by Jim Milliot -- Publishers Weekly, 4/10/2008 8:07:00 AM
As part of its new budget, the New York State legislature yesterday approved the Internet Sales Tax provision, a move that will force out-of-state online e-tailers to collect sales tax on purchases made by New York residents. The measure has been long backed by the American Booksellers Association who organized an extensive lobbying campaign in support of passage of the provision. The ABA contends that implementation of the measure will level the playing field between traditional stores and e-tailers in forcing them to charge sales tax the same way bricks-and-mortar stores do. “From the beginning, all we have asked for is an even playing field so that all retailers get the same treatment from New York,” said ABA COO Oren Teicher. “This has never been a case of enacting a new tax; rather we have simply called for the equitable enforcement of existing tax law.”
Amazon, which currently collects tax in only four states, has vigorously opposed collecting taxes in states where it doesn’t have a presence. A spokesperson for Amazon said the company was still reviewing the language of the statute and had no further comment. It is expected that Amazon will mount a legal challenge to the tax. New York estimates it will earn $50 million from the Internet tax.
The ABA is hopeful that now that New York has passed a Internet tax provision other states will follow. The Northern California Independent Booksellers Association has been advocating for that state to collect Internet sales tax for about nine years. “The NCIBA is thrilled with the New York decision and offers thanks and gratitude to ABA and New York independents for their proactive efforts,” said NCIBA executive director Hut Landon. “We hope that we can use this victory to our advantage with the powers-that-be in California.”