New York Times Says Amazon Should Collect Sales Tax

“It never made sense to exempt online retailers from collecting sales tax,” says the New York Times in a March 18 editorial. And, now, with so many states having fiscal problems, “it’s ridiculous,” the paper said, noting that Illinois estimates it is losing more than a $150 million a year in uncollected taxes and California more than $300 million a year.

Pointing to efforts by the Texas comptroller’s office to collect $269 million in back taxes from Amazon; laws passed in New York, Illinois, Rhode Island, and North Carolina that force online retailers to collect sales tax if they have local affiliates; and similar legislation being considered in other states, the Times editorial said, “It’s good news that states are using new legal tools to force Internet retailers to do what every other retailer must do. It is disappointing to see fight back.” Ultimately, the Times said, “The best outcome would be for Congress to pass legislation requiring all retailers, online and off, to collect sales taxes everywhere they are due.”

Noting that Amazon already collects taxes in five states, the Times said, “Collecting state taxes is not an unreasonable burden for online retailers,” and “states should not give in to Amazon’s pressure tactics.”