Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Amazon Re-Opens Affiliate Program In California

Comments Filter:
  • by anyGould (1295481) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @04:31PM (#37603810)

    Amazon will still have to collect sales tax in California in 2013 unless Congress intevenes before then.

    Or.. Amazon will happily make their sales tax-free profits until 2013, and then pull out of California again.

  • Like Amazon would continue to ignore the 8th largest economy in the world.

    • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @04:32PM (#37603838)

      It's not as though they weren't selling in California, they just moved their distribution center to a state with more friendly tax laws.

      • by Viewsonic (584922)

        I think you meant to say "to a state with more tax dodging laws". Why should Amazon be able to skirt around paying, while normal brick and mortar stores cannot?

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Maybe because Amazon as a company doesn't benefit from the government provided services that are supposed to be covered by sales tax? Sales tax is often used to pay subsidies for "better" operating procedures, like cleaner operations, employing certain individuals, etc.

          A business without a physical presence in a state does not share those benefits, which is why the SCOTUS said they shouldn't have to pay for them either.

          • Maybe because Amazon as a company doesn't benefit from the government provided services that are supposed to be covered by sales tax? Sales tax is often used to pay subsidies for "better" operating procedures, like cleaner operations, employing certain individuals, etc.

            A business without a physical presence in a state does not share those benefits, which is why the SCOTUS said they shouldn't have to pay for them either.

            Excellent.

            Time to start looting Amazon delivery trucks, since they won't be protected by the police, and sell them like any pirate would.

        • by SomePgmr (2021234)
          I'm not sure that, "Screw it, we'll just go elsewhere." is really a problem. Amazon looked at what it would cost to operate there, decided there are better places, and left. And as far as I know every brick and mortar in CA is free to do the same if they think it's best for them.

          Hell, companies decide where to incorporate, where to operate and what places they want to do business with every day. Always have. States have always had to consider what they're doing when they go fishing for money, because
        • Tn the constitution there's something called the inter-state commerce clause. Among many (many!) other things it has been interpreted to mean that states can't levy taxes across state lines.

          Granted with Amazon operating affiliates in CA, so there's some question as to whether they are in fact doing business in CA, but in general if a web site or catalog is operating outside of a state and shipping to inside of the state, the state can't lay a sales tax on that transaction. Brick and mortar business obviousl

        • by mattack2 (1165421)

          They're not skirting anything. They're following the rules. Companies have long had to collect sales tax when they had a physical presence in the state.

          When they didn't, the buyer has always been required to pay use tax, identical to the sales tax.

    • Because all they were doing is stopping affiliates in California. Now while Amazon doesn't want to do that, they like affiliates because they make money on them, it really isn't a big issue. They still sold to California, and there is nothing CA could do to stop them. Amazon itself and their affiliates in all the other states would still sell to buyers in CA.

    • by halivar (535827)

      Californians would continue to buy from Amazon. The pullout only ensures that no one buys Californian goods from them. Currently, I buy a lot of stuff from California vendors, thus stimulating California's economy. This helpful tax would have ensured that I sent zero dollars whatsoever to CA.

      I fail to see how this situation helps CA, or hurts Amazon.

  • It must be fun to have a large corporation use your small business as a bargaining tool.

    Amazon wrote: "...accounts were closed due to the prior legislation"

    More specifically, Amazon closed your accounts because they did not like the prior legislation.

    • More specifically, Amazon closed your accounts because they did not like the prior legislation.

      More accurately, the legislation was passed that made it more profitable for Amazon to close your accounts than not. And the legislators could easily have predicted that before passing it, because that is exactly what happened when the other states did it. Is it Amazon's fault that the legislature has created a perverse incentive for it?

  • by Dan667 (564390) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @05:13PM (#37604414)
    why not make this internet tax holiday that actually benefits regular people permanent?
    • by Dinghy (2233934)
      Depends on how you define regular people. If you define regular people as people who work in the retail stores, who are experiencing declining sales and closing locations and losing jobs, then it isn't really a tax holiday that benefits regular people. If you define regular people as people who "cheat" the tax code by not paying the use tax on items purchased online, though, then sure it benefits them. Of course, that's the whole reason the government started forcing business into the role of tax collect
      • by deains (1726012)
        Retail isn't in decline just because online shops get a tax break. Here in the UK, apart from a couple of small soon-to-be-closed loopholes, Amazon have to pay the same tax on its goods as brick-and-mortar shops do. And despite this they're still cheaper than the high street on most occasions, since direct shipping is still cheaper than running a store. And so, retail is still in decline, shops are closing down left right and centre, and Amazon has basically won. Tax isn't going to change that.
        • by Dinghy (2233934)
          But put yourself in this situation. Widget costs the same in physical store as it costs on Amazon. Sales tax is running 10%. Do you buy it in the store, paying an extra 10% in tax, or do you buy online, use the free super saver shipping, and effectively get the item for 10% off? That's how it is in California, and that's why the physical stores are lobbying for Amazon to have to do the same tax collecting that they have to do.
          • by deains (1726012)
            Agreed that the situation is unfair, my point was that the disparity won't make any difference one way or the other. If Amazon charge the same price as the high street, people are still going to flock to Amazon. Home delivery is convenient and it's getting better all the time, so why bother spending time and money visiting a store?
    • by Viewsonic (584922)

      Because this silly "tax holiday" is destroying millions of jobs all over the country? Remember when you could go to a mall and go into dozens of stores and shop for clothes and get them that day? Now you get to sit online and wait a week if it doesn't get lost in the mail. Awesome.....

