Amazon.com sales tax deal at 1.31 percent

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  • taking a stand for truth Lehi, UT
    March 16, 2017 8:56 a.m.

    subscriber rvalens2 - Burley, ID has it right. The collection for sales tax should be in the state making the product. Think about it. Sales tax in Utah is used primarily to fund social services, executive offices and criminal justice system, infrastructure, general government and higher education. [Source: www.utahtaxpayers.org] Why does the consumer state need tax for social services, executive offices and criminal justice system or higher education? That is just NUTS! And as for the infrastructure, for the most part, it takes place in the locale that is making, producing a product. People drive to work there, the business uses utilities there, etc. (and apparently need social services to cope with work.) Come on! The only real "consumption" of these things in the consumer state is transportation. So add more sales tax there if you must. But the concept of sales tax on online purchases makes little sense and other than greed for more taxes is unjustified.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Dec. 10, 2016 8:58 p.m.

    Sales tax up from four to around seven percent in my time in Utah. Shameful.

    So now, instead of buying from Amazon, we are pushed into supporting local businesses a bit more, since we will find the local business closer at hand and both businesses are charging, as we may suppose, the same sales tax.

    I can imagine the scenario: you go to the local business and find, in many cases, they don't have what you want but they "will get it for you" - in about a week. Then the business sends for it, it may well be to Amazon as they usually have a competitive price, get the desired product for which they are charged the price of the product plus the sales tax. They mark it up to make their profit and charge the sales tax a second time to comply with Utah law. So the customer waits longer, and pays more for the product, and additionally pays the sales tax twice. Think about it; it may happen to you.

  • JTW Orem, UT
    Dec. 10, 2016 1:29 p.m.

    We have ENOUGH taxes! How much more are we gonna stand? A nickel here, a quarter there, after a while it adds up.
    AND what about Amazon getting part of my taxes? I guess that was Utah's incentive to collect taxes. Way to go Governor and Tax Commission. Really working for the people.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Dec. 10, 2016 6:51 a.m.

    This is the 4th story on this, and each time, the facts have been different. The DesNews ought to explain why. Otherwise, it seems like lazy reporting at minimum. But I do think that the paper should engage in journalism rather than serve as a news organ for the power structure. The people would be better served. We really need to know what goes on. Isn't that the purpose of newspapers?

  • QDiesel SLC, UT
    Dec. 10, 2016 12:13 a.m.

    It has actually been real nice to not have to pay state taxes for the majority of the websites I shop at online but I can see and have thought for some time that this was going to come to a end in Utah. I buy a lot of expensive DVD sets and video games online and saving a few bucks by not having to pay taxes has always been wonderful and allowed me to spend more. Probably won't spend as much there when this law goes into effect.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 9, 2016 9:16 p.m.

    So, was the news reporting that Amazon was going to keep 18% of the Utah sales tax they collected "fake news" or sloppy reporting, or misinformation planted by some bureaucrat or politician?

    1.31% sounds like about the paltry sum the state allows in-state business to keep for the pleasure of collecting sales tax. Frankly for a business only doing business in state, it is not too hard to do the paperwork, and some sort of kickback is a good incentive.

    For a company selling to multiple states and taxing jurisdictions, the complexity of collecting and remitting different amounts to each of them is a horrendously complex problem. Someone the size of Amazon has the infrastructure to program their systems to do all that, with a start up cost of probably hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you are keeping 18% of the taxes collected that is a new revenue stream on every sale, tiny as a percentage but adding up to real money on $10 millions of sales. Even 1.31% will add up to a nice profit margin over time.

    Now, for a small business to try to do it, the would be buried by the complexity and not even 50% commission would justify the work.

  • chans WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Dec. 9, 2016 5:09 p.m.

    Just greed by the state so they can spend more. I make less then 8 years ago and am taxes more every year . The state city and county needs to go on a diet

  • Sal Provo, UT
    Dec. 9, 2016 4:09 p.m.

    The Constitution states that I do not have to pay taxes on out-of-state sales when there is no physical presence of that company in my state. So, how is it legal for Amazon to charge taxes on my purchases?

