More Internet Purchases Taxed

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Are online purchases of pool products subject to sales tax? It depends on the online retailer. Internet retail giant sells everything from pumps to automatic pool cleaners to filter cartridges, and currently collects sales tax on purchases from 23 of 50 states, according to a Wall Street Journal study.* About 69 percent of Americans currently pay sales taxes on purchases from Amazon.

This is because the law requires Amazon (or any online retailer) to collect sales tax on purchases originating in any state where it has a physical business presence — a warehouse, management offices, etc. As Amazon’s warehousing infrastructure has grown, more Amazon customers from more states have become state sales taxpayers.

In fact, the company now sees the current online sales tax regime as a competitive disadvantage, because its online competitors are smaller, have a physical presence in fewer states, and therefore are more often able to avoid collecting the tax. 

For this reason, Amazon supports efforts at the federal level to provide for the collection of online sales tax across the board, thereby leveling the playing field for everyone.

Currently, a bill to authorize states to collect sales taxes from out-of-state Internet vendors — those without a physical presence in-state — languishes on the U.S. Senate Legislative Calendar. The measure, called the Marketplace and Internet Tax Fairness Act - S.2609, would create a much more equitable retail tax regime.  

This bill was introduced and read in the U.S. Senate on July 16 of this year. And there it sits.

* States where Amazon collects sales tax: WA, CA, NV, AZ, ND, MN, WI, KS, TX, IN, KY, TN, GA, FL, WV, NC, VA, NJ, CT, PA, NY, MA, MD. 

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