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Amazon Fighting Online Sales Tax

Matt Cardy, Getty Images

Be honest:  Should online retailers have to play by the same rules, or do you like love not paying Michigan’s 6% sales tax when ordering from companies such as Amazon?

Share your thoughts, and read more about the battle that’s brewing after the break.

Free shipping, no sales tax. It can save you a bundle, especially on big-ticket items. But new California law, which went into effect on July 1st, requires online sales sites to collect sales tax even if the merchant only has affiliates or subsidiaries in the state. Experts estimate that this will generate $200 million in revenue for the state of California.

Amazon is fighting back by pushing a voter initiative that would eliminate that tax, and hopes the notion will catch on in other states. (Michigan law currently only requires online sellers to collect sales tax if the merchant maintains brick and mortar stores, such as Best Buy and Walmart do, in Michigan.)

Amazon argues that such a sales tax, even if it raises revenue, ultimately hurts investment and job growth. “Californians deserve a voice and a choice about jobs, investment and the state’s economic future,” Paul Misener, Amazon’s vice president of global public policy, said in a statement about the referendum, printed in the NY Times.

Big retailers retailers (who have a physical presence in most states) disagree, and are beginning to organize and finance opposition to sites such as Amazon that aren’t required to collect state tax in most states.

More on the battle, and how it’s unfolding politically can be found here.


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