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Impending CA Sales Tax Sparks Amazon Buying Frenzy 259

Posted by Soulskill
from the get-it-while-it's-hot-and-doesn't-support-the-government dept.
New submitter payola writes "On September 15, Amazon will begin adding in sales tax for purchases made in California. This is sparking a buying frenzy among California residents who are rushing to buy consumer electronics and other expensive items on the site before the deadline. Of course, consumers are supposed to pay sales taxes on their online purchases anyway, but few actually do. 'Amazon is not the only Internet merchant affected by the new law. But as the nation's largest online retailer, it has been the main target. More than 200 other out-of-state companies with major business in California may also be on the hook to collect sales taxes on items shipped to the state. The tax revenue from these online sales is being lauded as a win for the debt-ridden state, which estimates it will see an additional $317 million annually as a result; more than $83 million of that is expected to come from Amazon alone.'"
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Impending CA Sales Tax Sparks Amazon Buying Frenzy

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  • Jerks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @06:39PM (#41240661)
    Am I really the only person in the country who doesn't evade taxes?
    • Re:Jerks (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Cute Fuzzy Bunny (2234232) on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @06:45PM (#41240743)

      I don't avoid taxes when I feel that my money is well spent. But its been a long time since I felt that way.

      Near my small California town, I can count about 20 million spent on the 32nd park in my small town, a roadside beautification project that is far from beautiful, new road signs made by the company that does them for Rodeo Drive (the old road signs were fine), a pedestrian overpass that absolutely nobody uses because its 10x longer than just running across the street, etc.

      Don't even get me started on the Federal governments waste of my tax dollars.

      I can spend my money in way more useful ways than they can, and I'm sure I've created more jobs than the entirety of the government, on every level. Hell, I have at least 4 different delivery people come to my house almost every day.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        I don't avoid taxes when I feel that my money is well spent. But its been a long time since I felt that way.

        Agreed, this is a common issue with most countries. I don't mind paying taxes, but I for damn sure want value for my money.

      • Re:Jerks (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ackthpt (218170) on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @07:09PM (#41241023) Homepage Journal

        Biggest problem I have with government is it spends whatever it likes, regardless how much I pay in taxes. Watching it go from $1 trillion debt in 1980 to $16 trillion these days, tells me the act of collecting taxes is largely done to pay interest on the debt, nothing more.

        • Re:Jerks (Score:5, Insightful)

          by twotacocombo (1529393) on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @07:18PM (#41241123)

          Biggest problem I have with government is it spends whatever it likes, regardless how much I pay in taxes.

          This. Why should we feel morally compelled to offer up MORE of our hard earned money to a group of people who are completely unable to responsibly handle what we already give them? Even if we turned over our entire yearly incomes and lived off the land, they'd still find a way to utterly piss it all away and we'd be in the same boat. Blaming *us* for the state's financial woes is blaming the victim. The state needs to get its own shit straight before they go pointing the finger at anybody else.

          • Re:Jerks (Score:5, Interesting)

            by fozzy1015 (264592) on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @08:34PM (#41241909)

            Biggest problem I have with government is it spends whatever it likes, regardless how much I pay in taxes.

            This. Why should we feel morally compelled to offer up MORE of our hard earned money to a group of people who are completely unable to responsibly handle what we already give them? Even if we turned over our entire yearly incomes and lived off the land, they'd still find a way to utterly piss it all away and we'd be in the same boat. Blaming *us* for the state's financial woes is blaming the victim. The state needs to get its own shit straight before they go pointing the finger at anybody else.

            It's hard to have sympathy for the state's plight. When the state announced they were going to close 70 state parks private individuals donated money in an attempt to keep some of those parks open.

            Then it turned out that up to $54 million was squirrelled away, for still murky reasons, that should of gone to funding the parks.

            If CA finances are this much of a mess how can Californians in good conscious be asked to pay yet more in tax hikes?

            http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/politics&id=8750455

        • And do you know why this happens?

          Hint:

          Stupid, ignorant, apathetic voters.

          People get the government they deserve. Always.

