Amazon to start charging sales tax in Massachusetts

The retail giant has struck a deal with the state to charge sales tax on purchases by this time next year.

Amazon buyers in Massachusetts have another 11 months to enjoy before the retail giant starts collecting sales tax on their purchases.

In a deal reached with Massachusetts regulators, Amazon will begin imposing a sales tax on all online purchases made by state residents as of November 1, 2013. The agreement was reached only after several months of negotiations, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Amazon has naturally resisted charging its shoppers state-by-state sales tax. In the past, the company has instead proposed using a national law that would regulate the collection of all online sale tax rather than leaving it up to each state. It also has argued that sales tax should include smaller online businesses as well as the major retailers.

Collecting sales tax puts Amazon at a disadvantage compared with smaller online vendors, many of whom have so far managed to fly under the states' radar. The agreement with Massachusetts covers only Amazon and not other businesses, such as Overstock.com, the Journal reported.

Over the years, Amazon has been forced to cut deals with various state governments as part of the cost of doing business.

It currently charges sales tax in eight different states, including California, Kansas, Kentucky, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington.

Residents of New Jersey and Virginia will have to start paying up next year. Buyers from Tennessee, Indiana, Nevada, and South Carolina will also have to pony up sales tax sometime in the next few years, the Journal added.

CNET contacted Amazon for comment and will update the story if we receive any information.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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