Overstock Sues New York Over Questionable Tax Collecting Law

from the and-here's-another-one dept

Back in April, New York state signed into law a very questionable bill that effectively made any affiliates of your service (i.e., anyone advertising your services) considered as representing a "local presence" for your company for tax purposes. The law had no reason for existing other than to try to squeeze extra tax money out of online retailers. Amazon quickly sued over the law and Overstock has now followed suit, filing a lawsuit against the tax law. Overstock, of course, has taken its reaction even further, banning all New York affiliates as long as this law is in place. The effective result of the law, then, is that it actually ends up harming residents of the state while not doing very much to actually increase tax revenue. It seems quite likely that this law will get tossed out, as it seems to go entirely against earlier rulings on what constitutes a physical presence in the state.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    icepick314, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 2:28am

    instead of suing, Amazon and Overstock should "ban" state of New York effectively cutting out that state...just don't ship to New York...

    see how long people will stay quiet and the law reversed...

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Cassius Seeley, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 3:08am

    There is just one problem

    Well I would and do agree withy ou 100%. Except we have become sniveling crybabies in this country and we don't take it up on ourselves to complain and protest and march as much as we used to when something was wrong.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    www.custompcmax.com, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 3:20am

    They advertised in NY, so they deserve to be taxed like they are based there? Yeah right. Next time I see a NY advertisement here in MN, I am sending them a bill for some back taxes. OK, maybe that isn't the best arguement... but you get my point... it is BS.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Falindraun, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 3:53am

    Who needs to advertise?

    Amazon.com and Overstock.com are so huge that they don't need to advertise anywhere ever. Amazon.com has always been the first place I'll look for something. Come to think of it I don't think I've ever seen an ad for Amazon.com.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 4:48am

    Newegg

    Newegg is now charging tax for NY instead of fighting this. Even though our company isn't in NY, we've stopped ordering our system parts from them and let them know why.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    goofjb, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 5:05am

    Re: Newegg

    Your right, I recently received en e-mail from Newegg.com, informing me of this great new tax revenue generating law. I live the NY and hate this BS as much as everyone else.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    NY Politicians, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 5:13am

    Representation ?

    What's this "representation" that I keep hearing about.
    Am I suppose to do things in my constituents best interest ?

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 5:14am

    Gasp a reasonable lawsuit

    So nice to see people using the system legitimately rather than abusing it for once. Good luck to Amazon and Overstock. Who would have thought you'd be rooting for a large corporation?

     

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  9.  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 5:18am

    Similar Law

    Michigan has a law something along these lines. Except instead of targeting the companies, they target the citizens directly.
    In our tax forms there is a section for "Use Tax" where we are supposed to write down everything we bought over the internet that we didn't pay sales tax on, and then calculate out our 6% sales tax on it, and then pay that to the Michigan Government.
    It is preposterous. But they do not target the businesses themselves. This shows why.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Natrous, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 5:35am

    Re: Who needs to advertise?

    It's not really about advertising - it's about the book-seller affiliates.

    When you go on Amazon and buy a used book, it doesn't come from Amazon's warehouses at all, but rather some other book shop.

    So, if they have 1 affiliated seller in NY, suddenly Amazon has a "presence" there and they can start collecting tax on everyone in the state.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    i_hate_ny, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 5:37am

    Re: Similar Law

    That is how NYS started, no one paid the tax so now they moved onto getting it from the source. I HAVE written to my state reps, but as we all know they do not care what we think, until the next election.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    John Thomas, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 6:03am

    Never Enough

    Isnt it funny how everyone always has their hands out wanting a piece of the pie. Want, want, want want. Always wanting more. I hope this absurd law comes back and bites NY right in the rear.

    JJ
    http://www.Ultimate-Anonymity.com

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Greg, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 6:04am

    And this is why I don't live in a state run by tax-happy Liberals.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 7:08am

    Re:

    Better hope the ultimate tax-happy NY Liberal doesn't end Commander in Chief then. With a congress coming up for election in 2010.
    We have to protect the children, and you can't do that without a lot of taxes. There are so many things for the nanny state to protect us from....

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased), Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 8:47am

    Re:

    So you're from Montana.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Hulser, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 9:23am

    Re: Similar Law

    In our tax forms there is a section for "Use Tax" where we are supposed to write down everything we bought over the internet that we didn't pay sales tax on, and then calculate out our 6% sales tax on it, and then pay that to the Michigan Government.