          - Joseph de Maistre

          Well maybe next time people will be smarter.

          Nah.

      • Re:Jerks (Score:5, Insightful)

        by frosty_tsm (933163) on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @07:36PM (#41241327)

        I don't avoid taxes when I feel that my money is well spent.

        Sorry but this is a bit of a cop-out.

        We all want the money to be spent well. We all want to have say in how it's used. But the reality is that sometimes the money is going to be spent on things we don't like (e.g. Iraq or TSA). And people who do like these things don't want money going to, say, ACORN or Planned Parenthood (I'm making some generalizations here). And someone who lives in Northern California might not like that $200 of his taxes are going towards widening a freeway in San Diego. But this is how government (even an efficient and trim one, which CA is not) works.

        If you want to fix government and how it spends your money, get involved. Hold your representatives accountable for how they vote (not what they say in speeches). Don't use the fact that government does many things (some you like, some you don't) as an excuse to skip taxes. Despite what some politicians are saying, tax evasion is NOT patriotic.

        • I don't avoid taxes when I feel that my money is well spent.

          Sorry but this is a bit of a cop-out.

          We all want the money to be spent well. We all want to have say in how it's used. But the reality is that sometimes the money is going to be spent on things we don't like (e.g. Iraq or TSA). And people who do like these things don't want money going to, say, ACORN or Planned Parenthood (I'm making some generalizations here). And someone who lives in Northern California might not like that $200 of his taxes are going towards widening a freeway in San Diego. But this is how government (even an efficient and trim one, which CA is not) works.

          If you want to fix government and how it spends your money, get involved. Hold your representatives accountable for how they vote (not what they say in speeches). Don't use the fact that government does many things (some you like, some you don't) as an excuse to skip taxes. Despite what some politicians are saying, tax evasion is NOT patriotic.

          You apparently read "avoid" as "evade". Easy to do.

          Wish these guys spent even a fraction of my money on important stuff, although the things you listed are federal, not state obligations.

          Our politicians waste 80% of my money on things nobody would support, except maybe the people cashing the checks.

          Get involved? Hmm, unless I'm ready to line up under a billion dollar entity that'll tell me how I'll be voting, I wouldn't have a chance in hell of running or changing anything. Unless I can swing that kind o

          • You apparently read "avoid" as "evade". Easy to do.

            The only difference between the two is 15 years of prison time. (old CPA joke)

        • by Keith111 (1862190)
          Actually, "getting involved" is one of california's biggest problems. So much of government money is spent placating the stupid californian people whose lives have absolutely no meaning because they are just worthless individuals. That's left with joining groups where the only thing you have to do is sit there and be annoying outside of grocery stores collecting signatures for a handful of people who like wasting taxes on stupid endeavors like putting those bumpy things outside of grocery stores in NEVER-FR
        • Re:Jerks (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @08:21PM (#41241789)

          The government doesn't need my money. We are sixteen trillion dollars in debt. Actually, far worse than that. But if you just go off the typical "national debt clock" numbers, it's only sixteen trillion. That's $16,000,000,000,000.00. That's up six trillion from four years ago and up eleven trillion from twelve years ago. Taking a thousand dollars out of my pocket has a real meaningful impact on my life and the life of people I care about. It means very little to my government, who has absolutely no concern for the value of money. They don't need my thousand dollars (or tens of thousands of dollars per year, actually). How do I know they don't need it? Because no matter how much we give them, they spend trillions more that don't actually exist. I don't have the luxury of spending money I don't have, so the money actually means something to me when they take it away. If they don't take it away, they would have no problem just magically inventing that money and throwing it onto the spent pile of "money we'll owe forever".

          The system is broken and "getting involved" will accomplish nothing. It's fixed and its broken and the concept of "participation" is there not so that you can accomplish anything, but for the same bullshit reason we tell people it's important to "get out and vote". Because it placates you. It has ZERO real impact. It just makes you feel like you're a better (if meaningless) person.

