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Amazon purchases get more expensive on Friday

That's when the online retailer starts collecting the Mass. sales tax on purchases made by Bay Staters.

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Amazon raised the amount required for free shipping to $35 on Monday.

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That is because, as reported in the NYT last week, Amazon is barely profitable. Its a wonder its stock price is so high, but then again, when did investors ever care about their company making profits - sheesh.

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That's intentional. Instead of taking money out as profits, they've used it to expand.

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"about time" says every Massachusetts merchant with a storefront who wants to continue to exist

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!!!!HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!

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Because you just got your property tax bills and it wouldn't be manly back woods macho to cry.

Or your trash bill, or your water bill, or your fee for something else that taxes in MA pay for bill ...

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I'd rather get taxed for owning finite land than for purchasing far less finite tangible goods.

That said, I support this tax. I've always believed that people should be taxed on things they want, not on things they need. Luxury cars should have a 25% sales tax and there should be 0% income tax. The Granite State does it right.

And no, I don't want to move there.

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It just gets collected through the seller instead of the buyer, because you've still been liable for state sales tax (and no doubt declaring them) on purchases all along.

Or, for Herald readers:

How dare they raise the taxes on something that I've been able to pretend I didn't have to pay taxes on all along? THANKS OBAMA

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Deval, also in the news VerTex just cut 175 Full-time MA Jobs. More great job creation out of the Gov. office.

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And they gave back the $4M in incentives that they were given to help them create more jobs here. So, what's your point?

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They gave back money to the state but not boston who also gave them about 10 mm in breaks.

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Only read about the state money. You'd have to ask around more. It's possible since they were in the giving mood. Are you sure it was an incentive for new jobs and not just a payoff to move to Southie? Because they are still going to move.

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A tax based on the honor system is no tax at all. Do you also pay the higher income tax rate?

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This royally dicks over poor people which used to order in bulk and don't have transportation to NH.

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... people who used to cheat and now are less able to do so.

No taxes have been added; no taxes have been raised. The only change is that, instead of requiring the purchaser to report and separately pay the tax, now Amazon collects it at the time of sale.

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It's more than made up for when New Hampshire residents come to Massachusetts for services that require literacy.

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Take a look at rush hour on I-93 ... quite the inbound migration in the morning, and outbound migration in the evening.

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I hope Mass residents will still be able to order online when Amazon flips the switch turning on state tax collection. Think it will crash like the Obamacare site when 200 people were logged in at the same time?

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Still waiting, adamg

but I digress

No clue *shakes head*

First off healthcare.COM goes to some bogus website.. The ACA aka ObamaCare/RomneyCare is healthcare.GOV ;)

Secondly, Amazon processes taxes for many other states, there's nothing to 'turn on' and make it crash. I'm sure its one little setting in some admin console to change MA to taxable. Amazon.com wont even burp when that's done..

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Poor people order in bulk?

I seem to recall from the leanest years of my life that ordering in bulk wasn't an option because it required some slight excess of cash ... which people in tight circumstances tend not to have.

Last I checked, fuel to get to NH and back eclipses the sales tax costs anyway.

Doing the math: say your vehicle gets 20 mpg highway and it is 30 miles to NH = 3 gallons of gas round trip.

3 gallons x $3.50 per gallon = $10.50

Sales tax is 6.25%, so you would have to be buying nearly $200 in TAXABLE goods to make it worth it. That means non-food items and non-clothing items.

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If you have a card, anything's possible.

Suldog
http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com

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Can't go over or you get even more fees and higher interest rates.

Regardless, what sorts of non-food items would you be ordering in that kind of bulk? A cubic yard of toilet paper?

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But when I ordered such things from Amazon, yeah, it was usually cartons of toilet paper and kitchen towels and stuff like that. Less expensive than at a supermarket and you don't have to lug it home.

Suldog
http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com

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I order my K- Cups through Amazon, saves a ton of money when buying in bulk versus purchasing them with my weekly grocery order.

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Amazon allowed poor people to have the equivalent of Costco on their doorstep with free shipping. It was a godsend to have that extra 6.25% on everything available to purchase more goods. Collecting the sales tax on mail order items seriously decreases the quality of life for people with poor access to quality retailers which don't charge a premium.

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Um, poor people use public services - maybe moreso than anyone else - and those public services are funded by * gasp * TAXES. Meanwhile, in whatever ways this helps local retailers, you can also be pleased because local retailers employ local people, who also pay local taxes. Amazon collecting sales tax makes your life easier - if you were already obeying the law.

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Unless you live in a place with few local retailers which have a limited selection and charge a premium on top of their nonexistent service. Or are elderly and disabled and have a very difficult time getting out to shop at a brick and mortar store.

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very difficult time getting out to shop at a brick and mortar store

And that brick and mortar store? It would also charge you sales tax.

