This weekend The New York Times took a nationwide look at Amazon.com's struggles — in more than a few states — to avoid collecting sales tax.
In light of a sales tax deal the Seattle-based company struck with the State of Tennessee as part of its plan to locate distribution operations in Chattanooga, the piece is worth a read.
Here's an excerpt:
Amazon collects sales tax in only five states — Kansas, Kentucky, New York, North Dakota and Washington — where it has offices or another physical presence.
It avoids collecting in several other states where it has warehouses by assigning their ownership to a subsidiary. Until the tax dispute in Texas, Amazon had encountered few problems with that arrangement.
Now, though, as Amazon seeks to open warehouses in South Carolina and Tennessee, it is also pressing for specific legislation to exempt it from collecting sales tax, using the jobs created by the facilities as leverage.
But the company is running into some resistance. For example, in Tennessee officials canceled a hearing last month about adjusting tax rules after the governor imposed a 45-day moratorium on new regulations. In South Carolina, legislation that had exempted Amazon from collecting tax has expired; it is unclear whether it will be renewed or not.