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Amazon sales tax collection begins today in Pennsylvania

Sorry, online shoppers in Pennsylvania. Your Amazon purchases now cost a bit more.

Baby playing with Amazon box_Adam CaudillBeginning today, Sept. 1, the Keystone State tax collector will be getting sales tax revenue on Amazon and other online purchases by state residents.

Pennsylvania is the latest state in which the Seattle-based online retail giant will collect sales tax.

It already is collecting sales taxes on products delivered to Kansas, Kentucky, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Washington.

California will join the group on Sept. 15 when Amazon starts collecting sales tax on products shipped there.

And more states are in the Amazon tax collection queue:

  • New Jersey in July 2013
  • Virginia in September 2013
  • Indiana, Nevada and Tennessee in January 2014
  • South Carolina in January 2016

Amazon has facilities in all of the states where it is now collecting sales tax. Those operations, say tax officials, constitute the nexus, or physical presence, necessary to require online retailers to collect sales taxes on products shipped to those states' residents.

In the states where sales tax collection is pending, Amazon has agreed to build distribution centers or other operations. The promise of new jobs and property taxes convinced the states to give Amazon extra time before implementing sales tax collection measures.

Amazon officials say they prefer that there be a national online sales tax measure that would clarify and simplify online sales tax collection across state lines.

Two bills, one in the House (the Marketplace Equity Act) and one in the Senate (the Main Street Fairness Act), have been introduced to do just that. There appears to be growing support in Congress for the legislation.

Until it is enacted, keep an eye on your state tax department and the calendar. More states could join the online sales tax collection club before a federal Amazon tax makes it into law.

Photo of baby playing with Amazon box
by Adam Caudill via Flickr Creative Commons

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