Feeds

Texas realizes Amazon is in Texas

Online Tax Squabble Part Deux

High performance access to file storage

Texas may soon follow in the footsteps of those clever New Yorkers, asking Amazon for some serious sales tax dollars. Or maybe not.

Currently, Amazon does not collect sales tax on goods shipped to the Lone Star State. But as reported by The Dallas Morning News, the Texas comptroller is considering whether this situation needs changing. The state may even ask the mega e-tailer for millions of dollars in back taxes.

A 1992 Supreme Court decision says that American e-tailers are required to collect sales tax if they have a "physical presence" in the state where a customer resides. And according to company spokeswoman Patty Smith, Amazon does indeed have a physical presence in Texas - and it has for at least seven years.

"One of subsidiaries opened a fulfillment center in Irving, Texas in 2006," she told us. "And we've had other operations in Texas since 2000."

According to The Dallas Morning News, the Texas comptroller was unaware of this. "In conversations with Amazon, they told me they don't have a distribution center in Texas," Robin Corrigan, of the comptroller's office, told the paper.

Corrigan did not return our calls. But Amazon's Patty Smith points out that the company has filed numerous tax documents with the state, covering everything from business licenses to employment taxes. And comptroller spokesman R.J. DeSilva gave us a more diplomatic version of Corrigan's comments to The News, saying that, to date, Texas has not classified Amazon as "being engaged in business" within its borders.

But he confirms that this position is not set in stone. "We have a business activity research team that analyzes what business are setup in the state on an on-going basis," DeSilva explains. "For the purpose of sales tax collection, we don't identify Amazon as being engaged in business in Texas. But that could change. Or it could not."

And, yes, the state may decide that Amazon owes taxes from the past. "If it's determined they've been engaged in business for a certain number of past years, it's possible they could be assessed that tax liability."

Last month, New York rolled out a new budget that included a so-called "Amazon Tax," claiming an e-tailer's affiliate marketers qualify as a physical presence. But Amazon disagrees. And it recently slapped a lawsuit on the Empire State.

If an e-tailer doesn't collect state sales tax, then buyers must pay the state on their own. But no one ever does that. At least, no one we've ever met. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.