Feeds

Texas realizes Amazon is in Texas

Online Tax Squabble Part Deux

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

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. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'
Don't pretend it's a freedom of speech issue – interim commish
Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?
Do Brits risk arrest for watching beheading video nasty? We asked the fuzz
Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report
Man at hardware store was right: name brands DO last longer
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.