    I'm no tax accountant, but I believe that all states have a use tax. If you buy something from an out-of-state catalog or Internet site, the company doesn't charge a sales tax, but that doesn't mean you don't owe any tax. It's based on the honor system, but you are actually supposed to record those purchases and pay the tax.

    So, in one way, all New York is doing is shifting the tax collection from one mechanism -- a use tax, which no one knows about or pays attention to -- to another, a direct line-item charge on the original bill. But in the end, your tax liability is the same.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    johnny, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 10:50am

    new york should just raise....

    the tax on gasoline for all of the residents leaving the state because of the outrageously high taxes!!!!

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Mitt, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 11:07am

    Democrats Love Taxes

    Those of you who have cried over a sales tax for a book or CD should realize that if either Hillary or Obama are elected to the White House, your personal taxes will rise. This is not my opinion, both have EXPLICITLY stated they will file legislation to increase personal income taxes "on the rich" to help pay for the Republican excesses and the Iraq war. Read this blog: Read This Blog

    Don't post your indignation over a few dollars of sales tax when the tax these two loons are proposing will put the US into a huge recession. If you think it's bad now, wait until the "rich" have to pay more.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    MoldySpore, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 11:55am

    Newegg.com is complying

    While I am very happy that Overstock and Amazon are taking the fight to this new law, it seems that many big online retailers are just going along with it.

    I do thousands of $'s worth of business with Newegg and several other online computer parts suppliers, and I recently received an e-mail from all of them that stated that Starting June 1st, they will start charging sales tax to New York shipping addresses.

    I wish that more large companies such as Newegg were going after this law. Hopefully the law will get tossed out, but without pressure from many large sellers, it will likely go without arguement, since so many companies are just accepting it.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Freedom, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 2:54pm

    Ultimately a losing cause...

    Now that the big online retailers generate and process a ton of orders and along with it a huge revenue stream, states are not going to look the other way on getting sales/use tax for the purchases.

    Bottom line, in every state I've been in, you have to pay a sales tax (i.e. called a 'use tax') when ordering product from out of state. As part of our business, we regularly pay use taxes on Internet purchases for stuff that isn't for re-sale. Sucks, but we do it because it is the law and one that has auditors.

    If you ignore the fact that you don't like to pay "extra" money/tax, having a taxable online purchase levels the playing field for a local merchant.

    If you really have a problem with the use tax, you should also be consistent and fight to get rid of the sales tax in your state.

    For what it's worth, if they can't get it from online retailers, expect the state auditors to start adding a check list to any audits the cross-references credit card recipients and use tax submissions along with a nice penalty to make sure the word gets out and makes everyone audit'd a poster child for the use tax law.

    Freedom

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 7:05pm

    TAXES!

    Wasn't this country founding on the grounds of being over taxed by Britain only to do it to our own people.

    $1
    33% - Federal Tax
    3-5% - State Tax
    Excise Taxes, Cigarette taxes, sales taxes, license taxing, property taxes, liquor taxes.

    More than 60% of the money an American makes goes for taxes.

    REVOLUTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Tony, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 8:27pm

    Re: Newegg.com is complying

    So take your business to someone else, and tell Newegg why. They're not the only place to order computer stuff online.

    Enough people do that, maybe they'll change their policy. If they don't, then someone else will take their place.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Exe, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 10:47pm

    "Those of you who have cried over a sales tax for a book or CD should realize that if either Hillary or Obama are elected to the White House, your personal taxes will rise. This is not my opinion, both have EXPLICITLY stated they will file legislation to increase personal income taxes "on the rich" to help pay for the Republican excesses and the Iraq war. Read this blog: Read This Blog

    Don't post your indignation over a few dollars of sales tax when the tax these two loons are proposing will put the US into a huge recession. If you think it's bad now, wait until the "rich" have to pay more."

    Gosh, and lowering taxes will pay for that war when???? I'd watch who you blame for the coming recession...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 11:20pm

    by Exe

    YEAH, Like the RePUCKitans wont raise taxes. Need to raise the HAMMER!

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Gametheory, Jun 3rd, 2008 @ 4:11pm

    Re: Newegg

    I know what you mean, this is ridiculous. I still can't believe Newegg is complying with this law. They just lost A LOT of loyal customers...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anon, Jul 7th, 2008 @ 11:30pm

    WTF NY

    What are are the NY legislatures thinking?! Jesus Christ. I can't get over how stupid they are. They have absolutely no idea what they are doing!

    This is just like the BS tax overload they put on trucker's gas. Now all truckers get their gas out of state. Yeah, GJ. You effectively cut out all that tax revenue. God. I wish our legislatures were competent.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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