published Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Haslam wants to collect sales taxes

  • photo
    Republican Gov. Bill Haslam is pictured in this file photo. (Photo by Wade Payne, Special to the News Sentinel)

Gov. Bill Haslam said Wednesday that he would like to have questions about Amazon’s tax status resolved by the end of the year, preferably with the online retailer collecting sales taxes from Tennessee consumers.

“We’d like to work out some arrangement that works for them to stay and grow in Tennessee and yet for us to collect the sales tax that we need,” Haslam said. “We would hope to do something prior to the legislature coming back” in January.

Questions about Amazon’s tax status have been mounting as the company has rolled out plans this year to open distribution centers in Lebanon, Chattanooga and Cleveland. The centers represent Amazon’s first physical presence in Tennessee.

Continue reading at The Tennessean

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bigbearzzz said...

yes because with the state of our economy right now the last thing we need are JOBS right here in TN!!!

August 11, 2011 at 10:01 a.m.
sweetdream20 said...

We got into an economical mess because we stopped thinking long term. This is yet another example. Give them a sales tax BREAK as incentive and nothing more, that is a better deal than most businesses EVER see. The no sales tax forever deal should never have been done. Besides Amazon is hiring people who currently have similar jobs. They steal current employees right out from under our local businesses. Those 'new' jobs aren't available to most of the unemployed workforce out there. You could say they are creating new jobs because the local manufacturing/warehouse businesses will have to do the real legwork of finding, hiring, and training new employees to replace the ones that left. So they don't thinking twice about slamming our local workforce before it begins to improve on it's own in other areas.

August 11, 2011 at 10:40 a.m.
PaulWilson said...

If we don't get Amazon here because of this, they will simply go to another state that is willing to take the jobs. We need the jobs just as much as every other state. I don't like the idea of a business not paying their fair share but, we need the jobs. Another thing to consider is the money that has already been put into the project. The warehouse for Amazon is already being built and is most likely nearing completion. Will they be paying for the place in full if they are forced out and won't be able to do business under the deal that was made...I doubt it.

August 11, 2011 at 11:33 a.m.
Fuzzy said...

Why should Amazon be singled out to collect tax when every other company doing business in the state as a warehouse/shipping facility does not ???

Mail order companies are only obliged to collect taxes FOR the state in which the sale takes place ... NOT the state from where the product is stored or shipped.

Amazon will be providing hundreds of desperately needed jobs, and now we're going to spit in their face by bending the rules to force them into an act that is not quite legal.

August 11, 2011 at 11:35 a.m.
twharr said...

I'll just use my mother's address in GA when I make future purchases online through Amazon. That way you won't get the tax money. There are so many loop holes with this that the status quo just needs to stay the same.

August 11, 2011 at 12:05 p.m.
LibDem said...

Fuzzy: The Governor is suggesting collection of sales tax from Tennessee consumers. This would be the state in which the sale occurs.

Yes, twharr, it is possible to evade taxes. Certainly an honorable goal.

Never fail to support a large corporation like Amazon to the disadvantage of small local businesses. Tennessee don't need no local businesses. That would be almost like supporting entrepreneurs.

August 11, 2011 at 12:54 p.m.
MountainJoe said...

You make a deal, you honor the deal. Even if it was an unwise deal.

If TN welshes on this deal, good luck attracting any other companies to locate here and provide JOBS.

August 11, 2011 at 1:55 p.m.
user_name said...

LibDem -- Amazon order processing centers are not the same thing as shipment fulfillment warehouses. If an Amazon sales center in Kansas processes the order and then passes it off to a fulfillment center in TN to ship, why should the TN resident have to pay tax? Additionally, what if the TN resident was charged tax and then the item was not available in the TN warehouse and had to be shipped from the Atlanta warehouse?

Pure and simple, Amazon is not processing sales from TN, they are only fulfilling orders from TN.

August 11, 2011 at 2:26 p.m.
tarheeljosh said...

