The Union Recorder

Local News

January 23, 2013

Report: Amazon not collecting Ga. online sales tax

ATLANTA — Amazon.com is not collecting sales tax from Georgia shoppers despite a new state law designed to snag the money from the world's biggest online retailer, a newspaper reported.

The new law went into effect at the start of 2013.

Shoppers buying items from Amazon.com to be shipped to Georgia should be prompted to pay sales tax under the new law, The Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported (http://bit.ly/V6zeBj). But the newspaper reports that its own checks of Amazon.com show that isn't happening.

Seattle-based Amazon has fought against charging its customers a sales tax elsewhere, leading to legal battles in some states.

Atlanta lawyer Eric Tresh, who represents the company, declined to talk about Amazon's position on Georgia's tax, but said laws in various states that require online collection are "arguably unconstitutional."

If online-only retailers — the target of Georgia's new law — collected the tax, it would add an estimated $16 million annually to Georgia's coffers. The added tax would please owners of local stores, who complain that having to charge sales tax puts them at disadvantage.

State officials aren't disclosing what they will do about the issue.

"Our expectation is that the law would be abided by," said Ryan Teague, executive counsel to Gov. Nathan Deal.

If Amazon continues to not collect the tax, the Georgia Retail Association may sue, said Rick McAllister, its president and CEO.

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