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Customer Discussions > Gold Box forum

California sales tax

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Showing 1-25 of 25 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 26, 2012 8:25:05 AM PST
Ben 524 says:
Why when ordering items from Amazon their maybe sales tax added on to the item. Different items when ordered through Amazon and not one of their merchants no sales tax is added. For example, I ordered a calendar from Amazon and no sales tax was added. I ordered shoes from Amazon and I had to pay the California sales tax?

Posted on Nov 26, 2012 8:28:53 AM PST
DTC says:
A calendar is probably slotted under books (they are in some states). Are they considered books in CA and are books taxed in California? That might be your answer.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 8:31:07 AM PST
Sylverlady says:
I think Amazon has agreed to pay California tax on items sold by them. Some of their retailers are outside of California and are not bound by the agreement.

Posted on Nov 26, 2012 8:34:40 AM PST
At last! online purchasers are required to pay a fair share of sales tax. Why should they not?
A Californian and not a merchant.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 8:42:30 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 26, 2012 8:43:24 AM PST
DTC says:
>>Sylverlady says: I think Amazon has agreed to pay California tax on items sold by them.<<

You don't honestly believe that, do you? Seriously?
Why on Earth would Amazon pay sales tax on behalf of the customer? And why would they do it on calendars, but not on shoes??

>>Some of their retailers are outside of California and are not bound by the agreement.<<
The OP claims to have bought directly from Amazon, not a merchant. Amazon is bound by the agreement.

Posted on Nov 26, 2012 8:59:04 AM PST
SLAYER® says:
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Posted on Nov 26, 2012 9:07:24 AM PST
K. cossey says:
Actually, something to look into. One of the propositions on the ballet was to require companies who do business in the state of California to pay sales taxes. Therefore this may have something to do with this. Many companies have moved their businesses out of state to cut expenses but continue to do it majority of business in California.

Posted on Nov 26, 2012 10:34:44 AM PST
Craig says:
Folks, here is the situation:

The law is that everyone owes the equivalent of sales tax on internet purchases, if the seller doesn't collect it from the customer and pay it to the state. You're required to file it on your income taxes, it's called the Use Tax and has been around since the 1930's (obviously not designed for the internet but includes it). This is the case in every state that has a sales tax.

If you don't file these purchases on your income taxes and pay the tax, you're filing a false return and cheating on your taxes - which over 90% of people did.

This gave a great advantage to internet sellers over local stores when people consisered not paying the tax they owed a 'discount'. It hurt local sellers and the state's income to pay the public bills.

It also made suckers of the honest few people who paid the tax. The State of California pressured Amazon and got an agreement for Amazon to start collecting the tax and paying it to California.

Good for them! It's about time.

This is spreading to more states, and hopefully more sellers as well - though Amazon is the biggest single seller, with 30% of all internet sales. This will be good for the states and public and fair competition.

Posted on Nov 26, 2012 11:18:12 AM PST
Bill Gates says:
Amazon started charging sales tax to pennsylvania residents in september due to pressure from the states merchants. The local retailers said they cannot compete because they must charge state sales tax and online retailers don't. Amazon has distribution centers in Pa. so they were forced to comply. I wonder how the state would have reacted had Amazon pulled all facilities from the state? What would that cost Pa.? The local retailers are right however the situation put them at a disadvantage. Now that tax is being charged i will be taking my best online price for any item i plan to purchase directly to my local retailer for a price match. If the local retailer matches the price i will glady buy from them. I won't even be bothered by the cost of travelling to the local retailer as opposed to having delivered by the online retailer. I would rather buy from the local guy but i am not overpaying for it. I will be making many purchases of household item in 2013. Time for the local to prove sales tax was the only thing keeping me from buying from him. Price match or lose the sale. Seems fair to me.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 11:40:26 AM PST
Rommel says:
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Posted on Nov 26, 2012 11:53:03 AM PST
SLAYER® says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 1:27:17 PM PST
Rommel says:
@K. J. Koch:

I think the situation will force people to buy items from merchants who are not required to collect sales tax at the Amazon Marketplace. It is possible to find merchants that match or even beat Amazon prices. Another option is to price match at a local store. But those are few and far between. I would love to support local stores but when they hire incompetent and rude people like Walmart and Fry's Electronics there is just no way they will earn my business. How can local businesses expect to compete when they leave customers wandering aisles and getting a negative shopping experience from associates who get paid by commission. Might as well do my own shopping at home through Amazon.

