Poll: Amazon.com Sales Tax Begins Saturday; Should We Have to Pay?

The online retailer will levy state tax on mail-order purchases beginning Sept. 15. Are you going on a shopping spree before then, or are you happy to see the change?

If you've got items sitting in your Amazon shopping cart that you've not yet purchased, you might want to consider moving into the checkout line.

Friday is the last day to buy from the online retailer tax-free: Amazon will begin charging sales tax on purchases for California residents this Saturday. Sales tax in the region varies, ranging from 7.25 percent in Roseville to 8.25 percent in Galt.

Up to now, buying online at Amazon.com saved customers money, since no sales tax was collected.

But state lawmakers in California–a state which desperately needs cash–reached an agreement last year with online retailers, including Amazon, who agreed to begin collecting a sales tax in September. Those sale tax funds will be returned to the state.

According to the LA Times, about half of the projected $316 million raised in the first full year–and put into state coffers–is expected to come from merchandise sold by Amazon.

The agreement between Amazon and California may not last long. The Orange County Register reports that the agreement between the two parties was primarily a compromise meant to get a year's reprieve in collecting the tax in exchange for promises to add jobs and distribution centers in California.

Increased prices for online purchases is welcome relief for brick-and-mortar stores, who feel the playing field for customers will be a bit more level.

CNNMoney says Amazon already charges sales tax in six states: Kansas, Kentucky, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Washington. Pennsylvania will join California in sales tax charges in September. New Jersey, Virginia, Indiana, Nevada, Tennessee and South Carolina are all expected to collect state sales taxes from online retailers within the next few years, adding millions to state accounts.

States estimate they lose $23 billion in annual sales taxes, some $11.5 billion of it from online purchases, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Meanwhile, Seattle-based Amazon has been expanding its physical presence in California, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The Chronicle says that in June, it leased 83,000 square feet just south of San Francisco's Financial District, and is close to signing a deal for 600,000 square feet in Sunnyvale.

Amazon is also expected to open two California fulfillment centers that will employ at least 1,000 workers each in San Bernardino and Patterson.

If you're interested in applying for those jobs, Amazon has set up a website to receive applications.

Do you think paying sales tax on Amazon.com is fair? Will it affect your shopping habits? Share your thoughts in the comments.

M.Legison September 14, 2012 at 03:00 PM
@ Mark:" I wonder if CEO Magazine ever considers quality of life, quality of the environment, or any intangibles, other than taxes, regulations, and direct costs." And I wonder if you even looked at the article: "CEOs were asked to grade states in which they do business among a variety of areas, including tax and regulation, quality of workforce and living environment." @Kathleen: " Leveling the playing field with sales tax is ALL this topic was about. It bugs me that we have to pay sales tax when we buy a used item like a car. However, if I really want to complain about it, then I need to get involved with electing people who support revamping the tax code. It needs to be adjusted so that everyone pays their fair share." Yes. This is the only rational approach. Thank you.
Kerry Jacobs September 14, 2012 at 09:46 PM
I had a laugh today at Subway sandwich. A young lady walked into the store and asked if they accept EBT the clerk said NO and the lady left mad as hell.. I walked up and put 2 bucks in the Jar and smiled. Subway be will getting allot more of my business. Oh and sorry for getting off topic again ill try harder next time. Just wanted the liberals / occupiers here to know that Subway dont accept ebt.
Mark Paxson September 15, 2012 at 11:50 AM
Too bad you don't know the law, which requires retailers to collect sales taxes and remit them to the State. Additionally, when you choose to make a purchase on-line, the purchase is taking place where you are located not where the business is located. You click on the Buy button here, not there.
Mark Paxson September 15, 2012 at 12:00 PM
M. regarding your comment from Thursday, why are you still here then? Seriously. If California is falling apart and has "nothing to offer," I'd suggest this is the reason why: it's the third largest state geographically, the state with the largest population. It's population is more diverse than any other state. It's economy is also more diversified than any other state. The demands of its size require more. I don't believe government is the solution to everything, but let me ask you a simple question: who provides for prisons and public safety, firefighters and law enforcement, parks, roads, and schools. I don't remember any circumstances in which the wealthy and corporations have stepped up to pay for these public sector responsibilities. The social programs that all you Republicans get outraged about are a drop in the bucket compared to the things I listed, which are what contribute to the quality of life. Here's another question? You're all about the economy and growing jobs. Do you think an affordable public university system is integral to that? If so, how does it get paid for? Again, I don't see any corporations or rich people stepping up on this. By the way ... I love this statement ... "I think the quality of life is better in parts of Florida, Utah, Tennessee and North Carolina, for example." Parts? I'm willing to bet the quality of life in parts of California top the quality of life in parts of those states as well. I think you could have done better.
Kathleen Quetin September 15, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Well said! Nothing to add except, "Thank you!"


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