Following the previous post about how Law Dictates Behavior and how Amazon dropped affiliates from their program from certain states, here is more in the sales tax debate. To recap the article, essentially various states decided to enact legislation to have online retailers collect sales tax: Colorado, Rhode Island and North Carolina. The argument set forth by the states is that they want sales tax collected by an out of state online retailer (ie Amazon) for items bought by residents of the state if the resident got to the online site through a resident affiliate. Amazon’s response was “okay then we will, and did, terminate all affiliates in that state”. Clearly this was not the intention of the state but obviously the state did not think it through. Now it gets even more interesting. As I have been involved with online businesses for well over 10 years and an attorney (no longer practicing) I call this “fun” – that is the battle between business and legislation. A good cat and mouse legal battle resulting in constant unintended consequences from state legislation is for some reason amusing to me, I guess it is just the entrepreneur’s mindset that we will go around or over any barrier put in front of us. Anyway, here is the latest.
North Carolina Wants Back Taxes from You
If you live in North Carolina and bought from Amazon in the last couple of years do not be surprised if you get a sales tax bill. Well maybe not directly, maybe from Amazon or Amazon may just take the hit, and maybe not at all. However North Carolina is attempting to obtain all the records of North Carolinian’s that bought items from Amazon since 2003. They, Norht Carolina, believe the states residents may have purchased close to 50 million items since August 2003. Excellent coverage and more details at Tech Journal South. Amazon is attempting to block North Carolina’s attempt to obtain Amazon’s records of purchase by North Carolina citizens.
My 2 Cents
Here is my 2 cents, stop. Stop North Carolina stop. Maybe instead of taking every last cent of your citizens with taxes you could better use your time to help spur your own states economy and increase the prosperity of all residents which may yield higher home prices, higher assessments, and higher revenue collections based on those assessments. Of course I am not an economist so I really have no idea what I am talking about, I just think as a state I rather take money from my citizens when they are making more themselves as opposed to when they are making less or out of work. How about spurring economic growth with some tax incentives for small business or investing. Anyway, I digress, will still be fun to watch NC and Amazon battle it out.