      • by Duradin (1261418)

        The closest mall (real enclosed mall not a strip mall) to me has been a tax write off for a couple of decades and they've damned sure the property loses money. The closest real functioning malls are an hour (one way) away.

        Two day shipping beats two hours of driving most times. Next day takes care of just about every other case.

        If there were local malls to shop at I'd be shopping there, but there aren't any that aren't there to lose money for their owners.

      • by Fned (43219)

        Remember when you could go to a mall and go into dozens of stores and shop for clothes and get them that day?

        I remember when I could go to a mall and go into dozens of stores and look at a bunch of shite I didn't care for and come home with nothing.

        Thank God someone came up with a solution to THAT problem...

  • by Okian Warrior (537106) on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @05:50PM (#37604984) Homepage Journal

    This is about bringing jobs to California, not bringing jobs to America.

    If a company moves from one state to another, does this make our economy somehow better?

    Having states squabble and bicker and compete with each other for business does not help. It only takes up politician's time and adds bureaucracy and adminstration - effort that does not contribute to production.

    Existing companies already have the employees they need to make their product. This is not true in all cases, but as a general rule it works quite well. Jobs come from new companies forming and from newish companies growing big.

    We've done everything possible to stifle new business in this country[1][2], and this is just another card in that deck. Giving a break to an existing company creates a barrier for the creation of a new company which might compete. It makes the existing company weak and complacent.

    If GE pays no taxes, it's hard to start a company making a competing product.

    We could turn the recession around and have a vibrant economy very quickly if we could stop propping up stagnation, and focus on encouraging growth

    [1] Innovation: Patent trolls, nuclear patent portfolios, submarine patents, court district shopping, DMCA, ACTA, losing tech to other countries

    [2] Infrastructure: Rationed internet(data caps), net neutrality, spotty cell coverage, polluted water supply, inscrutable laws, discretionary enforcement, tax complexity, offshoring

  • It is called "Use" tax, which is defined in the instructions for form 540:

    "California use tax applies to purchases from out-of-state sellers (for
    example, purchases made by telephone, over the Internet, by mail, or in
    person). . ."

    This is followed by a worksheet which walks filers through the process of calculating the amount to report (e.g. on line 95 of form 540).

    I guess I should say that CA tries to collect this tax. I have paid it every year I resided in CA (or other states that required it) for over 10 years. I don't recall ever meeting another person who claimed to pay it when the subject came up (granted, it rarely comes up).

    • by Rich0 (548339)

      Probably because use taxes are unconstitutional (court rulings to the contrary don't make it any less true). It looks like a duck and walks like a duck...

      Why don't governments try collecting taxes from the 1% of Americans who have something to tax rather than trying to collect 10% of every book or battery purchase?

      • by mattack2 (1165421)

        Probably because use taxes are unconstitutional (court rulings to the contrary don't make it any less true).

        Yes, they do. That's exactly why we have court rulings like this (especially the Supreme Court), to decide on the overall legality of various laws that are in question.

        • by Rich0 (548339)

          The constitution is a set of statements. A law is a set of statements. Whether the two are contradictory is a matter of logic.

          A Supreme Court ruling determines whether you spend the rest of your life rotting in jail for failure to comply with a law. However, it does not in itself make the law constitutional. :)

          That is, truth is not a matter of interpretation, but in practice everything comes down to a combination of interpretation and power, and the supreme court does a lot of the former and has a lot of

          • by Rich0 (548339)

            Hate to self-reply, but here is another way of looking at it.

            Your argument boils down to the law is what the government says it is.

            My counterargument is that the law is what the government says it is, and can enforce.

            The only reason the government gets to interpret the law is because it has the force to back it up, and so its ability to back up the law with force limits its ability to interpret the law.

            In this case we're talking about use tax. The ability of the government to enforce the reporting of use t

            • by mattack2 (1165421)

              My counterargument is that the law is what the government says it is, and can enforce.

              By that argument, since not all murderers, or drug users, are caught, then neither of those are against the law.

              Yes, it's a silly argument, but I guess I agree with your statement of:

              Your argument boils down to the law is what the government says it is.

              because that is factual. Whether you agree to it or not, the law currently is what the government, including the courts, have said it is. Obviously, that is malleable by t

"Trust me. I know what I'm doing." -- Sledge Hammer

Working...