Amazon.com continues to attract the kind of publicity that most companies seek to avoid. From coast-to-coast, public voices are blasting the online retailer for its refusal to collect sales taxes.
Here are some recent excerpts.
Bloomberg: “There are lots of good reasons to shop online, but dodging sales taxes shouldn’t be one of them. Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) is battling the authorities in its largest state market, California, over this principle. The good arguments are on the Golden State’s side.”
Los Angeles Times: “Ever wonder what happened to all those income tax goofballs? You know, the ones who refuse to pay federal income taxes because they say they’re unconstitutional?
“Did they all get together and form an Internet-only retailer? And name it Amazon.com?”
Charlotte Observer: “Amazon has also argued that the endless patchwork of differing sales tax rates on different items in different states makes it hard to comply. We would think your basic computer could take care of that. Wal-Mart and Target seem to have figured it out.”
In Tennessee, Amazon bullied the Legislature and won an exemption from collecting sales tax on purchases made by Tennesseans.
However, there is hope for those who believe Amazon shouldn’t be allowed to thumb its nose at the law.
Gov. Bill Haslam said recently he is willing to take a leadership role in pushing for a national solution to collecting sales tax on Internet purchases. Tennessee, like most other states, is losing hundreds of millions of dollars on untaxed Internet sales.
Let’s hope Haslam’s comments weren’t merely lip service. Tennessee needs the money.