State Capitol News
1:12 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

AZ Retailers Pushing for Sales Tax on Amazon

Retailers are demanding that Governor Jan Brewer negotiate a deal with the nation's largest online retailer to get it to start collecting state sales taxes. 

The complaint by the retailers is that they have to collect state and local sales taxes while online operations like Amazon.com do not. Gayle Shanks, one of the owners of Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe said that's not fair.

"So people should be allowed to come into my bookstore," said Shanks, "look at all the books, look at my staff's recommendations, write it all down, these are the ones I want, and the state of Arizona says, OK, we're not going to make you pay sales tax on Amazon but we are at Changing Hands. So you go up to that counter with that $10 book and you pay $10.93. Or you write down the name of that book that I recommended and you go on Amazon. And it's the same $10 but you don't have to pay 93 cents."

Amazon has warehouses in Arizona. And the retailers note the governor of Virginia, where Amazon also has warehouses, just negotiated a deal with the company to support a change in laws so it will start collecting that state's taxes. But Governor Jan Brewer said the Arizona Department of Revenue already is trying to collect millions from the company under existing state laws.

"I don't think at this particular time that it's important that I'm involved," said the Governor. "I think that they need to sit down at the table. They need to work with the Department of Revenue. I understand the issue. And we will come to a solution."

Amazon has consistently refused to comment on the issue.