Amazon is looking to take its fight against New York state sales tax to the U.S. Supreme Court; as reported by The Seattle Times last week, the company has retained the services of prominent lawyer Theodore Olson. Lower courts have ruled that Amazon would have to pay a sales tax similar to what brick-and-mortar stores pay now.
In 1992, the Supreme Court ruled that states could only collect taxes from retailers that had a physical presence in the state. But New York State argued that Amazon’s referral program, Amazon Associates, gives the company a presence in New York. The state won.
Interestingly, Amazon backs the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would require online retailers with sales of more than $1 million to collect taxes for states in which they sold to customers. But this new filing seems to go against that decision.
American Bookseller Association CEO Oren Teicher couldn’t let this one go. He chimed in against Amazon’s filing with an open letter to Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos.
Teicher starts by saying:
“I am puzzled.
On the one hand, it’s been widely reported in the media that Amazon has come around to supporting efforts to collect sales taxes equitably. On the other hand, Amazon continues to go to extraordinary lengths to fight every reasonable step forward in establishing a level playing field with regard to sales tax fairness. Which is it?”
Teicher also points out that Amazon recently got rid of its Amazon affiliates in Missouri to not pay sales tax, asks for Bezos to explain his decision and “join the ranks of Main Street businesses that are obeying the law and supporting their communities.”