You may have heard something about the tax situation in the budget. There aren’t any real increases, as you know, no Republicans voted for it. But there are a few things that do attempt to increase revenue. Most publicly, there is the so-called “Amazon tax”, which isn’t really a tax at all. All it does is instead of depending on Californians to keep track of their purchasers from major online retailers and then pay use tax, and puts it on said major online retailers.
You’ve been paying your use tax dutifully every year, right? Right? Well, if that was the case, then Amazon wouldn’t be going to lengths that it has gone to avoid charging sales taxes to California residents. Because here’s the news on that front, they’ve decided to terminate their affiliate program in California due to the new requirement to collect sales taxes:
For well over a decade, the Amazon Associates Program has worked with thousands of California residents. Unfortunately, a potential new law that may be signed by Governor Brown compels us to terminate this program for California-based participants. It specifically imposes the collection of taxes from consumers on sales by online retailers – including but not limited to those referred by California-based marketing affiliates like you – even if those retailers have no physical presence in the state.
We oppose this bill because it is unconstitutional and counterproductive. It is supported by big-box retailers, most of which are based outside California, that seek to harm the affiliate advertising programs of their competitors. Similar legislation in other states has led to job and income losses, and little, if any, new tax revenue. We deeply regret that we must take this action.
As a result, we will terminate contracts with all California residents that are participants in the Amazon Associates Program as of the date (if any) that the California law becomes effective. We will send a follow-up notice to you confirming the termination date if the California law is enacted. In the event that the California law does not become effective before September 30, 2011, we withdraw this notice. As of the termination date, California residents will no longer receive advertising fees for sales referred to Amazon.com , Endless.com , MYHABIT.COM or SmallParts.com . Please be assured that all qualifying advertising fees earned on or before the termination date will be processed and paid in full in accordance with the regular payment schedule.
Of course, they have no proof that job losses are arising from anything but their own obsitancy from paying their fair share. They use government services heavily, after all, their packages go across interstate highways and city roads maintained by the government, and that whole internet thing? Yeah, that was originally a project of the government. But they don’t give a crap about any of that. They are about one entity and one entity alone, and that’s Amazon.com.
They like that they get this unfair advantage on price. Sure, big box retailers aren’t exactly notorious good actors, but at least they pay their freaking taxes. Amazon complains that it is just too hard for them, or they can’t process it. Frankly, that’s BS. They manage to maintain a catalog of millions of products, I’m pretty sure they can handle the few lines of code and a few checks for sales tax.
So, with that, as a former “affiliate” of Amazon, I have now switched to Barnes & Noble, who pay their taxes. You can find that link in the upper right corner. Furthermore, there are these other institutions. You can walk in to them, and actually see the products IRL. Crazy, but true. Please, consider supporting your local businesses first before you give the money to an unsupportive partner like Amazon.