Amazon Pulling Plug on California Associates Program, Blames Taxes

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alexanderg

  Sales taxes are supposed to be paid by the buyer.  Let California collect it from those who owe.  The idea that these taxes should be collected by the business is just a way of offloading both the taxes and the work required to collect them onto a different party.  It shouldn't be Amazon's job to act as the tax collector for California.  The law is already there as a "Use Tax" law and Californians who don't pay this Use Tax voluntarily are committing a crime. 

  If Amazon is the entity required to pay the tax, then Amazon should receive the benefit that the state provides when spending the tax money.  But California provides no benefit to Amazon whatsoever.

  Government is just a business.  It has an unusual way of demanding payment, but it's like any other business - it gets money and provides a service.  It's not a very well run business, California in particular, but it's just a bunch of people who sell a service and obtain their jobs and collect payment in a odd fashion.  Given enough time, they always demand more money.  At the height of the building boom when tax receipts were huge, they were whining that they didn't have enough money.  There is no amount of money that will satisfy any government.  Ther best reason to fight back is that California Government needs to shrink. 

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Edwincnelson

I just don't get why people are upset. Your roads, water, police, fire departments, and just about everything else is paid for by taxes. Years ago it was fine because people bought the things they needed within their commmunities, paid taxes that funded the state and local governments, and life was good. Amazon comes along and makes billions and contributes nothing. Their entire workforce is only around 31,000 people worldwide and the negatives incurred from the loss of local jobs far excedes the benefit those jobs provide.

They're a lot like Wal Mart that way. At first it seems the lower cost of stuff is going to be great. Then the hardware stores, the book stores, the toy stores, and the grocery stores go out of business and the downtown dies, the roads and infrastructure fall apart, and all the sudden paying 2$ less for a book doesn't seem all that great anymore.

Screw Amazon. I'd rather pay someone who lives in my town 12.99 for a book and have that business contribute to my community than pay 9.99 for it and send the money somewhere else.

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kris79

Wow! It wasn't so long ago that if I saw the word "Amazon" in the title, I would read comment after comment about how taxes-R-gud, and everyone who didn't pay every tax that he possibly could was unpatriotic and a criminal. Apparently the overreaching by our elected officials has finally woken the masses. It's refreshing to see only a couple of folks who simply don't get it still trying to educate us. I assure you - we do get it... Go Amazon!

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chipmunkofdoom2

All the politicians hoot and holler about making jobs and how deplorable it is to send American jobs overseas.. but tell me, when you money hungry pigs have forced Amazon out of every US state, where do you think it will go? Out of the country, I believe. Amazon has shown that it has no qualms throwing its weight around against practices it finds unfair. I predict they will shut down US operations almost entirely, moving US shipping to Canada or one of their other locations around the globe.

So, how about we take a look down the road and see what we're doing to jobs in the long run instead of trying to balance your horribly unbalanced budgets with new tax revenuse?

Oh wait, cuz that would be the smart thing to do. Never mind.

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sallystudios

It feel that if Wal-Mart didn't have to collect sales tax, the response would be much different...

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level1paladin

I have to pay Amazon taxes anyway, but I like Amazon saying screw you. 

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AnomalousEllipse

How about they tax all the other companies that dodge taxes entirely that have a physical presence in the state? There are much larger corporations that don't pay any sales tax.

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fellowleo

OK, I'm sick of all this rambling.

First and foremost. Contrary to the last sentence of the article, AMAZON DOES NOT PAY ANY SALES TAX on YOUR purchases. They only want Amazon to COLLECT sales taxes on your purchases just like EVERY OTHER MOM & POP STORE in the state. All Amazon wants is the exception to not collect the sales tax though it is stilled OWED by the buyer. If you don't agree with this then you want the sales tax to be zero.

Also about all those who claim it would be too difficult to implement. If Amazon can figure out exactly how much is shipping based on WHERE YOU LIVE and immediately CHARGE you for it I think they can figure out what your sales tax can be. If they can keep track of how much to charge for MILLIONS of products where prices change EVERYDAY, they can keep track on sales tax to charge by zip code.

In the end, it's not they can't do it. It's they want the competative advantage of not having to do it while brick & mortor stores are burdened to do so.

