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Amazon Shoppers: Sales Tax Begins Saturday

The online retailer will levy state tax on mail-order purchases beginning Sept. 15.

If you've got items sitting in your Amazon shopping cart that you've not yet purchased, you might want to consider moving into the checkout line.

Friday is the last day to buy from the online retailer tax-free: Amazon will begin charging sales tax on purchases for California residents this Saturday. 

Up to now, buying online at Amazon.com saved customers money, since no sales tax was collected.

But state lawmakers in California–a state which desperately needs cash–reached an agreement last year with online retailers, including Amazon, who agreed to begin collecting a sales tax in September. Those sale tax funds will be returned to the state.

According to the LA Times, about half of the projected $316 million raised in the first full year–and put into state coffers–is expected to come from merchandise sold by Amazon.

The agreement between Amazon and California may not last long. The Orange County Register reports that the agreement between the two parties was primarily a compromise meant to get a year's reprieve in collecting the tax in exchange for promises to add jobs and distribution centers in California.

Increased prices for online purchases is welcome relief for brick-and-mortar stores, who feel the playing field for customers will be a bit more level.

CNNMoney says Amazon already charges sales tax in six states: Kansas, Kentucky, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Washington. Pennsylvania will join California in sales tax charges in September. New Jersey, Virginia, Indiana, Nevada, Tennessee and South Carolina are all expected to collect state sales taxes from online retailers within the next few years, adding millions to state accounts.

States estimate they lose $23 billion in annual sales taxes, some $11.5 billion of it from online purchases, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Meanwhile, Seattle-based Amazon has been expanding its physical presence in California, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The Chronicle says that in June, it leased 83,000 square feet just south of San Francisco's Financial District, and is close to signing a deal for 600,000 square feet in Sunnyvale.

Amazon is also expected to open two California fulfillment centers that will employ at least 1,000 workers each in San Bernardino and Patterson.

If you're interested in applying for those jobs, Amazon has set up a website to receive applications.


