Two recent actions are showing governments and people are starting to realize Amazon is a big bully and growing at the expense of unfair business practices. The most recent is a Monday ruling by a Seattle federal judge who ruled that Amazon must provide enough customer data so North Carolina can collect long-overdue sales taxes from Amazon customers. The ruling follows a recent Texas case where the state charged Amazon.com owes it about $269 million in uncollected sales tax, including interest and penalties for sales from December 2005 to December 2009.
Amazon is collecting sales taxes in five states where it has nexus. However, in some, such as Colorado, the online predator fired local affiliates to avoid paying sales tax after a state law requiring such was passed.
Lost sales taxes caused by Amazon’s practices are the same funds that are requiring states to reduce services, lay-off workers, and raise state taxes to keep operating. Local businesses must pay sales taxes to support their local communities, but doing so puts them at a competitive disadvantage to Amazon and other online retailers who skirt sales taxes.
It’s about time states worked for business fairness and equity and stopped predatory tax-avoidance practices.