Despite the furor over state-by-state sales tax only a few years ago, not much has been resolved in terms of deciding whether or not online retailers had to collect sales tax in each individual state. The major target of a lot of the activity concerning rewriting states’ tax laws was Amazon, whom many felt was shirking its responsibility by not collecting and turning over tax on purchases made by consumers in states in which Amazon did not have a physical presence.
As many states scrambled to introduce legislation that would require online retailers to collect the taxes, Amazon negotiated a number of settlements with various states; in some cases, Amazon opted instead to cancel the affiliate status of a number of website owners, as lawmakers pointed to those partnerships as being considered a “physical presence in the state.” In other cases, Amazon opted not to fight the laws and agreed to comply.
One such state was Georgia, but an article by Arielle Kass in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution claims that the online retailer is not yet collecting that tax, despite the January 1st deadline to begin doing so. Without any explanation or comment from Amazon on the matter, the article was left to inquire from several sources as to possible motives for Amazon’s non-compliance. One very plausible explanation cited was the Amazon may be intentionally provoking an audit so that it can work to challenge the constitutionality of the Georgia law.
Throughout the mayhem of each state introducing its own “Amazon Tax,” as some were calling it, the retailer has maintained that it is in compliance with a 1992 Supreme Court ruling, but that should any federal legislation be enacted nationwide it would comply. Asking for different laws in fifty different states was preposterous.
One outspoken entity on Amazon’s failure to collect this tax is the American Bookseller’s Association, who issued a statement in a post by Dave Grogan demanding that Amazon be held to the new law:
“For a decade or more, Amazon has profited at the expense of communities nationwide by depleting much-needed sales tax revenue from states and cities while trying to maintain a significant competitive advantage over Main Street retailers,” said Oren Teicher, CEO of the ABA. “We urge the State of Georgia to do what is necessary to ensure that Amazon.com complies with its new law, just as it would with any Georgia retailer that ignored a state law.”