Amazon.com to Collect State Sales Tax: Will It Change the Way You Shop?

The Internet retailer said the collection would begin in time for next year's holiday shopping season.

Checking out at Amazon.com will be a little pricier starting next November. The Internet retailer will start collecting Massachusetts state tax for next year's holiday shopping season.

Gov. Deval Patrick's office announced the deal Tuesday, stating the company would be adding jobs to Massachusetts in the next few years.

Amazon.com and Patrick said they would work together to support a federal bill allowing individual states to collect sales tax in states where they have no physical location.

The co-owner of one well-known Boston area business that has been hit hard by Amazon's tax-free run is is celebrating the decision.

"For every brick and mortar retailer, this is a huge victory,” Dana Brigham of Brookline Booksmith told CBS Boston. "It is beyond about time and I wish it was yesterday instead of fall of 2013 when it would take effect."

Patrick said the agreement would generate millions in long-term revenue for the state.

"We are thankful Amazon was willing to come to the table and we will continue our conversations with them about creating jobs here," he said in a press statement. "This agreement is a win for all sides."

Will this change how you shop online? Will this be a shot in the arm for local brick-and-mortar retailers? Tell us in the comments.

Carolyn Costain December 12, 2012 at 05:02 PM
We live in a money grubbing state that should "legally" change the name to Tax-achusetts! People buy on-line to get cheaper and affordable deals. Tax-achusetts takes the fun out of everything, now even "shopping on-line?" If the prices on deals go up? Whats the sense in even shopping on-line? I think this state and the Federal tax law, they are pushing for other states to follow their lead, is going to be the ultimate demise and loss for Amazon.com
Cool Fusion December 12, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Absolutely I will. If I can buy the same item in NH without the shipping charge and now the Mass sales tax and get value.. certainly I will .. and most probably will pickup many, many more items incuding gas while i'm there. Every sane consumer would. With the shipping charge it was marginal before.. and now this tax cleared the difference hump. Good bye Mass postal worker.. goodbye Mass delivery guy.. Good bye Mass retailer.. Goodbye Mass gas tax. This is just another of the Govnah's means of attacking the middle-class consumer with another tax to support his bloated and underfunded budget. Stay tuned.. the trend line of inept budgetary controls indicate there are more taxes to come.
Jeff F December 12, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Sorry my family comes first. If I can save some money by purchasing online then I will...the little guy needs some relief too! If these businesses can't compete then they will die. Darwin had it right....sorry but the truth hurts!
John Buba December 12, 2012 at 05:53 PM
When politicians (Democrats) say "level the playing field" why is it always via a tax INCREASE? You could create the same level field by REMOVING the sales tax from books (and then everything else.) Now that would really be something to cheer.
Jeff F December 12, 2012 at 05:57 PM
So simple, yet so elegant. You should run for office.
Bill December 12, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Local retailers should be careful for what they wish for from the Gov. Most likely they bargained a tax break from the state for distribution center so they can do same day delivery. When you can order same day delivery from your desk, there will be little reason to go to a store. My only change will be to find alternatives to Amazon who are still tax free. I buy a lot from Amazon and I am in the Prime program so I get two day free shipping. This won't make me or many people abandon online shopping for old fashion stores. Sorry folks, that ship has sailed. The only thing I buy locally is food. Like others, I hate the thought of my hard earned money going to the patronage, incompetence and corruption that is the Mass. state government.
Bryan Karsis December 12, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Ultimately, the place which offers me the best price at the greatest convenience will be the place I shop, whether it supports the local economy or not. In a perfect world, everything I ever wished to purchase would be available in the 10-minute walk it takes to get downtown. It appears I missed that experience by a number of decades, however. Once the sales tax kicks in a year from now, I'll just have to do a little more research and comparison shopping before I buy online. Is it cheaper to go through Amazon Prime with MA sales tax and free two-day shipping or someplace else with no sales tax yet sometimes costly several-business-day shipping? It would be nice though if the untold millions of dollars speculated by the Patrick administration that are going to flood the state's coffers were earmarked for something in dire need of fixing, such as the MBTA, I would be all for that.
Bill Walsh December 12, 2012 at 08:44 PM
I hope you all still feel that way when the rest of downtown goes the way of Banbury Cross.
chester suchecki December 12, 2012 at 10:13 PM
ifyou shop smart you can find free shipping online and tax free.. screw amazon they are too expensive anyway,there are no real deals there.
Kevin Letourneau December 12, 2012 at 10:40 PM
Does anyone know if this affects digital downloads? I'd be really upset if I had to pay tax on ebooks, music downloads or video rentals.
Deb December 12, 2012 at 11:26 PM
"Leveling the playing field" is just a not very well disguised smoke screen for another PRMA money grab. I buy online for convenience. I can find exactly what I want, right down to customizing a laptop, no muss, no fuss. Also figure, you're saving travel time, gas money, and often, aggravation. My habits won't change. I buy quite a bit at Amazon, and am also an eBayer. I use Overstock ($2.95 shipping!), and a couple of other sites regularly. I've never bought a big ticket item on Amazon, and probably never will - now. Cameras, PC's, watches etc are available at many other good sites, no problem. All that said, I make a point of doing some shopping in Salem before the holidays. I can walk downtown or to the wharf, and it's fun to poke around. I often find things I wouldn't have thought to buy otherwise for Xmas presents; and heaven knows, our merchants can use our support.