I'm sure Ringgold will thoroughly enjoy their new Amazon warehouse when our legislators decide to back out of the deal. Jobs+No sales tax revenue is better than No Jobs+no sales tax revenue. While the state won't see any sales tax revenues directly from Amazon, it will see many additional employed residents (or neighbors) who will have money to spend in the local economy, which really should be the main priority here. I'm sure Gov. Haslam would like to see the revenue come into the state (which is a reasonable expectation in most well-structured deals), but thankfully doesn't seem to be ruling out the possiblity of letting the current deal stand. Hopefully our politicians will make the right call here and keep Amazon in state.

August 11, 2011 at 2:52 p.m.
LibDem said...

user_name: From the Tn. Dept. of Revenue site, "...purchasing merchandise outside of Tennessee, whether done physically or electronically, will not exempt someone from paying use tax if an equal amount of sales tax was not paid to another state at the time of purchase..."

August 11, 2011 at 3:14 p.m.
sig4ever2 said...

A card laid is a card played. Governor, if you go back on your word on this issue, you will forever have egg on your face, and will have blackened the eye of anyone trying to bring more jobs to the Volunteer state. Don't make us out to be a bunch of buffoons!

August 11, 2011 at 3:25 p.m.
NetModem said...

I thought the republicans said taxing businesses kills jobs but here they are trying to tax businesses. How's this work?

August 11, 2011 at 3:53 p.m.
noapathy said...

Typical of an elite greed head, I did not vote for glad of it! I'm with Mountain Joe, if we made the deal...even a bad one....we need to honor it. Live and Learn but don't make the unemployed citizens pay for your mistakes. They'll be turning around to sue the state for every penny they've put into building their facilities. Guess who's going to pay for that and legal fees? Us!

August 11, 2011 at 4:06 p.m.
Humphrey said...

other parts of the state are screwing us on this. They are jealous we are getting the jobs. The representatives from knoxville and nashville suburbs are crying over it. Amazon figured it out and tried to throw a bone to nashville area by opening a center there. We are going to get screwed out of these jobs by these fools. If amazon opens in another state TN. will still not get sales tax and also will not get the jobs. Politicians are too scared to do something sensible about the state's tax structures, and state politicians are playing to their consultancies in other parts of this state and will screw us over.

August 11, 2011 at 4:28 p.m.
Fuzzy said...

LibDem : I never suggested that it was in any way OK to evade any due taxes ... I simply stated that it is probably NOT legal to force Amazon into becoming the Tax Collector. If the actual sales transaction occurs in another state, by law, Amazon has no obligation to collect and forward the tax to any other state than the one in which the sale occurred.

August 11, 2011 at 4:57 p.m.
LibDem said...

Fuzzy, you are right that the question is who will collect the tax. The sales transaction occurs at the point of delivery.

The problem is that the states are unable/unwilling to work together to solve the problem. If you order stuff on the internet, you will notice that some vendors (voluntarily) collect Tennessee tax. Others do not. The states lack the will to deal consistently with the problem. They would rather surrender millions in tax than work together.

August 11, 2011 at 5:11 p.m.
sweetdream20 said...

So many people obviously don't know how sales & use tax works. Here's a quickie explanation. According to the law, any company in the US has to pay sales tax to the states in which that company has a nexus. They may or may not pass the sales tax cost on to the customer. Warehouse dealers usually sell to businesses which are sales tax exempt unless the products are purchased for use. Some lucky big name retailers get a sales tax break as incentive for moving in. But eventually these companies have to pay their due. By allowing amazon to bypass that, the government has given them a financial advantage over other retailers. On a side note.. consumers are supposed to report and pay use tax on anything imported into the buyer's state for their own personal use if sales tax wasn't paid or covered at the time of purchase. IE you buy something from GA and have it shipped to TN, you didn't pay sales tax at the time of purchase. BUT You are required to report and pay the USE tax to TN. If they don't get it from the companies then they will start looking for the irresponsible consumers to pay up. I'd much rather have it taken care of at the time of purchase and avoid the hassle.

August 16, 2011 at 9:11 a.m.
freezer said...

I plan to look for an Amazon competitor. Anyone have any ideas.

I own a place in Missouri and go there all the time. I'll just order from there if I have to use Amazon.

January 24, 2013 at 8:48 p.m.
freezer said...

I recently bought a chainsaw and saw a mail order company selling from Illinois. It beat Amazon anyway. From now on I will check other sellers to find products I want.

January 24, 2013 at 8:53 p.m.
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