Amazon sales taxes worth at least $30M annually to NC, local governments

Posted January 28, 2014

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.

— North Carolina's state and local governments will gain an extra $30 million a year in sales taxes once Amazon.com begins collecting the taxes next month, according to Barry Boardman, the legislature's chief economist.

The total amount could go as high as $43 million, Boardman told the Joint Legislative Government Oversight Committee Tuesday.

"Preliminary estimates are ... between $20 (million) and $30 million for the state and about $10 (million) to $13 million annually for local governments," Boardman said in response to a question from Rep. Pat McElraft, R-Carteret. "It's a big retailer, so it would have a big impact." 

Amazon has resisted collecting sales taxes on purchases in North Carolina for years, but recently announced it would begin doing so on Feb. 1.

This is a de facto tax break that North Carolina residents are losing. In theory, Tar Heels are supposed to pay a special use tax if they buy from an out-of-state merchant that doesn't collect sales tax, but very few, if any, taxpayers fill out that line on their income tax form. 

In 2012, the Department of Revenue estimated North Carolina lost as much as $214 million in sales taxes a year through online sales in which the retailers didn't collect the tax. North Carolina will be the 20th state in which Amazon collects sales taxes. 

Sales tax is one of North Carolina's primary sources of revenue. The state expects to collect about $5.5 billion in sales taxes this year. The state sales tax rate is 4.75 percent, with an additional local sales tax of 2 percent in most jurisdictions, bringing the total tax to 6.75 percent. Some counties impose extra local sales taxes that bring the rate to between 7 and 7.5 percent.


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  • wildpig777 Feb 3, 2014

    we have a politican problem in nc, both parties are not lookin out for the citizens of nc. come to think of it MOST of the politicans are not even from nc-- whats up with that? the only hope politically nc has is -- THE 3RD PARTY. the repub/demo partys have been thoroughly contaminated.

  • ILoveDowntownRaleigh Feb 3, 2014

    "Or, maybe they will reduce income taxes again like did this year. I am all for that. I would much rather pay a bit more sales tax and have my income tax reduced." - foodstamptrader

    I knew there would be a select few "arithmetic-impaired" individuals who would fail to realize that the new Republican flax income tax + sales tax is, in fact, a TAX INCREASE.

  • aqak33 Feb 2, 2014


  • COPs eye Feb 1, 2014

    All I see here is more and more ppl fed up with our elected officials and decisions they are making....wake me when the revolution starts......

  • WhoMe44a Feb 1, 2014

    Just canceled my Prime subscription, back to using NewEgg

  • ncprr1 Jan 30, 2014

    More money, right out of your pocket and into the pockets of the parasites. Find other places to buy that are still willing to stand up to the thieves trying to steal your money.

  • LuvLivingInCary Jan 30, 2014

    now mccrory can get the toilets fixed at the mansion.

  • Mods Hate Me Jan 30, 2014

    I had a feeling this was coming. When a my "friend" bought something from Amazon just before Christmas, my "friend" noticed that the item shipped from Raleigh. My "friend" was very confused because I, er I mean, "he" didn't realize Amazon had a physical presence in NC. My "friend" completed his taxes this past weekend and couldn't recall making any Amazon purchases.

  • 68_dodge_polara Jan 30, 2014

    "In fact, I wish we would do away with state income tax and rely solely on sales tax like some other states do."

    No chance of that happening streamlining state government and reducing costs makes too much sense.

  • foodstamptrader Jan 30, 2014

    The bottom line delivered price is all that matters. If amazon chooses to add 6.75% in sales tax to their price then they may no longer be competitive. It does not really matter, with all the choices on the web you just have to comparison shop and take the best deal. It is Amazon that will lose business....