Amazon Tax,  Internet Sales Taxes

An Amazon Tax Lesson for California Legislators – Businesses Move and Job Loss Occurs

Goerge Will’s column today illustrates the point that maybe the “Amazon Tax” may not be all that it is touted to be.

Tim Storm, an Illinois businessman until a few weeks ago, is now a Wisconsin businessman. Herewith a story about how states can reduce revenue by trying to increase them and about the economic benefits of federalism.

Storm, 42, is founder and chief executive of The company, until recently one of about 9,000 Illinois “affiliates” of, directs online shoppers to online retailers, which often pay affiliates commissions for referrals that result in sales. Storm’s company, which has 54 employees, used to be located in Rockton, Ill., but now is five miles up the road in Beloit, Wis.

One reason online sales are brisk is that the retailers are not required to collect state sales taxes. In 1992, the U.S. Supreme Court held that such taxes must be collected only by companies that have a “substantial nexus” — basically, a brick-and-mortar presence — in the state. Under this rule, Amazon collects sales taxes in only five states.

Illinois, comprehensively misgoverned and ravenous for revenue, has enacted what has come to be called an “Amazon tax.” It requires Amazon and other online retailers to collect the state’s sales tax. Amazon and many other retailers responded by severing their connections with their Illinois affiliates.

Storm responded by relocating to Beloit. No one knows how many other Illinois affiliates of the thousands of online retailers — transactions with Amazon are less than 1 percent of FatWallet’s business — will lose revenue, pay less in taxes, cut jobs or leave the state. When Texas sent Amazon a bill for $269 million because of the “nexus” of its Dallas warehouse, Amazon decided to close the warehouse.

Read all of the piece.

I understand that the California Democratic Party is voting on a resolution today that supports the “Amazon Tax” in California. It would be a mistake for this legislation to pass, as I have discussed many times before.

Look at Illinois and Texas…..


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