Amazon purchases will cost you more next year

The Globe reports that Amazon has agreed to start collecting Massachusetts sales tax on purchases made by Bay Staters starting in November, 2013.



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Big Box Stores

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are rejoicing but even WITH sales tax most purchases are still cheaper on Amazon.

And there's always ebay

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Looked for some memory chips on Amazon yesterday and while the prices were good they charged shipping on every piece - which cost as much as the chip. Found bulk lots of new ones on ebay for about the same cost.

Were they actually being sold

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Were they actually being sold by Amazon itself, or just by some other seller via the Amazon Marketplace?

A fairly large majority of the computer components listed on Amazon are not actually being sold by Amazon, but by other companies, who charge their own shipping rates. (For example, of the 4,203,574 current listings for computer memory, only 2,401 have Amazon listed as the seller.)

Just about everything that is actually sold by Amazon itself is eligible for the free shipping if your order total is over $25.


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After noticing the ludicrous shipping charges I went to an online chat with an Amazon rep and expressed my displeasure. I felt this was very deceptive - about $6 a piece for the memory cards but then they tack on $6 for every additional card in shipping. I'm glad I noticed and didn't just click through.

On the recommendation of a friend my wife signed up for Amazon Prime for the free shipping - so far very disappointing because it doesn't apply to non-Amazon sellers which is a lot of the stuff we buy.

I for one am glad. Now all

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I for one am glad. Now all the brick-and-mortar stores will be saved and continue to prosper as they did before the Internet.

It was about time for the government to step in and do something about these innovative Internet companies, ruining traditional business for the everyday person.

sigh.... there is always NH.

Great. Now I'm paying double...

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By forcing ONE company to begin collecting sales tax while continuing to demand that MA taxpayers pay sales tax on all other internet purchases, MA is forcing me to pay double for Amazon purchases. Either that, or I can just cheat on my taxes, like apparently everyone else does.

There is already a system in place for paying sales taxes on internet purchases. It's called Safe Harbor, it's relatively painless, and because I'd rather not violate the law, I pay it every year. It covers all purchases made via the internet or out of state that are individually less than $1000.

Now that Amazon will be collecting the tax directly for their goods, I'm effectively being taxed double for those goods. If I stop paying the Safe Harbor tax, I will either have to itemize every non-Amazon purchase, or just ignore it like I'm sure the majority of MA taxpayers do.

This is stupid.

What? My gripe is that

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What? My gripe is that itemizing all internet and out-of-state purchases is extremely hard, obviously, which is why no one ever does it.

Most people just lie when they get to the part in their MA tax return where they're supposed to report this exact number. An alternative is to pay the Safe Harbor tax, which covers ALL such purchases of items under $1000.

If I pay the Safe Harbor tax, I am covering my Amazon purchases already, which means Amazon is applying a tax to the merchandise which I'm already paying for. If I don't pay the Safe Harbor tax, I have to itemize all internet and out-of-state purchases apart from the few places that apply sales tax, like Amazon.

If you honestly think that's easy or that literally anyone who makes regular internet or out-of-state purchases does it, then you're insane. It's not about math, it's about tracking a very large number of purchases and attesting, under threat of criminal charges, that they are accurate.

Not every reply on the internet has to be a scathing attack.

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The poster above isn't saying math is hard. They are saying that there is already a very easy and effective solution to this issue (Safe Harbor). By screwing around with the current process, it is going to make everyone's lives more difficult.

Let's be real, here. A lot of people will simply not list any online purchases on their taxes, because it is easier to do nothing.

What am I missing?

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Why can't you still use the Safe Harbor tax to cover the non-Amazon and out-of-state purchases only? Isn't it based on AGI?

It is based on AGI. That's

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It is based on AGI. That's sort of the point. The Safe Harbor tax is based on AGI and already covers the vast majority of Amazon purchases. I pay it now, and it effectively covers sales tax on Amazon goods. If Amazon starts collecting MA sales tax on all my purchases, the Safe Harbor tax isn't reduced - I still have to pay it in full to cover everything else. So instead of paying the Safe Harbor tax and being covered like I was before, I will soon be paying the Safe Harbor tax, plus sales tax on all Amazon goods - effectively paying twice for the same purchases.

Referral Fees?

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Does this mean that amazon will also no longer be giving referral commissions to MA-based websites? They threatened to do that in the past if they were required to charge tax. Referral fees are a significant source of income for many blogs and sites, and I imagine many are based here.

I don't know the answers, but

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I don't know the answers, but if the trend is for more and more states to force sales tax on Amazon purchases, won't that mean the end of the commissions program if Amazon continues the practice of blocking it for states that have sales tax on their purchases? I think the program will hang around in some form or another over the long term, but it will be a bumpy ride for those who look forward to that income over the short term.

You have it backwards

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Amazon threatened to end commissions because states were claiming that Amazon established a physical presence in the states by having a business relationship with website operators in the states. Amazon was ending commissions because it gave states the opportunity to claims sales taxes. The ending of commissions was not in retaliation for charging sales taxes.

It won't cost you more

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It will just streamline the process, instead of you having to tally up, report and pay tax on all your out-of-state purchases yourself. People do that, right?

Yay, more taxes!

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I'm sure our income tax, or the "temporary" sales tax will go down now that we've gotten Amazon to collect, right? Or will the excess tax just go into the emergency "rainy day" fund? You don't think the hacks on Beacon Hill will just swallow it up and create more spending do you? No, the know how hard we work for our money and would never do that.


And don't forget the casinos...

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Or the gas tax or whatever else they decide to slap a tax on. I've gone on a spending strike and I'm encouraging friends and family to join me - no more meals out (other than a plain bagel each morning which costs $0.98 including 6 cents in tax, I have pretty much stopped eating out). This morning was a bowl of cereal. My wallet and my waistline are very happy.

the more they tax, the less I'll spend. If others do the same, eventually they'll get the message.


And 2 weeks later

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Speaker Deleo continued the trend of corrupt Speakers being indicted and was arrested for ___________ (insert charge here).

Dunno Suldog

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At some point even a bad doctor usually realizes more of the same is killing the patient. As I've said - if you can't win at the ballot box, you can always vote at the cash register - and generally the richer you are, the more you get to vote. But thanks for motivating today's tweet with my thoughts about your comment:

Tax revenues are low and Dr. Patrick prescribes more taxes. Good thing we don't have a 108 deg fever or he'd be putting us in a steambath.

I fully expect the

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I fully expect the legislature to ramp up spending in anticipation of revenue from this which will never meet expectations and result in other tax increases.

This isn't about fairness, this is a blatant money & power grab. If that state cared about fairness something would be done to end the massive shift of capital across the border to NH.

If local politicians, most notably John Kerry with his yacht and that jerk rep that got caught in a state owned town-car buying cases of liquor, can ditch paying sales taxes with out of state purchases, why the heck should the rest of us be asked to pay more so that they may continue profligate spending?

This doesn't change THAT

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This doesn't change THAT much, just means I will buy less goods on and more from newegg, superbiiz and other sites that don't charge tax. Brick and Mortar stores can survive, they just need to price match all the time rather than just through the holidays like BB And Target did. I for one would rather buy from a B&M if I can save on shipping, since I can't save on tax, and get it now rather than later. It's the pricing at these stores that is killing them, not the sales tax.

It's funny how you liberals

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It's funny how you liberals all want increased revenue to fund programs and benefits but bitch about paying tolls and increased sales taxes. A bit hypocritical.


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Examples please.

Your ASSumptions only work if you ASSume that everyone who posts here is liberal.

'you liberals'

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ignorant right wing troll