for 3013 because our income streams have dried up. And GA won’t be collecting sales taxes on the money we would have spent locally… money we no longer have. I’ll repeat my self from last year by saying this issue can only be solved at the federal level… this piecemeal state-by-state approach isn’t working.

John Konop January 30, 2013 at 6:43 pm

This is the problem when you have lawmakers that make laws without thinking through process……

saltycracker January 30, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Watch your receipts for a sneaky fee:
Meanwhile back at the ranch what are our lawmakers doing about the credit card checkout fee ok’d Sunday where a retailer can impose to offset his card fees ?

In ten states including Florida & Texas it will still be illegal to charge the new fee.

Comments on this entry are closed.