Articles Tagged with sales tax

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Last Monday, Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. released a revised budget for the State of California. Initially, Governor Brown had estimated a $9.2 billion budget shortfall for 2012-13, but this sum increased to $15.7 billion “as a result of a reduced revenue outlook, higher costs to fund schools, and decisions by the federal government and courts to block budget cuts.” To bridge the gap, the Governor is proposing to “increase[] the personal income tax on the state’s wealthiest taxpayers for seven years and increase[] the sales tax by one-quarter percent for four years.”

Currently, the California personal income tax rate is capped at 9.30%. Under The Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act of 2012, the tax rate will increase as follows.


Posted in: Laws

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Step 1. California imposes a Use Tax collection duty on retailers with an affiliate or corporate nexus to California.

Step 2. Amazon immediately abandons its California-based affiliates.

Step 3. Amazon seeks a referendum on the New Sales and Use Tax law.

Step 4. Rinse and Repeat.


Posted in: Laws

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No State Use TaxesEarlier this month, I wrote about Amazon terminating its Amazon Associates program in California in wake of the Golden State passing ABX1 28, a new law that imposed use tax collection duties on certain out-of-state retailers.

Last week, Amazon upped the stakes when Charles T. Halnan, an Amazon lobbyist, submitted a proposed statewide referendum to Attorney General Kamala D. Harris regarding Section 1 of ABX1 28. That section states that retailers with an affiliate or corporate nexus with the State of California must collect use taxes from their California customers who have purchased tangible personal property.


Posted in: Laws, Legal News

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Two days ago, Amazon sent out a “Notice of Contract Termination Due to Potential New California Law” to its Amazon Associates in California. The letter warned that Amazon would terminate its affiliate program with California residents if the state required out-of-state retailers, such as Amazon, to start collecting use taxes if they paid referral commissions to persons within the state.

For well over a decade, the Amazon Associates Program has worked with thousands of California residents. Unfortunately, a potential new law that may be signed by Governor Brown compels us to terminate this program for California-based participants. It specifically imposes the collection of taxes from consumers on sales by online retailers – including but not limited to those referred by California-based marketing affiliates like you – even if those retailers have no physical presence in the state.

We oppose this bill because it is unconstitutional and counterproductive. It is supported by big-box retailers, most of which are based outside California, that seek to harm the affiliate advertising programs of their competitors. Similar legislation in other states has led to job and income losses, and little, if any, new tax revenue. We deeply regret that we must take this action.

As a result, we will terminate contracts with all California residents that are participants in the Amazon Associates Program as of the date (if any) that the California law becomes effective. We will send a follow-up notice to you confirming the termination date if the California law is enacted.


Posted in: Legal News

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Amazon is no stranger to tax disputes. Thus far, the typical tax claim concerning the online retail goliath involves its obligation to collect sales taxes. Several states have contended that the presence of Amazon Associates within its borders was sufficient to meet the substantial nexus mandated by the Commerce Clause in order for a state to require that a retailer collect sales taxes for purchases by residents within the state. Amazon usually “fixes” that problem by terminating its Associates in the complaining state.


Posted in: Legal News

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These presents aren’t going to wrap themselves, folks.

You’re at work, but you’re on Amazon and Overstock searching for deals, right? It’s Cyber Monday–the online equivalent of Black Friday, where the web stores are jammed with consumers distracted at work. Amazon and Target even have special sales on this day and advertise with the adwords “Cyber Monday.”

I guess I’m a scrooge [ed: Ebeneezer Scrooge was a banker, not a lawyer], but the first thing I thought of was how much tax money the state governments were going to get screwed out of today. And thus, a blog post was born.

It turns out that a 1992 US Supreme Court Case, Quill Corp. v. North Dakota 504 U.S. 298 (1992) held that retailers are exempt from collecting sales taxes in states where they have no physical presence (nexus), such as a store, office, or warehouse. The case dealt with a catalog/mail order business, but it has since been applied to Internet retailers. The Court felt that requiring businesses to collect sales tax from 50 states with different rules would amount to an undue burden on interstate commerce.


Posted in: Legal News, Privacy