Interstate Tariff? Connecticut Pushes For Amazon Taxes


What are the three guarantees in life? Death, taxes, and people saying that “death and taxes” are the only two guarantees in life. It’s fun. But this Amazon situation? Who knows. The company has been fighting off having to collect and pay local taxes across the U.S. for years now, with Connecticut becoming the latest state to push it for the collection of local taxes. One Connecticut lawmaker said that the state had to make “a stand” against Amazon and its no-paying taxes ways.

But what makes Amazon different from all those old mail order catalogs? Of course it had to be Dvorak who’d bring this up, and he says that any non-state of Washington tax targeting Amazon would amount to an interstate tariff, which aren’t exactly legal. In fact they’re illegal. You’d didn’t pay sales tax when you ordered something from the Sears catalog, so why should you pay sales tax when you order something from Amazon?

Amazon’s offices are in Washington state, so it naturally pays Washington taxes. But why should it have to pay taxes in, say, Massachusetts or Connecticut (or New York, where I shake my head every time I order something from the site and see sales tax added to my order—lame) when it’s not doing any physical business there?

Obviously this is a wildly complicated issue, but I just thought the mail order catalog comparison was a clever one, and an accurate one.