Amazon’s Paul Misener testifies before Congress on Equal Collection Legislation
I’ve written extensively before about sales tax and Amazon.
Briefly summing up, some states have passed laws redefining what constitutes a “nexus” in their states. By doing so, they can declare that Amazon is doing business in their states, and can therefore by compelled to collect sales tax at the time of sale, in the same way that a brick and mortar store can be compelled to do that.
These laws have varied from state to state, and Amazon has changed how they did business in some states to stay outside the new definition.
Amazon has also supported a federal sales tax policy…not, to be very clear, a Federal sales tax. A federal sales tax policy would define at a national level what constitutes a nexus. The result would be that internet retailers would collect tax at the time of sale. That’s tax that has already been owed to states…you are usually supposed to report it on your annual state taxes, and it is often called a “use tax” at that point.
Believe it or not, that’s the simple version.
today, Amazon gives us the text of a statement made by the retailer’s Vice-President Paul Misener in front of the House Judiciary Committee.
It’s fascinating stuff…I highly recommend you read it.
Two of the interesting points are: Misener arguing for a low exemption value; and Misener calling out eBay for their objection to Equal Collection legislation.
The first one is one of the tricky points. Should someone who only sells one ten dollar item on eBay have to collect sales tax?
Well, the answer seems to me to be…sure, if they can do it reasonably. The software is there, and Misener suggests that eBay could do it easily enough for their sellers…and that Amazon would do it for their Marketplace sellers.
I haven’t had a chance to view any testimony yet, and there should be a question and answer session as part of this.
Will Equal Collection legislation pass?
It’s hard to say that any legislation will pass right now.
However, it would greatly benefit states. I’m sure many states have millions of dollars owed to them that isn’t being collected.
Senators represent states…it helps them politically to help their states.
They are, of course, elected by individuals…individuals who may not like it when more sales tax is collected (even if no more sales tax is owed than was before).
I’ll keep my eye on it…
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.