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arnoldziffel

I think Amazon's tax issue has to do with fact that every county, in every state, has different taxation rules and percentages. Here in NY state, within a 5 county radius, the tax rate varies from 8.00 to 8.75% Get into NYC and add more taxes. Add the fact that the tax rate can change sometime within the year, depending on when the state legislature decides to approve a budget, (the 3 men in a room thing), how are businesses supposed to absorb the costs of trying to keep track of all the tax jurisdictions .  The states want the money , but put all of the responsibility for figuring their tax laws, onto the businesses. 

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rruscio

Government is too big too intrusive and too expansive. Every opportunity to make it smaller should be taken.

We're already defanged and declawed. Fight it now.

 

rr

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Happy

Yep. Any big structure, whether it be a government or a large corporation, is a living thing and strives only to grow, it never wants to shrink and it will always be hungry for more money, more power, more influence, more sales, etc.

 

So I echo your sentiments: "Fight it now."

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bling581

I agree but the sad thing is that most people don't really have a clue or just don't care enough. As the years go by and more ridiculous laws and business practices happen it's clear where the world is heading. The scary thing is that the majority of people won't take action until it's too late.

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dwellman

I think it's important to point out in all this is the assumption that governments have a revenue problem is ludicrous. They have a spending problem. They, like the rest of us, need to learn to live with less.

Until they prove they can deal with that reality hands off "new" revenue streams. 

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lindethier

Exactly. Whenever the government increases taxes for the purpose of dealing with either a state deficit or the federal deficit, they simply spend the new revenue they generate, and are back where they started. I'm with Amazon all the way.

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bloodgain

Amazon is kind of a big deal.  The affiliate program probably makes up less than 1% of their sales (just a guess).  I don't think Amazon is afraid to end the affiliate program in every state except states for which they already collect tax (because they have a presence there) and states which have no sales tax.

The governments can't bully Amazon with this, because Amazon can simply pull out of whatever programs or operations they have in most states.  Amazon is protesting peacefully and within the law, and they will win.  Go Amazon.

I fully support taxation within reason.  Governments need funding to run.  But I also believe in standing up against unfair taxation, and we don't do enough of that.  The older I get, the more Libertarian I become, and Amazon makes the Libertarian in me giggle at the silly state legislators.

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TommM

Props to Amazon for sticking to their guns.  Screw those states that want to tax their sales.  I live in Washington where Amazon is based and so am taxed on my Amazon purchases.  That's fine, that's the law, that's where they operate out of.  Anywhere else and it's just a money grab by the states because of their own incompetence to balance their budgets.

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SShadow

In California, you still owe a Use Tax that is the same rate as Sales Tax for items that you buy out of state. Most people ignore this Use Tax, but it is due and the goverment can go after you for it.

Why not just make the merchants charge the appropriate taxes or file a report quartery that points out who owes it. The taxes are due if you live in certain states...

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penguinboy

I tried to be a good citizen and pay the use tax once.  I wrote down how much I owe on my tax form and sent it in along with the extra income tax I owed that year.  A while later I got a check for the amount I paid in use tax!  After that, I decided that I'm not going to bother since I just get it back...

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Captain_Steve

States need money for important service, like the Homeland Security anti-bio terrorism response vehicle we have here in North East Indiana. If not for the gracious fore-though of elected officials spending our money on such a great thing for the county, we, a small rural farming community, would be totally un-prepaired for a bio/chemical terror attack. I think such safety measures more than make up for the 30% increase in water utility bills and the reach to pinch every penny from a company without lobbyists.

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kris79

Oh No! Indiana suffers massive biochemical and radiological attack! Weeks pass before rest of America notices. One half their population killed instantly! Federal government sends two caskets for their burial. More Indiana news forthcoming when their pony finishes eating.

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Ghok

I was recently thinking about how I spend a fair bit of my income on Steam, where I pay no sales tax. A decade ago, I would have bought those in local stores where I'd pay tax. Aside from video games, I don't buy a lot of items that are taxed. So if I were to look at a percentage of taxes I pay now vs the past, I'm paying significantly less.

I don't like paying taxes (who does), but I do realize that they are kind of needed for things like making sure the water I drink is safe, or the bridges I drive on don't collapse. They also fund some things I don't agree with, but that's kind of beside the point.

I can see why some states would really like to make sure people pay their taxes. I'm not sure if how they're going about it is the right way (especially where the law in concerned), but there is a problem here that is worth looking at.

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tornato7

How were you ever able to live in that state knowing you were vulnerable to a biochemical terrorist attack?!? Thank god for the increased taxes which undoubtedly put hundreds into financial debt, causing more homelessness and suicides than the respose team will ever save in lives!

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gothliciouz

he heh he! you made me laugh!

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