Today, one day before Christmas, and one day after another LA Times article relating to Internet Sales Tax, the LA Times published “Internet sales tax scofflaws cheat state.” Unlike the previous article which was focused more on businesses use tax reporting requirements for out-of-state purchases, this article is aimed squarely at Internet consumers, and paints a bit of a malicious portrait of Amazon.com, suggesting that New York’s “affiliate” tax scheme is appropriate for California. As we have said repeatedly in previous posts (particularly this one), targeting affiliate marketing oriented businesses will only affect a handful of Internet companies. Obviously, this handful of companies will clearly and understandably cease all affiliate marketing programs in the face of being the only companies on the Internet being required to collect and remit local sales tax. California should not follow New York’s lead on this, but should rather resume the efforts it has already been involved with – namely the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement.
Originally formed in 2000, the Streamlined effort involves a herculean effort of 44 states, industry groups, and major retailers to standardize and simplify state-by-state sales tax rules, while allowing each state to maintain sovereign and voter approved control over their local sales tax rates. The State of California is already a participant of this effort along with every other state which collects sales tax, excepting only of Colorado.
Naturally – we posted our comments to their atricle on the LA Times site as well.
(NOTE: There is a suspicuous level of articles suddenly coming out right now suggesting/endorsing the “affiliate” tax model – perhaps some group is engaging in some sort of pre-emptive and decidedly negative PR campaign anticipating the introduction of the Main Street Fairness Act)