Posted on Nov 26, 2012 1:42:55 PM PST
L. Villa says:
The state of New Jersey will be collecting sales taxes from Amazon purchases starting July, 2013. That is because they will be breaking ground for Amazon distribution facilities in NJ at that time. State law is that a company must have a 'physical' presence in the state for the State government to be able to collect.
Clothes and shoes, however, will still be untaxed here as NJ does not tax clothing. Like food and prescription medications , it is considered a necessity for any individual's existence.
If I buy from a NJ seller in the Amazon Marketplace, they automatically charge me sales taxes.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 1:59:48 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 26, 2012 2:15:16 PM PST
Rommel says:
@L. Villa:

The big question will be if California forces small out of state businesses to collect sales tax. Amazon was a huge target for lawmakers. They rewrote the law to remove the 'physical presence' required to collect sales tax. That was over two years ago when Amazon agreed to start collect sales tax in 2012 before they had plans for a new facility in California. If collecting sales tax means an even playing field then small businesses should also follow the rules. But we all know that out of state Amazon Marketplace merchants are not required to collect sales tax. Some of which are actually established and large business operations.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 2:21:11 PM PST
Wayne says:
I think the poster meant collect sales tax and "pay" it to the state, meaning collect it for the state.

The OP wasn't very clear and often people refer to buying anything through the Amazon website as buying from Amazon. It's not a matter of whether they are technically right or wrong, but whether they need an explanation.

If a seller (merchant) is in California, then perhaps the seller will collect sales tax. But anybody with an account can sell on Amazon and individuals who sell on occasion are not set up to collect sales tax for the state and forward it on. So not all sellers will bother collecting it, and will leave it up to the buyer to pay it directly to the state.

Regardless of who the seller is, sales tax or use tax is supposed to be paid either through the merchant or when taxes are filed. California went after the largest out of state merchants such as Amazon and insisted that they collect sales tax. Smaller merchants with a website and local stores outside of CA might have occasional orders from CA and not bother collecting sales tax. If they also sell on Amazon, there's a good chance they won't collect sales tax for out of state customers in CA. Then the customer needs to keep records of sales tax and pay it directly to the BOE or have the FTB collect it for them.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 2:29:53 PM PST
Wayne says:
Fry's now has a policy of honoring Internet prices for price matching. I checked their open positions to see what they require and they no longer seem to list incompetence and rudeness as criteria for employment. I'm not sure if they ever did. I've met my share of competent employees at Fry's and perhaps more than a few incompetent ones as well. But there's no excuse for rudeness. Given that it's a chain with many stores, and rudeness comes from individuals who easily could have been rude at any other store that hired them, I can't see how Fry's is to blame. Fry's can certainly try to check competence during an interview. And I suspect they would not hire somebody who is rude to the interviewer. Beyond that, it's a matter of you complaining to their management instead of complaining here. If they can pay a polite person the same thing and there's no shortage of applicants, I don't see why they would keep rude people and fail to let them know the potential consequences.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 3:30:18 PM PST
L. Villa says:
To Rommel:

California can try, but I doubt it can succeed with the current laws extant. I can understand their need for the extra source of taxes to fuel their bankrupt state , but out of state businesses will fight tooth and nail through the courts to not be forced to collect.

That would be like when NY's Mario Cuomo tried to tax NY consumers who went to NJ and bought wine there. He posted NY state troopers at the entrance to tunnels to NY and made them stop NY cars and have their cars checked for wine so they could be taxed the NY rates. Courts didn't stand for it. And Cuomo never got the law changed.

And seriously, it's not only the taxes that would even out the playing field for small businesses against Amazon anyway. You would have to factor in the cost of gas, time lost and the convenience of finding more items at one site rather than going from store to store as more important than not paying the sales tax. And yes. as you say, the quality of service would be a big factor there, too.

I love being able to go out and drive somewhere to shop, eat out at the mall, watch a movie or meet with friends and so on to make a shopping trip a small 'social event'. It costs me more but it's my idea of fun.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 4:38:54 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 26, 2012 5:24:59 PM PST
Rommel says:

I think you misunderstood what I said when talking about Fry's sales associates. It was meant as an example of why I chose to shop at Amazon instead of supporting local stores.

