Posts Tagged ‘Amazon’

Campaign Launched Urging Congress To OK Internet Sales Tax Collections – Nevada Delegation Split

By Sean Whaley | 9:14 am May 31st, 2012

CARSON CITY – The National Retail Federation has launched a nationwide 60-day campaign to raise awareness among lawmakers and the public on how what it calls a loophole exempting online sales from sales tax is hurting local communities and job creation.

If Nevada’s five-member Congressional delegation is any indication, the group has its work cut out for it, with three members opposed and two supportive of the idea to allow states to tax online sales.

“Our current sales tax system unfairly favors one set of retailers over another,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Congress is naming winners and losers by its failure to address this issue, and the brick-and-mortar retailers who create jobs across our country want action on this issue now.”

Illustration by Pictofigo via Wikimedia Commons.

The national push, begun earlier this month, comes on the heels of Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval’s agreement with Amazon to begin collecting sales taxes on Nevada online purchases beginning Jan. 1, 2014, or sooner if federal legislation is passed to allow states to collect revenues from internet purchases.

The agreement also calls for the state and the Fortune 500 company to work together for immediate enactment of federal legislation that will address the needs of states, retailers and consumers by creating a simplified and equitable framework for sales tax collection.

But members of Nevada’s Congressional delegation are divided on the question.

U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., have previously said they oppose such legislation, called the “Main Street Fairness Act.”

Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., is also opposed.

“We need to ensure that Nevada’s small businesses have the tools they need to grow and create jobs without burdensome taxes and additional red tape,” she said in a statement issued Wednesday. “For this reason, I will continue to support unrestricted Internet sales in Nevada and throughout the U.S.”

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., who participated in a hearing on the issue last year as a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said Wednesday he is open to the idea, depending on the specific wording of a measure that would come up for a vote.

The current system of ignoring Internet sales while collecting sales taxes from local retailers is an “artificial tax administration policy I don’t think anyone approved,” he said. “It just kind of happened. I would sure like to look at something.”

Retailers of all types should be playing on the same field for tax purposes, Amodei said.

A statement from the office of U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he also supports giving states the authority to require online retailers to collect their sales tax.

Three Republican candidates seeking the 4th Congressional seat in the 2012 general election recently spoke in favor of such legislation in a debate on the Face To Face television program. Barbara Cegavske, Danny Tarkanian and Dan Schwartz all said they favored such legislation.

Sandoval estimates Nevada will receive between $15 million and $20 million a year under the agreement with Amazon, which mirrors those signed in several other states. Tax revenues to Nevada could total $200 million a year if all online purchases were assessed the state sales tax, he said. Nevada’s sales tax rate varies by county and ranges between 6.85 and 8.1 percent.

Sandoval recently said he pursued the agreement after the online sales tax collection issue was brought to him by the Retail Association of Nevada (RAN), which praised the deal announced in April.

Bryan Wachter, director of Government Affairs for RAN, said the national campaign is aimed at educating the public and policy makers. While “mom and pop” stores on Main Street are required to collect the sales tax, Internet companies have been treated differently, he said.

“Even though they’re both doing the same amount of business for the same customers, they are treated as two different entities and we just think that needs to stop,” Wachter said. “Government should create level playing fields and allow the market to be able to decide what business model works and doesn’t work. And so that’s really the main focus of the E-Fairness campaign, is government should treat everybody the same. Fair is fair.”

The proposals in Congress are asking that states be allowed to decide if they want to collect sales taxes on internet sales, he said. A lot of states have budget problems right now that could be partially addressed with such revenue, Wachter said.

There are a lot of struggling businesses in Nevada that face an additional hurdle because of the sales tax issue, he said.

Shay said the federation will mobilize the retail industry, “so every retailer – regardless of whether they sell their merchandise online, through the mail or in a store on Main Street – can compete on a level playing field. This debate is about local retailers who make major contributions to their local communities being forced to operate in an unfair sales tax environment while out-of-state competitors are handed a huge advantage.”

The campaign includes an online petition that merchants and consumers can sign, a series of videos featuring small retailers talking about the competitive disadvantage they face, and print and online advertising in targeted states and congressional districts.

The sales tax issue was created by a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Quill v. North Dakota that ruled that “remote sellers” – which include Internet, mail-order and “1-800” sellers on radio or television – can only be required to collect sales tax in states where they have a physical presence, such as their headquarters or a store or warehouse.

Shay said the court ruling means that most online sales go untaxed and has placed local retailers at a competitive price disadvantage. It also costs state and local governments an estimated $24 billion a year in tax revenues.

“Retail is retail, be it online or in a store,” he said. “All retailers should compete on a level playing field with the same set of sales tax rules. It is only fair.”

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Audio clips:

Bryan Wachter with the Retail Association of Nevada says the two types of businesses are being treated differently and the practice needs to stop:

053012Wachter1 :29 needs to stop.”

Wachter says government should treat everybody the same:

053012Wachter2 :14 Fair is fair.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rep. Joe Heck Joins With Sen. Dean Heller In Opposing Federal Legislation To Require Online Sales Tax Collections

By Sean Whaley | 7:24 pm May 14th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., said today he agrees with his congressional colleague in opposing federal legislation requiring online merchants to levy sales taxes on purchases.

Heck, interviewed on the Face To Face television program, said he agrees with U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., in opposing such legislation in Congress.

Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev.

The question of internet taxation has become an issue in Nevada with Gov. Brian Sandoval’s recent agreement with online retailing giant Amazon to begin collecting Nevada sales tax on purchases.

The deal reached by Sandoval and Amazon is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2014, or sooner if federal legislation is passed to allow states to collect revenues from internet purchases.

Heller said in a statement that he remains opposed to such federal legislation.

