Business

Amazon to collect NC sales tax

Posted January 18
Updated January 20

The North Carolina Department of Revenue has settled a privacy lawsuit with the American Civil Liberties Union and has agreed to stop asking for the personal information of Amazon.com customers, officials said Wednesday.

Online retailer Amazon confirmed Saturday that it will begin charging sales tax to North Carolina customers on Feb. 1.

Amazon currently collects state sales taxes in 19 states, including Virginia. Because it has no offices or warehouses in North Carolina, the company isn't required to collect sales tax on purchases.

Customers are required to pay taxes for online purchases, but the requirement is rarely enforced by retailers.

The amount of tax charged will depend on factors such as the identity of the seller, the type of item purchased and the destination of the shipment, according to the retailer. The company has not said why they changed course on charging sales tax to North Carolina customers.

Disputes between the state and Amazon go back to at least 2009, when the retailer opposed state budget plans to collect online sales taxes.

Amazon sued the state Department of Revenue in 2010 to block the department's attempt to obtain names and addresses of North Carolina residents who bought or received items from the company. Amazon claimed it provided the department with purchase data, including product codes revealing the exact items purchased. A U.S. district court judge ruled against the state, which eventually settled with Amazon.

Former state Revenue Secretary David Hoyle vowed in 2010 to collect sales tax on purchases North Carolina residents made from online retailers.

In 2012, the Department of Revenue estimated North Carolina lost as much as $214 million in online sales taxes each year.

A measure introduced by U.S. lawmakers last year - the Marketplace Fairness Act - would allow each state to collect sales taxes on online purchases from out-of-state vendors. The measure passed the U.S. Senate but is currently stuck in the House of Representatives.

40 Comments

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  • Liebe ist fur alle Jan 21, 11:02 a.m.

    "Nothing against the state collecting sales taxes but asking for personal data is crossing the line."

    Shouldn't the state be allowed to get the names and addresses of criminals? That's a very curious position for you to take.

  • Lone Voice in the Wilderness Jan 20, 6:32 p.m.

    I've been paying my use tax for a long time, so this doesn't bother me in the least. I'm an Amazon Prime member, and I buy from them out of convenience. Many times what I buy are things that I don't even know where to buy locally. I'll also buy items that I know will arrive at my doorstep before I go cross town to pick up the next weekend or two.
    If Amazon starts charging me a sales tax, it won't affect whether or not I buy from them or someone else.

  • redstarlean Jan 20, 4:38 p.m.

    Well someone hs to py the taes on the tax cut the rich got here in NC, while all you people who voted for thisncrowd now have to pay more taxes on everything from Moible homes to movie ticket taxes, who ever voted or this gang deserves what they are getting now

  • changedmyname Jan 20, 4:15 p.m.

    I pay my sales tax at the end of the year like I am supposed to. Don't want NC tax department to get my name and then try to tack interest and penalties.
    But I do not like it forced down my throat. I canceled an outstanding order with Amazon pre-order and canceled my prime account too.
    Well, the only bright side to this is, I can cut down on my spending. Prime made it too easy to buy.

  • xylem01 Jan 20, 3:29 p.m.

    People in cities forget that us rural folks use the Internet to purchase things not available... View More

    — Posted by ohmygosh

    You got that right!

  • Mon Account Jan 20, 3:29 p.m.

    Well, Amazon will still offer better deals than most of the brick and mortars. In my business we... View More

    — Posted by foodstamptrader

    Break the law much?

    I favor getting rid of sales tax and just go by income. Why get taxed on your income, then get taxed when you spend it on necessities to stay alive? Just tax what we earn and give us liberty in spending it.

  • Mon Account Jan 20, 3:26 p.m.

    I don't buy online so I'm not too concern-
    ed, but I'd like to share this tid-bit. one hundred... View More

    — Posted by wayneboyd

    Government's not the only thing that has changed. We had 25% of the population we now have. Labor laws were nearly non-existent. Corporations were not people.

    It was a different world, pointing to government size and declaring 'a ha!' ... just ends in a fizzle.

  • Hill55 Jan 20, 3:24 p.m.

    "Amazon sued the state Department of Revenue in 2010 to block the department's attempt to obtain... View More

    — Posted by PanthersFan45

    I agree with your premise, except that some states don't charge sales tax.

    i guess due to the fact that we have a bulging state budget, we have BOTH sales and income taxes. TN, FL, WA, TX, NV, NH no income tax, DE, OR no sales tax. There may be other tax free states that I may have missed.

  • paradiselost Jan 20, 3:23 p.m.

    I have an idea. Have all the transplants to our area that ride around with license plates from their homestate because they want to avoid paying the HUT when registering their vehicle in NC. Supposed to register your vehicle within 30 days. I know many who have been using out of state plates for 2 or more years.

  • dwr1964 Jan 20, 3:06 p.m.

    Because the government is going to force them to pay sales taxes? That's ludicrous. Or do you refuse to pay sales tax at the local Billy Buds C-store and Wal-Mart too?.....Dr Sanchez

    UMMM Correct. I refuse to pay sales tax on anything I purchase. I have not paid sales tax on anything other than fuel, for the last 10 years or more. I purchase every single household item from toilet paper to bread to meat, online. I pay lower prices and 0 taxes. And it is all delivered to my front door. I do not even pull into a wal-mart parking lot, or that billy bud something you said.

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