        • Civil disobedience has demonstrated it's effectiveness, while "getting involved," as far as our research has revealed, is slightly less powerful than a single queef. It may be a cop out to avoid just sales tax because it's easy, when a true activist would pay absolutely no taxes, but someone who obliviously or cynically works with the shit he finds ends up living in a house made of shit.
          • Civil disobedience is a form of getting involved. It's public, known, and rubbed in the face of the broken authority.

            The actions of the person I replied to or the actions of others with offshore accounts are secretive and do not lead to societal or government improvements.
          • by EdIII (1114411)

            is slightly less powerful than a single queef

            Clearly, you have never been exposed to the Road Warrior Queef. [vimeo.com]

      • Re:Jerks (Score:5, Insightful)

        by hawguy (1600213) on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @07:45PM (#41241397)

        And then there's the MTC [ca.gov] in the San Francisco Bay Area (funded through sales tax and bridge tolls among other sources) that purchased an entire building in downtown San Francisco and is renovating it to become offices for $170M. It's not clear why they couldn't stay in Oakland where office space is much cheaper than downtown San Francisco. Well, it is clear -- they have unlimited funding since residents are forced to fund them, if they need more money they can just raise tolls and/or taxes.

        http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_21418357/mtcs-san-francisco-office-building-purchase-bridge-tolls [mercurynews.com]
        http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/matier-ross/article/MTC-project-may-cost-Bay-Area-drivers-more-3822760.php [sfgate.com]

        When confronted with the fact that their purchase may not have been cost effective, the MTC rep said:

        a San Mateo County supervisor who chairs the commission, insisted that the agency's goal was never to make money - or even necessarily to break even.
        "We're not looking at it as investment per se," Tissier said. "We look at it as moving into your own home."

        That's the problem with government agencies - what incentive do they have to spend money wisely?

      • by luther349 (645380)
        more money they will just wast. government and states don't need more money they need to manage what they have.and no that does not mean million dollar bonus checks to all your buddy's.
      • by fm6 (162816)

        Right, and how many countries have you invaded?

        Seriously though, governments do do stuff that you need. Yes, they waste a lot, but that doesn't justify this lame All Government is a Waste meme. It's the stupidest legacy of old Ronald Reagan — who actually didn't do much about government waste. Beyond, that is, telling stupid stories about it. He did cut taxes a lot, so of course he was a great leader! Hey, never mind the resulting deficit.

        Yeah, government is fucked up. Stop whining about it as if it h

      • by ShakaUVM (157947)

        California has a spending problem. This is a well known problem, and it has been around for a number of years. We have a balanced budget amendment here in California, but our legislature flagrantly ignores it by "projecting" tax revenues to balance whatever sort of batshit-crazy spending program they want to fund. It's so bad, that the *Democrat* State Controller called the Democrat-run legislature on their bullshit.

        The reason spending is out of control in the state is because several powerful interest grou

    • by Dan667 (564390)
      you mean hollywood accounting, corporate welfare give aways, rich company oil / ag / pharma subsidies, among other ways companies and the rich don't pay their fair share of taxes? You will notice that these kinds of changes are only happening when it shifts the burden more on the middle class and the poor.
    • When the government passes a law that says, "you must hit yourself in the head until you get a good headache", and the people don't obey, don't blame the people.

      I'm not a radical libertarian who believes the government should just curl up and die; but there's smart government and there's stupid government. Requiring customers to tax themselves after the point of sale, and expecting anything other than massive non-compliance is stupid government par excellance.

  • Great (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @06:40PM (#41240677)

    which estimates it will see an additional $317 million annually as a result

    And will be instantly pissed away on corruption and bullshit and the bond payments for the initial funding for that idiotic "high speed" train which is really just a welfare project for high paid political cronies to sit around on boards and committees.

  • There are states that do not have sales tax. I believe that Alaska is one of them. So what would happen if someone in Alaska would purchase an item and than give that item to someone in a state that did have a sales tax? With automobiles it is easy since that automobile must be registered in the state of residency the sales tax is collected when registering that automobile. I recently purchased a used car and I had to pay sales tax on it. I payed $10,000 for a car that was sold for $16,000 so the state
    • by Trepidity (597)

      The sales tax in Alaska is regional rather than statewide, so depends on where you live. Of the two biggest cities, Juneau charges a 5% sales tax, while Anchorage has no sales tax.