So would those few local retailers with a limited selection.

You still come out ahead ordering on line for price and delivery, and you pay the same tax you would otherwise.

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And everything to do with sales tax being regressive taxation. Find a way to tax the rich more and the poor less (hmm, how about not using a flat income tax???) and you can reduce the suffering of the poor under this "new" burden by reducing sales tax.

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At least MA doesn't tax food at 10% or clothing less than $175.

I've long grumbled over taxes on feminine hygiene products, though.

If you want to avoid tax on big ticket items, there is a legal way to do so: tax free days in August. We waited to buy a new grill, a new bike for our son, and tile for our kitchen and it paid off handsomely because local merchants ran specials.

These were all things that we would have purchased on the internet, too - but we did a lot better and didn't go more than 5 miles from home to get them, either! All purchased from independent local merchants.

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If I spend $100,000 a year, and you spend $50,000, I pay more in tax.

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Not true in states that tax food, medications, and clothing.

Poor people spend a much higher percentage of their income on things like food ... and they don't spend that much less than richer people, either.

Rich people have more discretionary income and spend some of it on "non necessity" items, but the percentages don't wash and the total amount isn't as much more as, say, an income tax would be. MA at least changes that equation by removing key necessity items from taxable status.

I would say that sales tax should be abolished in favor of a higher income tax, if only because of the expense it costs businesses to track it and the bloated and intrusive bureaucracy needed to track it. But I grew up without sales tax, so that's partly where I'm coming from.

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People with more income might spend more of it on "stuff," but usually a lesser percentage, and people at higher incomes have many more ways to avoid taxes, like mortgage interest on huge mortgages, loopholes with investments, etc.

If I make $20,000 annually and you make $200,000, you don't likely have 10x the value of furniture and printer cartridges and such that I have. You might have a bit nicer stuff, but probably not 10x the value. You probably spend your extra money on less tangible expenses, some of which are taxed and some of which are not.

Income tax is more fair, especially with fewer credits and deductions. If you make the money, you pay taxes on it unless you can show inevitable reasons it really wasn't available to you, like high medical costs.

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I do have friends living below the poverty line who go with several other people to NH and stock up on school supplies and things like toilet paper and batteries and lightbulbs.

Amazon Mom and Diapers.com are huge among low-income families I work with.

Buying in bulk and getting a year's worth of diapers and household stuff with one's tax refund is a big one. People find someone with a car to make a huge run to Target, or even better, find someone with a Costco or BJs membership. Smaller-scale bulk purchasing each month when SSI or TAFDC shows up is common too.

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The "I'm going to tell you what to do" people would encourage you to take a Hubway bike up to NH. Don't you know that nobody needs a car these days?

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I'm sure you REALLY care about the poor.

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How many of the uhub taxophiles have declared untaxed online purchases on their state tax forms? All I see is tumbleweeds, and a few pairs of pants on fire...

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How many people here are at least able to grasp the fact that whether or not they did that doesn't change the fact that *YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO PAY THESE TAXES ON IT*

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And the legislature is supposed to respect the people and follow their wishes. Do they? Nope!

How many times have we voted to reduce the sales tax or implement a clean election law only to have it ignored?

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That was an income tax rollback the leg ignored a decade ago. Sales tax ballot questions never passed the voters.

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Whatever it is, we pay this -- so unless we ordered something REALLY expensive (a mink coat?) online, we will have already _paid_ all we owe (or maybe a bit too much).

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There's a schedule up to $100k and a .000625% rate after that. Only on items up to $1000. Items over that u owe the regular rate.

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No big deal. It's still not going to change my shopping habits. Whatever more I'll have to pay in taxes will be more than made up for by the convenience of online shopping.

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One of the great things about living in a city is that I can get most items quite easily. Staples is closed at 6:30 on Sunday when I need a color printer cartridge for my 8 PM pub quiz? Boom, Watertown Best Buy right around the corner open until 8 or 9.

I won't notice this tax because I pay it already anyway getting things when I want them and not waiting on the mail.

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Amazon prime memberships (free two-day shipping for a flat yearly fee) are quite popular in our circle of friends. This includes people who work crazy hours, people who are fostering and know that the Brita filter will likely show up on their doorstep before they have a day when none of the kids are melting down, people with kids with autism where it might be a couple days before the kid can handle going somewhere extra, people whose kids go to tons of doctors and therapies and equipment-fitting appointments, etc.

At our house we use amazon largely to buy items used or marked down, because it's the only way we can afford a lot of things right now. Sure, we shop local for things when we can afford them and we're actually supporting a local business, but there's not any independent places in Rox/Dot/etc. to buy printer cartridges or packages of underwear. I'm happy to pay the sales tax, since, yes, I would be paying it anyway if I got these things at Target or whatever.

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