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Government Businesses The Internet United States News

Federal Court Tosses Colorado's Amazon Tax 229

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the respect-my-federal-commerce-clause dept.
suraj.sun writes, quoting the Denver Post: "A federal court has thrown out a 2010 Colorado law, which had already been temporarily blocked in federal court last year, meant to spur online retailers like Amazon to collect state sales tax. 'I conclude that the veil provided by the words of the act and the regulations is too thin to support the conclusion that the act and the regulations regulate in-state and out-of-state retailers even-handedly,' U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn wrote in his opinion. The law and the rules to carry it out 'impose an undue burden on interstate commerce' and are unconstitutional, the judge wrote. The tax mainly affected online sales of out-of-state companies that have in-state affiliates, usually generating sales through links on their websites." I wonder what this means for the plethora of similar bills in other states. Will Amazon continue to call for a national Internet sales tax if they are all struck down?
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Federal Court Tosses Colorado's Amazon Tax

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  • Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SaroDarksbane (1784314) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @08:38AM (#39570759)
    Finally, a ruling that deals with the commerce clause as it was actually intended to be used, rather than the current "the federal government can do anything it wants at any time simply by saying the word 'commerce'" interpretation.
  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @08:42AM (#39570799) Homepage

    Amazon to states: "There should be no Internet sales taxes created on the state level, because this deals with interstate commerce."
    Amazon to federal government: "The federal government shouldn't handle sales taxes, they should be handled on a state level. Plus, you wouldn't want to have to answer to the voters regarding a *tax increase*, would you?"

    End result: No sales taxes on Amazon, which is almost definitely the outcome they want.

  • :-D (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bbbaldie (935205) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @08:46AM (#39570841) Homepage
    Good for the court. Good for Amazon. I pay 10% on anything I buy in Arkansas (including food) and they scream that it's not enough. Funny, I paid 3% sales tax here in the 70's and the roads weren't any worse than they are today. Screw any state that attempts to cash in on internet sales.
  • by NatasRevol (731260) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @08:51AM (#39570885) Journal

    Just run it by SCOTUS. They changed the 4th amendment yesterday. Why not another one?

  • by Fwipp (1473271) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @08:51AM (#39570891)

    I was going to ask "Doesn't Amazon pay interchange fees, too?"

    But then I realized that of course Amazon has the power to negotiate the fees that they pay, while my local coffee shop almost certainly cannot. So, consider this a "+1 Insightful," instead of a "-1 What?"

  • by kidcharles (908072) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @09:01AM (#39570989)
    Here's an idea to clear up this mess nicely: get rid of all sales taxes. They're extremely regressive [wikipedia.org] and complicate and impede commerce. Increase income, property, and capital gains taxes to compensate.
  • by Ichijo (607641) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @09:07AM (#39571057) Homepage Journal

    Sales taxes are regressive, they discourage commerce, and they incentivize cities to put up big-box stores, while property taxes encourage cities to make land-use decisions that bolster property values [utsandiego.com].

    With so many advantages of property taxes over sales taxes, the sales tax just doesn't make much sense. Conveniently, eliminating the sales tax would also solve the problem of collecting it over the Internet.

  • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @09:13AM (#39571097)
    Or child porn [slashdot.org]...
  • by PPH (736903) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @09:17AM (#39571145)

    But the sales tax is part of a tactic to maximize revenue without the taxpayer noticing. The fewer events that you tax, the greater the rate on each one. And then the taxpayer sees it and starts to ask questions. Like: What the hell are you clowns doing with all this money?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @09:25AM (#39571225)

    THIS. Determining the tax classification for every product for over 10,000 tax jurisdictions, with vague and conflicting guidance on the rates to be applied from each one, is an extremely difficult task and imposes an undue burden for internet retailers. If the states want to get a cut of the action, they need to drastically reduce and streamline their sales tax code.

  • by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @09:45AM (#39571481) Journal

    The Supreme Court is engaging in egregious question begging here. They argue that every inmate going into general population requires a strip search, but they ignored whether it was apprpriate for this fellow to go into general population at all.

    If every inmane in jail requires a strip search, and strip searches for minor crimes are unreasonable, then it's unreasonable to send people accused of minor crimes to jail at all.

  • Re::-D (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @09:46AM (#39571483)

    Like gasoline, the price of asphalt has gone up since the 70s, too.

    You seem to have a lack of understanding about percentages. That's ok, the government likes people who don't understand percentages. That way, they can claim that they need to raise the tax rate to make more money, when in fact, mathematics says that if 3% tax on 1970's income was enough to get by, then 3% tax on 2012 income (about 5.4 times as high) should also be plenty.

  • by blueg3 (192743) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @09:55AM (#39571613)

    They argue that every inmate going into general population requires a strip search, but they ignored whether it was apprpriate for this fellow to go into general population at all.

    The Supreme Court rules on specific points of law, not on how they fell the overall case should have gone. Despite how it's portrayed in some news articles, they are not a catch-all "I really think I should have one this case" appeals court.

    If you have a suit that claims your rights were violated because you were strip-searched upon admission to jail and you end up appealing that suit, the Supreme Court is going to rule on whether the strip search is Constitutional. If you wanted to make the claim that you were falsely arrested or unjustly imprisoned, you should have made your suit about that.

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