As you’ve probably read, the state of New York has adopted a so-called “Amazon tax” effective 06/01. While it is unconstitutional for states to force a company to collect sales tax on items that are being being shipped to a state in which the company has no physical presence, NY has taken the novel position that since Amazon has advertisers based in NY it is required to collect the tax.
Amazon is challenging this constitutional interpretation in court now. The ramifications of the outcome are massive. If Amazon fails, then without a doubt states across the nation will adopt similar online purchase taxes.
Although it was adopted in order to grab a slice of the Amazon pie, many other companies will wind up having to charge tax to New Yorkers.
Overstock.com has taken the opposite move. They have terminated all relationships with NY based advertisers in order that they can continue to ship items to NY tax-free. They have even had to terminate their coupons in the Entertainment book, due to fears that advertising in Entertainment would force them to charge New Yorkers sales tax!
It should be interesting to see how other companies react to the new law…
At any rate, here is the new Amazon policy:
Items Shipped to New York State
Effective June 1, 2008, Amazon.com LLC will begin collecting sales tax on items shipped to destinations within the State of New York as New York has enacted a new law requiring out-of-state sellers to collect and remit sales tax based on advertising. Amazon has filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of this provision. However, as required by the law, we must still begin collecting New York sales tax beginning on that date.
Please note that if you place an order prior to June 1, 2008, your Order Total may not include an estimate of New York sales taxes, but those taxes may still be charged if your order is readied for shipment on or after that date.
If tax has been charged on any portion of your order and you need to take advantage of your tax exempt status, the process will differ depending on the merchant who sold the taxed items.
If the taxed items were sold by any of the following merchants, Amazon Customer Service can facilitate a refund.
- Amazon.com LLC
- Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
- Borders Teamed with Amazon.com, Inc.
If the taxed items were sold by any other merchant, please contact that merchant directly using the contact information provided in the merchant’s Contact Customer Service section.
In those cases where Amazon.com can facilitate a tax exempt refund, you will need to provide us with acceptable proof of exempt status for the state where the items will be shipped.
How to submit this information
First, place your order through our Web site. After you’ve placed your order, please submit the necessary information by fax in order to receive a refund of any sales tax. Our fax number is (206) 266-2005.
Please include the following:
- Your order number (17 digits in this format: XXX-XXXXXXX-XXXXXXX)
- E-mail address
- Acceptable proof of your exempt status (as outlined above)
- The name of the merchant who sold the items
- The name of the organization that purchased the items
- Mark your fax “Attn: Amazon Tax Exempt”