Paying the Amazon tax

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Yay, taxes! It looks like more and more states are considering forcing the likes of Amazon and Overstock.com (note: I’ve never bought anything from there!) to pay taxes. This is good and bad: it helps, however little, state governments balance the books, but it also raises the cost of “doing business” in those states. It also makes it more expensive to buy things online. Boo!

As always, the story is more complicated that it needs to be. A law recently went into effect in Colorado that would have forced Amazon to pay taxes on money made via its affiliate store program. You set up an affiliate, you get to sell your wares “on” Amazon, then Amazon takes a cut of your profit. Win-win. Well, rather than comply with the new law, Amazon has canceled the program altogether in Colorado, saying it would cost too much money to remain viable. The affiliates aren’t made at Amazon, but rather the state for coming up with the law in the first place. Is taxing a guy who sells tupperware (or whatever) via Amazon really going to keep Colorado afloat?

You’ll note that New York is the biggest state, so far, to collect taxes for Amazon. That means that for every widget I buy from Amazon, I have to pay tax, as if I were walking into a Best Buy (not that I’d ever shop at Best Buy again, mind you).

Other states that tax Amazon include Rhode Island and South Carolina. So, it’s not really like we need to storm the Internet Bastille or anything, but I can understand why people get upset.

Then there’s the much larger, far beyond the scope of CG topic of, well, does taxing the likes of Amazon really help out the states that much that it’s worth crushing affiliate programs left and right? I don’t know, I don’t want to get into a tax “thing” here, I just sorta wanted to complain about having to pay shipping and tax on my Amazon orders. I’m sure I’m not alone in that regard.

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