Martha L. Bridges September 14, 2012 at 04:27 AM
Amazon's vast selection and generally good discounted pricing will help them retain their customers. However, people only have so much money to spend, and if states are successful in passing laws that force online customers to pay the same sales tax for what they purchase online, their overall sales volumn will suffer. It's time for major tax reform at every level of government.
Constant Comment September 14, 2012 at 04:39 AM
Marfa, I'm worried about you being up so late. Do we have to get another in home care provider person for you? You know you've gone thru 27 already. There won't be that many left to choose from. Volume does not have an "N" in it either. Now go to bed & you can cure the world of all of its ills tomorrow...ok? }~)
jill smith September 14, 2012 at 05:23 AM
Are you kidding me, we all are going to be taxed to death, we have to pay for health care, well fare medicare, medicaid wick, food stamps disability, everyone is getting fatter from high fructose corn syrup and the rest of the crap in our food so diabetes is on the rise. The least Mrs Obama could have done is take on GMO food and expose the fact that 80% of corn is gmo, so when drinking soda you are drinking GMO, no I guess that was to hard instead all the fat kids got their feelings hurt. There is a reason Mrs Obama only eats organic, she should have shared the reason. Speaking of GMO vote Yes on 37 unless you like consuming pesticide genetically modified food, which your body does not recognize. Back to my point get used to paying taxes with a 16 trillion dollar national debt, and 80 bill in California you will never escape taxes. As long as liberals are on this earth we will all be taxed to death.
Helen September 14, 2012 at 06:58 AM
The USSC ruled years ago that catalog retailers couldn't be forced to collect sales tax unless they had a physical presence in the state. It's the reason Amazon's home office is in Seattle (they didn’t want to collect sales tax from their biggest customer base…CA). But good ‘ole CA legislators for years chased down Amazon on the tax issue anyway, coming up with bills trying to get around the USSC ruling. Davis and Arnold supported Amazon and vetoed the bills but Brown sided with the lawmakers. He signed a bill that said a retailer's California affiliates counted as a physical presence, satisfying the court. Amazon started to fight back, fired their affiliates but obviously they gave in. So now, new jobs come in when their two warehouses will be built (I think that’s great for those looking for jobs in those areas), and they (Amazon) “say” you will get faster delivery to your doorstep since there will be a warehouse nearby (so to speak). We already pay sales taxes on goods when we go to the store (the whole tax-thing-a-ma-jig that your parents or grandparents voted on back in the ‘30’s you know), so I don’t see much difference. Jobs will be created, not by a large number but jobs nonetheless. Can’t anybody look on a bright side around here?
Martha L. Bridges September 14, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Jill, do your homework and use some of the more sane, non-partisan resources to do your research while your're at it. Reducing your perception of problems to being caused by either the liberals or the conservatives is so foolish. History tells us that the GOP conservatives are just as responsible for over spending and increasing our national debt as liberals. And, in many cases more so than liberals. Ryan's published budget is a prime example of this...it would actually make major increases to the national debt if implemented and collect more taxes from the working and middle classes - so the top 1% to 2% can enjoy yet more tax breaks. Besides, this article is about internet retailers having to collect sales tax, not about GMO foods and rising diabetes and obeseity. While those things are true, they're root cause is in the lack of the public's education and self control. Big pharma and the food industry will go right on producing their unhealthy produces a long as people are foolish enough to buy them. Back on subject; if consumers speak up about high taxes and go to the polls and vote no on tax increases or stop purchasing so much, the government will get the picture soon enough.
Martha L. Bridges September 14, 2012 at 01:37 PM
CC As usual you have gone completely off subject to make yet one more purely personal attack on me, and it's time for this nonsense to stop. It isn't hard to figure out that you have political 'marching orders' to do this and you are simply exposing yourself as someone who is willing to be lead around by some political figure instead of thinking for yourself. This comment section isn't solely for pointing out simple typos and making nasty, mean mouthed remarks. It should be used for intelligent exchanges of ideas. Obviously, you're not up to that higher purpose.
jill smith September 14, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Martha the president is off campaigning while Americans are being murdered, and idiots like you continue to defend him. You do your home work although it wont help because your insane, and don't bother me I will write what ever I feel like writing.
Anon September 14, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Libs have always been the taxers! Make someone else pay for what everyone else gets! You to pay for it somehow! Look at Bloomberg, this isn't about obesity, it's about taxing a drink and taxing the second one and the third one! It's about money!
Teller of Truth September 14, 2012 at 05:13 PM
@ConstantComment, now see what you've gone and done? It's going to take Martha all day to untwist her grannie panties since they got all twisted into a wad! Eww!
Constant Comment September 14, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Marfa, you alone have made the comments section nasty. We're only giving it right back at you. Doesn't feel good does it? If you can't take it, you shouldn't have put it out there in the first place. I will say when its time for this to stop. "Orders" implies that I'm being conntroled by someone else. I am in control, which is more than I can ever say about you. Whats so hard to believe that there are multitudes of people who just can't stand you? You do more damage to this community than anyone else. That is the only thing that needs to be squashed. You have never exchanged any intelligent ideas without being nasty to someone else. So go ahead & add hypocrite to your list of self promotion. We...."the Anti Marfa Brigade" will not be stopping any time soon! }~)
jill smith September 14, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Agree Bloomberg could care less about fat people. His actions are authoritarian and Anti American. If Obla blaa gets 4 more years this will escalate.
jill smith September 14, 2012 at 08:57 PM
My point exactly as you stated the public's lack of education is a big factor. Mrs Obama took on nutrition without mentioning the underlying problems that make it bad, serious problems at that .....HOW LAME! She is in a position to make a difference, instead she took the easiest route, once again HOW LAME!
Constant Comment September 14, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Marfa, calling other people insane just cause they won't rally behind you? Isn't that like the pot calling the kettle black? You don't have the right to say anything to Jill or American Girl. You are a RACIST and therefore you have no rights. }~)

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