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Sales Tax for Amazon Begins Next Week

The online retailer will levy state tax on mail-order purchases beginning Sept. 15. Depending on where you live, that could add more than seven percent to the cost of each purchase. Do you think it's fair? Share your thoughts.

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.

In a little less than two weeks — Sept. 15 to be exact — Amazon will begin charging sales tax on purchases for California residents.

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.

None September 07, 2012 at 12:59 AM
Wow, it’s another new tax, this time it’s on our internet purchases. Our Government, those wonderful elected folks purporting to represent us up in Sacramento have just conjured up yet another avenue into our wallets, Surprise! Surprise! And think about it, who do you suppose they are representing? Certainly it’s not the citizens or the taxpayers, they are representing their own agenda and they have found yet another source of revenue. They are discussing a tax based on miles driven, however, there is no discussion regarding eliminating the present tax on gasoline at the pump. There are some folks want to tax our soft drinks and others who want to raise our sales tax. Where does all of this come from and do you think this creative thinking will ever stop?? All of “their” money comes from us! Where is there is ever something discussed supporting the citizens and their tax burden? Certainly, it does not take place in Sacramento. It’s time for some “Hope and Change!”
Michael O'Connor September 07, 2012 at 01:39 AM
This change in tax collection was agreed to last year by Amazon. This is not a new tax. Why do so many people whine about paying taxes while demanding services? "Let the others pay" must be the TeaBaggers mantra!
None September 07, 2012 at 02:36 AM
Michael: Amazon may have agreed but where are we ever considered in this decision? I don't recall ever being being questioned or being able to vote on this. It's just another tax. Perhaps we should refer to our "Elected Representatives" as "Revenue Agents!"
Janice P Ellis September 07, 2012 at 08:59 PM
It's been a nice little "free ride" not paying tax on my Amazon purchases, but, I'm a definate Amazon fan, so having to pay shipping won't change my purchases from them, especially since I just received 6 months of Amazon Prime for free, which provides free, two-day shipping on orders of 25.00 or more. Go Amazon!!! Go Bezos!! : )
Janice P Ellis September 07, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Oops! I meant having to pay sales tax. My Amazon Prime account includes free, two-day shipping. (So much for proof-reading before hitting "submit"). Duh.

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