    • by Mitreya (579078)

      So what would happen if someone in Alaska would purchase an item and than give that item to someone in a state that did have a sales tax? With automobiles it is easy since that automobile must be registered in the state of residency the sales tax is collected when registering that automobile.

      There are efforts to monitor state border of New Hampshire (no sales tax) for anyone trying to buy anything major (cars, electronics, etc.) and take it across the border -- not sure how exactly.

      Most stores at the border have limits to how many packs of cigarets you can buy in one go.

      • by xquercus (801916)

        There are efforts to monitor state border of New Hampshire (no sales tax) for anyone trying to buy anything major (cars, electronics, etc.) and take it across the border

        Regarding vehicles, in the states I've lived in, if you bring in a car from out of state you have to prove you have owned it for a relatively long period of time (say 12 months). Otherwise, they collect state sales tax when the vehicle is registered/licensed.

    • by SSpade (549608)

      The person in the state that received it would (in most states) be committing tax fraud.

  • Every tax-free online store is now going to advertise this fact.

  • by hsmith (818216) on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @07:40PM (#41241371)
    Honestly, when VA starts collecting sales tax from Amazon it will have zero impact on my buying decisions from them.

    I buy from Amazon because it is easy and convenient. With Prime, things are delivered right to the door within a day or two. When same day shipping is there, there will be virtually no where else I'll need to shop.

    Sales tax? BFD.
    • Sales tax? BFD.

      I spend approximately $17,000 a year at Amazon. My state tax load would be a bit over $1500 per year.

      Which qualifies it for a serious BFD in this household.

      No biggie. There are usually 4-5 online companies with prices within a few percent of each other. I usually give amazon the nod because of their good customer service, return policy, fast shipping and competitive prices. Add 9% to those prices and I'm buying from one of the other 3-4 who don't.

  • by lophophore (4087) on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @08:26PM (#41241837) Homepage

    This is the beginning of the end for sales-tax evading commerce of all kinds, e-commerce, telephone ordering, and order by mail. It is the beginning of the end for the small and mid size non-store commerce businesses.

    As every state, county, and other municipalities pile on to demanding these non-store merchants collect their sales taxes, the merchants are going to be faced with a very difficult task: keeping track of the tax rate where the purchase is delivered, and then remitting those funds to the appropriate government agency. Consider a city dwelling consumer, who is liable for city, county, and state sales taxes. The merchant must know how much to collect from each customer based on the delivery address, and will need to maintain separate accounting for every district that they must remit the collected taxes to.

    This is going to be very expensive, and guess who pays? Mr. Customer. It will also be very damaging to small and medium size non-store retailers, who will not be able to afford the systems to administer collecting for tens of thousands of different tax regions.

    There needs to be a better solution, one that can scale, one that is acceptable to both the merchants and the tax-collecting government.

  • And that is where I will be shipping large Amazon purchases after September 15th...
    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by dubbayu_d_40 (622643)

      Why shouldn't you or Amazon pay for the infrastructure to get you your goods, the police to protect them, the courts to uphold your rights?

      • by sdguero (1112795)
        Hahaha. That's where you think tax revenues go in CA???
        • No, road repairs, cops and courts are paid for by magic faerie dust.

          I live in OC; I've lived in Louisiana, Connecticut, and Virginia.

          Despite the fiction of CA you believe and have faith in, life is pretty awesome and very well run here.

          Money well spent.

  • What will the result be?
    Amazon will fade as all those consumers move to sites where they don't have to pay California's already ridiculous sales tax. Eventually the rest of the states will demand amazon pay up... and they will fade into obscurity. At least, up until now, they were collecting taxes from amazons earnings. In the end California will collect NOTHING as the company people place their orders with will be in Canada, Mexico, or somewhere else.
    • I've always been curious to see how many Californians make purchases from Newegg - I think it's relatively small compared to their overall business throughout the U.S. Amazon will experience the same thing.

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