Amazon.com gets an unfair edge in the retail world by not charging California customers sales tax, the company’s critics contend. And there’s a move afoot in the state legislature (AB 178) to change that.
Under California’s tax code, notes Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner (D-Alameda), online sales tax is legally required to be paid at the time of purchase, if not directly to the vendor, who passes it on to the Board of Equalization, then on the purchasers personal state income tax return.
As a book seller, Bill Petrocelli, co-founder and vice president of Book Passage, has been at odds with Amazon ever since the online vendor arrived on the scene. But as Amazon has expanded, he says, other conventional retailers have begun to “share his pain.”
While the giants of the online sales world, such as Amazon, are the most visible targets of AB 178, an organization of smaller retailers has banded together as the Performance Marketing Alliance, one of several groups that is aggressively lining up to fight the measure.