ABA Urges Texas Governor to Support Efforts to Collect Taxes From Amazon.com

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This week, ABA CEO Oren Teicher wrote to Texas Gov. Rick Perry to express the American Booksellers Association’s full support for the state comptroller’s attempts to collect back sales tax from Amazon.com and to require the online retailer to collect and remit future sales tax to the state.

In October 2010, the State of Texas issued an assessment charging that Amazon.com, which has a distribution facility in the state, owes the state some $269 million in uncollected sales tax, including interest and penalties, for the period from December 2005 to December 2009. Amazon.com reported the assessment in its September 30 quarterly filing with the SEC.

Rather than comply with an assessment from the state of Texas, Amazon.com announced earlier this month that it will close its distribution facility in the Dallas suburb of Irving on April 12 and will cancel plans to build additional facilities in the state.

In the letter to Gov. Perry, Teicher wrote: “The definition of nexus is clear: a store, office, sales agent, or warehouse in a state constitutes nexus and establishes the requirement to collect state sales tax. Moreover, even without its warehouse facility in Texas, we believe that Amazon.com already has nexus via its network of Texas-based online affiliates that act as sales agents, which a New York Appellate Court recently affirmed are indeed virtual sales agents.”

“While no one wants to see the loss of jobs,” Teicher’s letter continued, “the in-state retailers that are currently obeying the law and collecting sales tax are job-creation engines that dwarf Amazon and the 100-plus jobs lost in the wake of its announced plans to close its distribution center in Irvine. Texas retailers account for more than 18 percent of the state’s economy and for almost 2 million jobs in the state.”