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Amazon Reaches Sales Tax Deal With Massachusetts

by Leroy Baker,, New York

17 December 2012

Internet retailer Amazon will collect and remit sales tax in the US state of Massachusetts from November, 2013, under an agreement announced by Governor Deval Patrick. According to Patrick, the agreement "is a win for all sides."

The agreement was welcomed by the Massachusetts Main Street Fairness Coalition, an organization of local retailers, elected officials, labor unions, trade and business associations, and individuals. The Coalition has been lobbying Patrick to take action to force Amazon to collect sales tax throughout the year. Salem Mayor Kimberley Driscoll, Co-Chair of the Coalition, said that "sales taxes should be applied the same for purchases whether made on Main Street or online," and believes that the deal will level the playing field.

Jon B. Hurst, President of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, also announced his approval of the measure. He said: "Our members are grateful and relieved to know that they will not have to face another holiday sales season with a 6.25% tax disparity with the world's largely online seller." The ultimate goal, he explained, is that out-of-state businesses are no longer "favored" over local employers.

Patrick also announced that Amazon and Massachusetts will work together toward the enactment of legislation currently before the federal US Congress designed to resolve the issue. The legislation would allow states to require remote sellers, including internet retailers, to collect and remit sales tax.

Paul Misener, Amazon vice president of global public policy said of this portion of the deal that: "Federal legislation is the only way to level the playing field for all sellers, the only way for states to obtain more than a fraction of the sales tax revenue that is already owed, and the only way to fully protect states’ rights."

TAGS: individuals | tax | business | sales tax | commerce | law | internet | e-commerce | legislation | United States | retail

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