Georgia Sales Tax Deadline Looms for Amazon

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Today, February 20, is the date set by the state of Georgia for all retailers to submit sales taxes collected for the month of January. Legislation, which went into effect on January 1, 2013, made clear that has nexus in Georgia and is therefore required to collect sales tax on purchases made by state residents. It remains to be seen whether Amazon will meet the deadline and comply with the new law.

So far, it appears that Amazon has simply ignored the new Georgia sales tax fairness law, according to published reports. And while it is unclear what specific steps the state might be taking to remedy this situation, Brian Robinson, a spokesperson for Georgia Gov.  Nathan Deal, told the Atlanta-Journal Constitution that the state expected Amazon to be collecting sales tax “in a reasonable amount of time. The state has the authority to collect the tax. We’re negotiating from this position.” 

“We hope that won’t ignore its obligations under Georgia’s new law in order to maintain a competitive advantage over local retailers,” said ABA CEO Oren Teicher. “This fight has always been about fairness and ensuring that governments treat all retailers equitably.  Should miss its sales tax filing deadline this week in Georgia, we urge the state to address this in the same way it would with any retailer that fails to comply with its laws.” 

Rick McAllister, president of the Georgia Retail Association, told the Associated Press, “Our members expect people to follow to the law. If you look at states all across America where Amazon is not collecting, those taxes are not being paid by anybody.” 

Despite Amazon’s actions in Georgia, Teicher stressed that over the past five years, the campaign for sales tax fairness has made great strides all across the country. In addition to state legislation, a federal solution to this problem, the Marketplace Fairness Act (H.R. 684 and S. 336) was introduced by a bipartisan coalition in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives late last week.

The national landscape regarding equitable sales tax collection has shifted dramatically, according to figures tabulated by the American Booksellers Association. The data shows that 57 percent of the U.S. population currently resides in states with sales tax fairness laws. And 48 percent of the population lives in states where collects and remits sales tax.