    Again, most of us don't mind paying taxes on our purchases. We just think this deal is highly suspicious coming after Herbert is safely elected, and he having said nothing about it during his campaign.

  • The Rock Federal Way, WA
    Dec. 9, 2016 3:24 p.m.

    Amazon actually supports efforts by states to collect the unconstitutional sales tax on interstate commerce. (The constitution prohibits the states from taxing exports from one state to another.)

    Why do they support it?

    Just imagine what it would be like for a small company to collect sales taxes for every state and local government. A twinky is food in one area and candy in another and they are taxed differently. There are thousands of taxing districts just in the state of Washington where I live.
    How would you like to have to file state sales tax reports to all 50 states and half their counties? Oh, and you have no employees.

    It is an impossible task.

    Amazon has the software infrastructure to do all of this for all their sellers. If the states get their wish and they can force all businesses to collect and pay sales taxes on interstate commerce, they will be forced to sell through Amazon.

    Anti Trust anyone?

  • The Rock Federal Way, WA
    Dec. 9, 2016 3:17 p.m.

    Why is government action of this type a secret?
    The people have a right to know what their government is doing.

  • AZKID Mapleton, UT
    Dec. 9, 2016 2:58 p.m.

    Reading between the lines, it sounds to me like Amazon is about to do something that will give them a presence in the state of Utah and this sales tax piece was just part of a larger negotiation. It could be that Amazon traded the 18% for some other kind of incentive--probably favorable tax treatment as incentive for building a facility here.

    What other reason could there be for a rational, self-interested company to forego the 18% they were entitled to by law?

    At the risk of starting a rumor based on nothing more than pure speculation, I believe that there will be an AWS (Amazon Web Services) data and engineering center that will eventually be built on the current state prison property.

    Remember, you heard it here first folks...

  • Traveller Farmington, UT
    Dec. 9, 2016 2:17 p.m.

    This isn't a tax increase.

    You are already supposed to be paying Use Tax for everything you buy on Amazon. If you haven't been paying then you have, at least technically, been breaking the law, whether anyone has come after you for doing so or not.

    Personally I'm happy to have the sales tax charged when I buy something on Amazon rather than having to go over every purchase I've made over the year so that I pay the proper Use Tax when I file my income tax.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Dec. 9, 2016 1:56 p.m.

    This is like the 3rd article on this evolving story in 2 days. What's going on? Is there heat? Are you trying to rationalize or cover up for the Governor? This is curious.

  • rvalens2 Burley, ID
    Dec. 9, 2016 1:22 p.m.

    I have a solution for the state sales tax issue.

    Have the sales tax collected in the state, city or jurisdiction in which the company resides. (Some states allow local sales tax options.) After all, it can be argued that no sale has occurred until the money crosses the vendor's state border. In other words, the sale is actually consummated in the vendor's state not the buyer's state.

    The above idea would simplify the whole matter and put pressure on states to keep their sales taxes low. And it would make it easy for every company – large or small – to comply with sales taxes because sales taxes would become a local issue – not an interstate one.

  • cavetroll SANDY, UT
    Dec. 9, 2016 12:57 p.m.

    Wait a minute...

    The state can't discuss a deal that potentially affects every resident in Utah?!

    "Move along folks, nothing to see here." Business as usual in the state government.

  • Bearone Monroe, UT
    Dec. 9, 2016 12:45 p.m.

    Another suggestion--
    Some of our government watchdogs (the news media) should file a
    GRAMA request to make the 'agreement' public for everyone to see. Otherwise a court order stopping the agreement until the Tax Commission provides copies of the agreement.
    We just want to know 'the rest of the story'. The Tax Commission is beating around the bush with 'we got permission from Amazon to say they didn't take the incentive'. Sorry. There is something there-we just haven't been told what it is.

  • Bearone Monroe, UT
    Dec. 9, 2016 11:34 a.m.

    Now this 'deal' really smells!!!!!

    The public is entitled to know what the agreement really includes.
    Amazon is getting something more than 1.31% on this deal. What is it?

  • Prometheus Platypus Orem, UT
    Dec. 9, 2016 11:35 a.m.

    That's not very presidential, to not give them millions in tax breaks.