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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.

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Tim September 09, 2012 at 07:37 AM
I agree, perhaps that was poor word choice. However, it is the law in CA that you are required to pay a use tax for items purchased online when the company selling you the product doesn't collect that tax. So, by not paying the use tax one would be breaking the law. So in that sense it is "ripping off" the state because you aren't paying what you owe. We can debate the whether or not the tax is morale in the first place. I believe we are way overtaxed already in CA. Unfortunately, it's likely to get worse if Moonbeams tax proposals on the November ballot pass. I will vote NO on all tax measures, even ones that I am not subject to (ie: the "millionaire" tax). Too many stupid people vote for new taxes because they figure "hey, I won't pay more, it's that evil rich guy not paying his 'fair share'."
KMW September 09, 2012 at 05:43 PM
I see a problem with all this tax stuff within any and all states jumping in on this. I have talked with many people and they said they were going to start shopping overseas. Yes, very selfish but true... I believe that our taxes here will drive yet more of our dollars overseas in a time we need it most here. Just another thought folks
Your Ignorance Hurts September 10, 2012 at 04:50 AM
Shop overseas? That sounds even more expensive than paying a sales tax! I guess it depends on what it is, but the more expensive something is, the less likely I'd want to buy it from someone who's regulated by another government and risk losing my money or paying for something that turns out to be a piece of crap.
Albert Rubio September 10, 2012 at 05:00 AM
That's why there are wonderful free market solutions like pay pal. Prices and quality must be judged by buyers and sellers themselves, but Pay Pal does a great job of dealing with problems of risk and customer satisfaction.
KMW September 10, 2012 at 06:10 PM
"PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY OF OUR US GOVERNMENT" 1. PROTECT OUR CONSTITUTION, BILL OF RIGHTS and understand why the Declaration of Independence was drafted by our Founding Fathers. 2. NATIONAL DEFENSE and maintain the control of our borders. 3. DIPLOMACY with all our world neighbors. 4. Manage and maintain our currency. 5. Tax the people within reason to maintain items #1 thru #5 and insure a balanced budget each and every year. I believe reasonable taxes are necessary to provide all the above and then some but what ever happened to the Constitutional requirement to have a balanced budget each and every year? We are all approaching a time and place where by we all will work for our Government and they will allow us to have what ever, "THEY THE GOVERNMENT," allow us to have out of the goodness of their pure hearts! You know the idea, like we do with our children when they are very young, "Give them an allowance for doing their family chores!" Again, I believe the Government needs to return to the core values stated above and get out of the business of competing and manipulation our Free Enterprise System and in addition, return the direction and management of our schools back to our States and Local Governments. As it stands now, from my point of view, we are moving away from our Democratic Republic form of Government to a "National Imperial form of Government. We have nearly come full circle, must we "Declare Our Independence All Over Again??

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