I would like to know which Fry's you go to because the four within driving distance to my house have not changed much since the late 90s. The employees still crowd into a huddle pretending to have a meeting when they see a customer approaching with a store flyer. They almost always try to sell more expensive products than what the customer is looking for and the worst is they will never look for sale items in the back storage. They simply tell you to look for the item on the floor somewhere in the building. The few store associates I have come across who actually knew something about the products being sold never lasted more than six months at the job. Probably because they were over qualified. The next time you go to Fry's pay attention to the dumpsters. They don't have any outside the building. Fry's has a policy of securing trash bins because their employees throw away high ticket items in order to retrieve them outside the building after the shift ends. Who is to blame for this type of behavior? While Fry's might try to do a good job screening potential applicants their low wage and commissioned sales only attract incompetent and rude workforce.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 4:57:36 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 26, 2012 5:18:31 PM PST
Rommel says:
@L. Villa:

Amazon fought the California Assembly for many years but lost. I doubt small businesses would have the collective power to fight such a change. The cost of gas, time lost and convenience is not a factor for things me and my wife buy at local shops. My wife refuses to buy jewelry and clothing online because she enjoys trying them on before buying. Even if Amazon Prime makes it possible to return or exchange items for free, the act of packing stuff and dropping them off at a UPS store is too much of a hassle. I totally agree with what you said, online shopping will never replace socializing with friends at the mall.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 27, 2012 2:02:46 PM PST
Wayne says:
In my experience, which dates back to the much earlier days of Fry's, the place started out as one where customers were more technically apt than employees. A person who lives in Silicon Valley who had the knowledge to trump a customer of that day would have been working at a job that paid closer to six figures.

Times have changed and a lot more customers have little technical knowledge. Fry's used to be the place where you could get the right value resistor or electronic component. That's now such a small part of their business that they are not well stocked in that area. These days you could show up to buy a clothes dryer.

Perhaps I'm not the best person to ask, because I'm not likely to ask them very technical questions. I'll know what I want before I show up. But I would notice bad service and rudeness. In the early days it was a crap shoot trying to return things until the courts stepped in and forced them to have a uniform policy. These days technical knowledge might be down (but it's no better at big box stores) but I'm not seeing the rudeness. Perhaps indifference would be a better term, although the folks who try to sell computers often have the demeanor (and smile) of car salesmen.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 27, 2012 2:06:07 PM PST
Wayne says:
Yes, smaller out of state businesses will not have the power or resources to fight. And California will not have the resources to go after small out of state businesses. Amazon may fight laws but will have to follow them. California could afford to go after them if they ignored laws. But California can't go after every seller on eBay or third party seller on Amazon. They wouldn't even have the resources to find out who is following the law or even where they are shipping from without placing orders.

Posted on Sep 2, 2013 1:11:19 PM PDT
SLAYER® says:
that means
Tax It

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 2, 2013 1:30:04 PM PDT
D. Hoffman says:
As we speak, California is also working on a plan to force all out-of-state retailers to collect Ca sales tax. This means retailers would have to keep track of every Ca County tax rate and submit returns. What will get in return? the privilege of selling to Californians--I don't think so.

Posted on Sep 2, 2013 10:04:29 PM PDT
Trust Me says:
It's been several months since Amazon has been collecting sales tax on sales to California and the sky has not fallen. Retailers can easily utilize the computers they use to take, charge, and ship orders to calculate sales tax. California is the most populous state in the Union and has more than 10% of the nation's population. If retailers don't want to sell in California, it is their loss. Welcome to the 21st Century.

I live in California, and I haven't shopped at Amazon any less and I haven't found any online retailer refusing to sell to California residents. This big deal issue has turned out to be no big deal.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 2, 2013 11:15:57 PM PDT
Dragoneer says:

In case you don't know: Trucks that cross state boundaries pay license fees in EVERY state they drive in. There is something called an "apportioned" truck license that splits the fees among all states by some agreed upon formula. The cost of licenses for large trucks is huge compared to car costs. Further a truck carrying goods to a city does not guarantee that those goods will be consumed in that city, e.g., consider the UPS and FedEx hub city arrangements. So I don't think your suggestions would work very well.
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Discussion in:  Gold Box forum
Participants:  14
Total posts:  25
Initial post:  Nov 26, 2012
Latest post:  Sep 2, 2013

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