Tag Archives | Christmas shopping

Yes, Virginia, you will have to pay sales tax on Internet purchases

If you’ve been a fan of buying stuff on the internet without having to pay sales tax in your state, happy days appear to be coming to an end, just in time for the holiday shopping season.

Internet sales have long been (mostly) sales-tax-free. If you live in a state with a sales tax, you’re supposed to pay the tax on any items that you’re going to use in the state, whether or not the retailer charges the tax–a law that millions of people have routinely ignored. But Amazon, which has long fought having to collect sales tax, in September started collecting the tax on sales to customers in California, as detailed by USA Today. (And as California goes, states in general often follow.)

Oh, and you know the Republican line about how that party is opposed to all taxes? Not when it comes to this: As The Wall Street Journal reports, Republican governors, including New Jersey’s Chris Christie, are also going after Amazon and others to start charging sales tax.

Amazon has long been a leader in fighting against collecting sales tax in states where it does not have a physical presence. That tactic will increasingly go by the boards if Amazon adopts a strategy it’s considering of offering same-day delivery in some areas, which would require more warehouses in more states. If you’re Amazon, if you see your financial advantage over bricks-and-mortar retailers disappearing as you’re obliged to collect sales tax, you may instead now want to see a nationwide standard allowing states to require online retailers to collect sales tax. Amazon already collects sales tax in New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, North Dakota, Kentucky, and Kansas.

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