NewEgg Tells NY Tax Collectors To Take A Hike
from the take-that dept
Earlier this year, we wrote about how NY state had passed a highly questionable law designed to force e-commerce retailers to collect sales tax in the state. As you hopefully know, retailers are only supposed to collect sales tax in states where they have a physical presence. The reasoning for this is pretty straightforward. The taxes are designed to help provide core infrastructure services for those retailers (roads, water, etc.). Without a physical presence in the state, the retailers aren’t making use of those services, so it doesn’t seem right to tax them for it. The NY state law was sneaky in that it changed the definition needed to establish a “physical presence” to include anyone who acted as an affiliate of the retailer. Most e-commerce sites have affiliate programs that allow others to get a kickback on sales for driving those sales. Affiliates are effectively advertisers, driving traffic to an e-commerce site. It’s quite a stretch to suggest they represent a physical presence for the company. But, NY politicians did it because they wanted to get more cash out of Amazon.
Different online retailers have reacted in different ways. Both Amazon and Overstock sued over the law — and Overstock even banned NY affiliates while this law is in place. Online tech retailer NewEgg started collecting the tax, but has changed its mind. It sent a letter to customers saying that it’s decided not to collect the tax. There isn’t much more of an explanation, but it sounds like it’s asking New York to sue it if it wants to get the tax at all:
As a result of recent changes in New York State tax law requiring certain out-of-state retailers to collect and remit sales taxes to the State of New York, we began collecting applicable sales tax for all orders shipped to New York addresses starting June 1, 2008.
After careful review and consideration, we are pleased to inform you that we have stopped collecting New York sales tax, effective August 21, 2008. This decision was driven by your direct and candid feedback and our continued commitment to you as our valued customers.
Your move, New York.