eBay & Amazon Tussle Over Online Sales Tax – Again

    January 18, 2012
    Drew Bowling
    Comments are off for this post.

The 7th Annual State of the Net Conference commenced today featuring leading Internet policy gurus and discussion panels focusing on privacy/security issues, telecommunications regulation and similar topics. One episode of head-butting occurred between representatives of eBay and Amazon over the volatile issue of online sales tax.

This isn’t the first time the two online businesses have clashed over the disputed issue of regulating online sales tax. According the eCommerce Bytes, eBay’s head of North American government relations, Becky Relic, spoke up in support of small businesses who, she claims, stand to lose business if forced to compete toe-to-toe with Amazon. Relic said, “We need to see all small businesses grow, all of them thrive.”

In the opposite corner, Paul Misener, Vice President of Amazon Global Public Policy, countered by saying that “the time is now for Congress to act” and that Amazon’s view is that “Congress may, should and feasibly can allow the state to require out-of-state sellers to collect [taxes].” eCommerce Bytes continues:

Misener and other backers of sales tax reform are quick to point out that the legislation would set minimum annual revenue thresholds that sellers would have to meet before the states could require them to collect the taxes. The Marketplace Fairness Act pending in the Senate, for instance, would exempt sellers with annual remote sales of less than $500,000, meaning that more than 99 percent of online sellers would not have to collect the tax, according to Misener.

No mention of Relic or Misener was mentioned on the State of the Net’s agenda so it remains to be seen if the scuffle will surface on State of the Net’s YouTube channel, where they’ve been posting video of panels and keynote speakers.

  • SWilson

    Once again I am mystified about eBay’s claims based upon outdates facts and statistics. If you listen closely to eBay’s arguments their claims are supported by information over a year old. As we all know from personal computing experience a lot changes in the world of technology in one year.

    Currently eBay is collecting sales and other various taxes and fees in the EU and many other international communities where they participate. There is no discussion there. In order to do business a company must collect tax due on the consumers behalf. So why is so burdensome in the USA. It’s not!

    EBay, Amazon and many others know with certainty that sales tax calculation, collection, and remittance is easily accomplished by seamless integration with FREE technology available today for businesses of any size. No longer will businesses be burdened by high administrative costs associated with legacy tax procedures eBay is fighting so hard to maintain as the status quo. Businesses today can create an online account automating their tax systems, and it’s free!

    Currently my business is enabled to process sales tax for any of the 10,700 plus tax jurisdictions in the united states. The service is seamlessly integrated with my PayPal Express Checkout feature (PayPal is an eBay company…mmm) calculating sales tax in less than 13 milliseconds (that is faster than a human blink of an eye). So if my small business can easily calculate, collect and remit sales tax while simultaneously removing administrative costs why is it so hard for a company like eBay with one of the most advanced IT commerce infrastructures? The answer is its not.

    Ebay can easily provide tax processing making all of our lives easier and better. Instead they choose to maintain a missinformation campaign utilizing fear based on antiquated information hoping we are all ignorant enough to be fooled. I believe Amazon’s Integrity speaks for itself. Almost a year ago Amazon announced it’s support of Federal legislation. Amazon clearly is prepared and ready to support it’s position when legislation passes.