Advocates for the Poor Urge Boycott of Amazon.com Over California Internet Sales Taxes

Posted Posted in Amazon Tax, Internet Sales Taxes

Good grief. It isn’t bad enough that businesses are leaving California and my income has been reduced because of this internet sales tax flap, but now the FAR LEFT low-income tax redistributionist groups are going specifically after Amazon.com.
Advocates for the poor will urge Californians today to boycott Amazon.com until the online retailer begins collecting sales taxes.

Representatives of the Health and Human Services Network of California will hold a news conference at 10:30 a.m. on the Capitol’s north steps asking state residents to close their Amazon.com accounts until the company stops fighting a law intended to force online retailers to collect California sales taxes.

The group will be joined by Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Oakland.

The Seattle-based retailer ponied up $3 million last month to collect signatures for a referendum that would overturn Assembly Bill X1 28. Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers enacted the measure as part of the June budget deal to raise $200 million a year.

“We’re asking people to think before they shop on Amazon and tell Amazon what they think,” said Nancy Berlin, director of the California Partnership, which advocates for health and social service funding. “We don’t have the kind of money and power Amazon does, but collectively we’re asking our people and others in our community who share our values to put their money where their values are.”

Amazon has not collected sales taxes on California purchases since the law was passed, believing the law does not apply because the retailer ended its relationship with California-based “affiliates” who refer customers to its website.

Amazon.com is working well within California law. What will not surprise me, will be, who is funding this group to come out and protest.

How does Wal-Mart, Target or other business competitors to Amazon.com sound?

Again, this law is a loser and an expensive political and legal turf war is not something that will benefit California taxpayers

Democrats Turn to Federal Internet Sales Tax Legislation for New Revenues After Debt Limit Battle

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Amazon Tax, Internet Sales Taxes

Now, the national Democrats want to tax the internet – just like in California, but now the entire country.
While the nation was captivated by the debt crisis – and whether tax increases would be part of any deal to reduce federal deficits – a group of Democratic senators and congressmen have rolled out legislation that would raise new revenues by targeting online sales from retailers like Wal-Mart and Best Buy.

These lawmakers say that states are losing billions in uncollected state and local sales tax on Internet sales and are touting the support of online retailers like Amazon who say they’re fine with an across-the-board system that would make tax collections simple.

I guess this is payback to Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Target for their advocacy of taxing Amazon in California.

OH! The big retailers turf wars.

But small businesses say the new legislation is unfair and puts them at a cost disadvantage at a time when they can least afford it.

The bill introduced by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., last week called the Main Street Fairness Act, has drawn support from several Democrats, including Sens. Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Jack Reed of Rhode Island, Reps. John Conyers of Michigan, Peter Welch of Vermont and Heath Shuler of North Carolina.

“Consumers shouldn’t have to face the burden of reporting all of their online purchases. Main Street retailers collect sales taxes on behalf of consumers, why shouldn’t online retailers do the same,” Durbin said in a statement Friday.

Durbin noted that states are expected to lose up to $24 billion in uncollected state and local taxes this year on Internet and catalog sales.

“This bill will level the playing field for local businesses, by ensuring that online retailers collect the same sales taxes that brick-and-mortar retailers already do,” Conyers said. “This will help our state and local governments avoid devastating layoffs and cuts to essential services vital to the well-being of our local communities.”

But several tech groups strongly oppose the bill.

More social justice, redistribution crap from the Dems and some big businesses will buy into it if it puts a dagger in the heart of a business rival.

How about not taxing internet sales at all?

No, the Democrats know where the money is and they want to tax, collect and spend it.

“Congress often says that small businesses are the backbone of the economic recovery, but these new collection costs will break the backs of many small online businesses,” said Steve, DelBianco, executive director of NetChoice, a tech trade group.

“It’s a cruel irony to call this job-killing bill the ‘Main Street Fairness Act,’” DelBianco added. “Online sales are about the only way small retailers can survive being steamrolled by the big-box chains who are behind this bill.”

Retailers are only required to collect sales tax in states where they also have a physical presence under a 1992 Supreme Court ruling known as the Quill decision. The high court ruled that a sales tax on out-of-state sellers would be an unconstitutional burden on interstate commerce because of the complexity of states’ and municipalities’ sales tax rules.

That means out-of-state retailers can offer their customers a discount online, but consumers have to report the sales tax owed on online purchases on their tax returns.

In response to the Quill decision, 44 states and the District of Columbia are working with local governments and the business community to adopt a sweeping interstate system to simplify their sales tax rules and administrative requirements, called the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement. So far, 24 states have changed their laws in compliance with this interstate agreement.

But the Quill decision said Congress would have to authorize such an agreement, which supporters say the bill does.

Looks like a money bill to me – for consultants, lobbyists and lawyers.

Watch the Democrats and then the Republicans milk this cash cow as Amazon.com and others line up to punish their competitors and screw the small business internet associate.

Amazon.com Inc., the largest online Internet retailer, threw its support behind the bill.

“Amazon.com has long supported a simple, nationwide system of state and local sales tax collection, evenhandedly applied to all sellers, no matter their business model, location, or level of remote sales,” Paul Misener, vice president of Amazon’s global public policy, said in a letter to Durbin that the Illinois senator included in a press release.

“To this end, I am writing to thank you for your bill that would allow states that sufficiently simplify their rules to require collection of sales tax by out-of-state sellers,” he wrote.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association, which represents more than 200 retailers, also supports the bill, saying it would end special treatment for online-only retailers and relieve consumers of the tax-reporting requirement.

