Case of sour grapes?

by Deepak Sharma on Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wal-Mart, Target, Sears et al are lobbying legislators to change sales-tax laws in more than a dozen states including Texas and California that will force Internet Retailers to collect Sales Taxes from companies like Amazon. 

Retailers Push Amazon on Taxes

The big-box stores are backing a coalition called the Alliance for Main Street Fairness, which is leading efforts to change sales-tax laws in more than a dozen states including Texas and California.

Until now, the group has been largely associated with mom-and-pop stores, spotlighting stories of small toy shops and booksellers who argue Internet merchants that aren't legally required to collect sales taxes enjoy an unfair advantage with shoppers.

Amazon has feverishly fought efforts to compel it to collect sales taxes. The Seattle-based online retailer says it complies with the law. Under a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, only merchants who have a physical presence, such as stores, in a state have to collect sales taxes. Amazon currently gathers those taxes in just five states: Kansas, Kentucky, North Dakota, its home base of Washington, and New York.

But retailers pushed for passage of a new law in Illinois last week that forces Amazon to collect sales taxes if it employs marketing affiliates in the state—a measure similar to a New York law that retailers want to replicate nationally—and their drumbeat may soon spur federal action.