updated 12:45 am EDT, Fri May 2, 2008
Amazon sues New York State
Amazon has filed for legal action against the State of New York because of a bill that recently passed, requiring online resellers to collect sales tax to New York residents. The New York Times writes that the online commerce giant is suing not out of desire to see taxes abolished from goods bought over the internet, rather that it does not wish to be held liable for collecting taxes, the company feels is the job of state officials.
The dispute stems from the State's definition of a commercial presence, which includes any web site based in another state earning referral fees. Since Amazon has thousands upon thousands of affiliates, with many of them coming from New York itself, the State sees fit that Amazon should do its part.
Amazon feels that the statement is "overly broad and vague", and that it is impossible for the company to determine precisely which of its referrers live in New York, due to the mostly anonymous nature of the internet. In addition, it feels the commissions it collects are just another way of paying for advertising.