“For too long, U.S. tax policy has favored online-only retailers over the brick-and-mortar stores that creates the jobs and serves our communities,” said Katherine Lugar, a spokeswoman for the association.

“Government shouldn’t be picking winners and losers by giving a handful of companies a competitive advantage over everyone else,” he said. “It’s time to close this decades-old loophole and level the playing field for all retailers.”

Good luck to Amazon.com now in winning their California referendum while at the same time supporting the argument for a federal system of internet sales tax collection.

California’s Online Marketers Hit Hard by Amazon Internet Sales Taxes

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Amazon Tax, Internet Sales Taxes


It is just starting.
But for the thousands of affiliates in the state now set adrift by Amazon and Overstock, another major out-of-state player, the law is an unfair and misguided attempt to raise revenues on the backs of struggling mom-and-pop businesses.

Rather than bring in tax dollars, they say, it will instead drive away scores of entrepreneurs California needs to innovate its way out of its economic malaise.

“None of us are against a level playing field,” said Robert Smahl with privately held Ebates, an online shopping site in San Francisco with 50 employees. “But this is not the way to do it. You’ve just penalized a small segment of people who don’t have the money to fight the legislation. I don’t think the lawmakers understand that this won’t change anything and it won’t hurt Amazon at all.”

Many affiliates getting hurt are pint-size, like Silicon Valley mom-blogger Tina Case’s Moms Who Click, a camera-buff site that brings in a few hundred dollars monthly.

Her husband works, so she’ll simply lose “the icing on the cake.” Still, she’s angry.

“The law is ridiculous. If the purpose is to generate tax revenues, then by putting affiliates out of business the state’s losing the income taxes we were paying. This will hurt the economy more than help it.”

More than 70 affiliates have already left California, say fellow site-owners, in some cases after being wooed by states such as Texas and Arizona that are anxious to reel in business-tax revenue to shore up their own battered budgets. Other affiliates are brainstorming new business models that would allow them to keep their sites up and running. And still others are waiting to see if an Amazon-backed initiative to roll back the law makes it onto the ballot early next year.

Keith Posehn, a San Diego marketer who’s considering leaving the state after losing 30 percent of his revenue, says the new law complicates an already cutthroat business.

The largest of online marketers will leave California and set up across the border in Nevada or Arizona. Others will just absorbed reduced earning capacity and spend less and hope the law changes.

In the meantime, the “little guy” gets hurt while the Big Box Brick and Mortar stores duke it out with Amazon in the political arena.

But, don’t say I didn’t tell you so months ago.

By the way, this issue of internet sales taxation will not be settled until there is some federal legislation or a decision by a federal appellate court on the nexus issue.

California State Board of Equalization Votes to Begin Rule Making to Implement the Amazon Internet Sales Tax

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Amazon Tax, Internet Sales Taxes

Why the Board is proceeding and wasting taxpayers money on a law that will face a referendum is pure Democratic politics.

But, oh well.

Debate over the 90-day interim period during which Amazon gathers signatures for the voter referendum to repeal the law was a hot issue today between board members. Because the office of legislative counsel issued a recent opinion which said the law would be suspended the minute Amazon qualifies the issue for the ballot, Republican board members George Runner and Michelle Steele
said the BOE should not implement the tax yet.

At issue was whether the new law would or should even take effect.

However, board members Betty Yee and Jerome Horton, Democrats, insisted that because ABx1 28 was already signed into law, it needs to be upheld by the board unless and until it is repealed either by the voters, or in a court of law.

Yee wanted to abandon discussion of the interim period, and instead pushed ahead for implementation of the tax, beginning with an “interested parties” process discussing the need for rule making to implement and clarify the provisions of the bill.

The Board voted 3-2, siding with Yee and Horton to have obtain an opinion from the Attorney General explaining how the referendum process will affect the tax, and to begin the meetings to discuss implementation.

This move is just the beginning of a long litigious process.

Signature gathering is on-going and it is just a matter of time before the referendum folks and the California Attorney General are sued to try to remove the referendum from the ballot –  before and then after it qualifies.

The campaign consultants, communications strategists and the lawyers are all going to get rich while I no longer earn a few bucks from selling Amazon books and media on flapsblog.com.

Wonderful…..

California State Board of Equalization to Discuss Implementation of the Amazon Internet Sales Tax

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Amazon Tax, California State Board of Equalization, Internet Sales Taxes


Today the California State Board of Equalization will meet at 10 AM.
The state Board of Equalization will start to tackle how to implement a new law requiring major online retailers to collect sales tax on purchases made by Californians at its Sacramento meeting today.

But any solution for applying the so-called “Amazon Tax,” which was approved last month as part of the budget package backed by Democratic lawmakers, could be short lived. Opponents of the change have filed referendum papers to ask voters to overturn ABX1 28 in the next statewide election, a move that could pull the plug on the plan to generate revenue much sooner than 2012.

A Legislative Counsel opinion sought by Sen. Joel Anderson, R-Alpine, concluded that the law would be suspended once the challenge qualifies for the ballot, even though the majority-vote measure took effect immediately as a result of Proposition 25. That scenario would put the Amazon Tax on hold until the next statewide election, which will likely be held in June 2012.

The meeting will be webcast this morning here and the full agenda in Pdf format is here.

In the meantime, the signature gatherers are proceeding and the television ad mavens are busy.