“Sen. Heller does not support imposing a federal internet sales tax mandate,” said Chandler Smith, campaign spokeswoman for Heller, in response to an email inquiry. “The Amazon agreement in Nevada is a state issue.”

Heck today said he agreed with Heller although he had no issue with Sandoval’s deal with Amazon. But the sales tax rate is different in many counties, he said.

“I do, I do,” Heck said. “I don’t think we should be collecting the sales tax at this time via the internet until the state figures out a way to be able to apply whatever tax rate they are going to apply in a uniform manner. We have a different rate here than we have in Washoe than we have in Elko. Which sales tax is the state going to collect.”

Heck was also asked about President Obama’s announcement last week that he believes gay couples should have the right to marry.

“I believe marriage is between a man and a woman,” he said. “I believe that the people of the state of Nevada have made that decision, they put it in our state constitution.”

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Audio clips:

Rep. Joe Heck says now is not the time for federal legislation requiring internet sales tax collections:

051412Heck1 :15 going to collect.”

Heck says marriage is between a man and a woman:

051412Heck2 :09 our state constitution.”

 

Sen. Heller, Gov. Sandoval Disagree On Internet Sales Tax

By Sean Whaley | 3:28 pm May 8th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Gov. Brian Sandoval’s recent agreement with on-line retailing giant Amazon to begin collecting Nevada sales tax on purchases is unlikely to see federal legislation supporting the policy from Nevada’s junior senator.

The deal reached by Sandoval and Amazon is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2014, or sooner if federal legislation is passed to allow states to collect revenues from internet purchases.

Sandoval said today he has discussed the issue with U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, but that Heller is opposed to such legislation at the federal level.

Gov. Brian Sandoval. / Nevada News Bureau file photo.

“I have spoken with Sen. Heller,” he said. “Sen. Heller is not supportive of the, I think it is called the Main Street Fairness Act.”

Chandler Smith, campaign spokeswoman for Heller, confirmed he does not support such a proposal.

“Sen. Heller does not support imposing a federal internet sales tax mandate,” she said in response to an email inquiry. “The Amazon agreement in Nevada is a state issue.”

Sandoval said he has not had a discussion about such a proposal with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

The most recent effort to force on-line retailers to collect sales taxes is being pushed by U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Ten., and Mike Enzi, R-Wyo.

Sandoval said the agreement he reached with Amazon is identical to those established by governors in other states, including South Carolina, Indiana, California, Tennessee and Texas.

“So there are some very conservative governors out there that have taken the identical position that we have,” he said. “I’ll say it again that this is not a new tax. This is something that is required to be collected.”

Sandoval has estimated that the deal with Amazon will bring in between $15 million and $20 million a year. He said the deal is good for the state.

Sandoval jokingly noted that he’s doing his part.

Sandoval said he bought a pair of old City of Reno cufflinks on eBay on Monday, paying a grand total of $3.99. Sandoval said he then filled out a form provided by the state Department of Taxation to remit his 30 cents in sales tax to the state.

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Audio clips:

Gov. Brian Sandoval says U.S. Sen. Dean Heller is opposed to federal legislation requiring sales tax collections from on-line purchases:

050812Sandoval1 :08 Street Fairness Act.”

Sandoval says Nevada’s agreement is identical to those entered into by several other governors:

050812Sandoval2 :14 to be collected.”

 

 

Gov. Brian Sandoval Announces Deal With Amazon To Collect Nevada Sales Tax On Web Purchases

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 3:05 pm April 23rd, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval announced today that the state has reached an agreement with on-line retailing giant Amazon to begin collecting Nevada sales tax on purchases.

The agreement also calls for the state and the Fortune 500 company to work together for immediate enactment of federal legislation that will address the needs of states, retailers and consumers by creating a simplified and equitable framework for sales tax collection.

Sandoval said he will continue to push Congress to act on legislation that will allow states to collect revenues that are already due.

“The only way to completely resolve this issue is for Congress to enact legislation that, within a simplified nationwide framework, grants states the right to require collection by all sellers,” Sandoval said. “We thank Amazon for creating jobs and investment in Nevada and are very grateful the company is working with us on a federal solution.”

Amazon subsidiaries employ thousands of Nevadans in the Reno and Las Vegas areas.

The agreement could mean as much as $16 million a year in sales tax collections to the state.

“Amazon appreciates Gov. Sandoval’s focus on Nevada jobs and his efforts to encourage congress to resolve the sales tax issue this year,” said Paul Misener, Amazon vice president of Global Public Policy. “We strongly support federal legislation permitting interstate sales tax collection because it is the only way to level the playing field for all sellers, the only way for Nevada to obtain all the sales tax revenue that is already owed, and the only way to fully protect states’ rights.”

According to the agreement between the Nevada Department of Taxation and Amazon, the company will voluntarily begin to collect and remit Nevada sales tax beginning January 1, 2014, or as of the effective date of federal legislation, whichever is earlier. Amazon will collect the sales and use tax in the same manner as traditional brick and mortar retailers, relieving Nevadans from having to self-report use taxes from these sales to the state.

News of the agreement was welcomed by the Retail Association of Nevada (RAN).

“The Retail Association of Nevada congratulates the governor on his leadership in bringing all businesses to the table and requiring them to play by the same rules,” said RAN President Mary Lau.

“We’re hopeful that this agreement serves as a commitment by Amazon to preserve Nevada jobs at its fulfillment center and that fellow internet retailers will follow suit,” she said. “Hard work still remains in leveling the playing field among all businesses both on main street and on-line and we look forward to working with Gov. Sandoval in support of Nevada’s businesses.”

Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), is a Fortune 500 company based in Seattle that opened for business on the World Wide Web in July 1995.