Deb December 12, 2012 at 11:32 PM
If buying from Amazon, I don't see how it wouldn't.
Sean Ward December 12, 2012 at 11:37 PM
So instead of boosting state business by removing the sales tax they push to tax the other guys too. Great, once again the little guy gets the short end of the stick. Government has no interest in finding ways to need less money. They only want to find ways to steal more.
Sean Ward December 12, 2012 at 11:38 PM
You local brick and mortar store owners that think this is great news I hope you are not shipping out of state. You think preparing your taxes is a pain in the rump now wait until you have to send sales tax to 50 different states.
Sean Ward December 12, 2012 at 11:43 PM
And also, way to fight dirty. Instead of finding ways to compete and make us want to come to your stores you just bring in these bullies to try to maniuplate us instead. It won't work. The only people that should rejoice about this is the small businesses just over the New Hampshire boarder. They are about to get back alot of the Massachusetts business they lost to the internet a decade ago.
Buzz December 13, 2012 at 01:23 AM
Only problem is you'll burn more in gas then you pay on sales tax driving to NH, at least I certainly would from my north shore location.
nicole December 13, 2012 at 02:14 AM
I will not continue to shop at Amazon once I have to start paying taxes. That was the beauty of shopping at Amazon.
De December 13, 2012 at 05:24 AM
"A win for all sides"???????? UM except for the side of the customers.....this is disgusting.
Bill December 13, 2012 at 02:34 PM
That is a good question - I just looked at my last iTunes receipt and there was tax. 6 cents on a .99 purchase to the MAN to waste.
Don Hammond December 13, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Some of you simply don't understand the situation. All you look at is me -me -me. That's become the American Way!!! Step outside your world in a bubble for a minute and look at what is going on. Do you think retailers here in this state like having to collect sales tax which we know are driving sales away to online stores and New Hampshire? Do you understand that the retailers have to write a check to the state for all the sales tax they collect and they don't keep not a cent of it? Do you think the in state retailers want to deal with all the problems of online transactions because it's easy to sell someone something online and then when the consumer has a problem, it's just as easy to brush it off on someone else. It's the same someone else that you didn't buy the product from in the first place. It's the same someone else that's laying off your brother or your friend or you son becasue there isn't enough business to keep them employed. I personally don't want to spend more money then I have to and I don't blame anyone for feeling that way in this economy especially, but what you and I are doing effects many other people. Some closer to you than you think so we need to look at the big picture.
Jeff F December 13, 2012 at 03:54 PM
In these times all I can worry about is MY wallet. When that situation improves I'll be more than happy to shop local and support the economy. Until then, yes, it is about "me-me-me"....it's called survival.
Sean Ward December 13, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Don, I'm having a hard time determining what your position is on this. Are you saying retailers in the state don't want a state sales tax or are you saying retailers in the state want online retailers and the state of NH to also have a sales tax?
Don Hammond December 13, 2012 at 06:35 PM
I don't think we'll ever see a sales tax in NH anytime soon. There are other taxes up there that offset being able to not put a sales tax in however. In some states, the sales tax rates vary from county to county. I was talking to someone out in the Buffalo area that said they have a state sales tax and another sales tax depending on what county you were in. I think alot of people seem to forget, or maybe just don't know that if you go to New Hampshire and buy something and use it in Massachusetts, you are supposed to still be paying the sales tax on it on your tax returns.... (I know...yeah right......). I think think this sales tax issue is national and has a great burden on fair trade and commerce. The evolution of the internet and online sales has gone way past making changes to these laws. They are long overdue in my opinion. I mean, realistically, I don't see how any retail business , big or small can compete if they are near the New Hampshire boarder. We have people who drive from Rhode Island through Mass to save on the sales tax....... crazy right? I don't know what the fix is but I can't see how it's fair that us retailers in Mass have to charge a sales tax but you can sit at your house in Mass, order something online, and not have to pay the tax. You are still technically shopping in the state.
Sean Ward December 13, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Don, the point is we don't want to pay another tax when we spend what's left of our earnings after they were already taxed. Pick one, tax our earnings or our spending, not both.
Don Hammond December 13, 2012 at 07:10 PM
If vendors want to sell online then why should they not be burdened with having to file taxes in all states...you are collecting revenue and profit from those states right? Do I like it personally, no. I think the only fair way would be to create a federal sales tax rate that applies to every US state or province, including any online sales. Next thing you know, we will be paying a state AND federal sales tax..... It's an extreme here in this state because NH has 0 sales tax. That means we are 6 times higher... not double or triple. It's not like people from Rhode Island are going to come to Mass to save 3/4 of a percent. The fact of the matter is the more business that fold up and jobs that are lose here in Mass because of this (and yes it's happening ALOT), the more people out of work, the less income tax that's being collected...... We should have voted for the 3% sales tax when we had a chance. Everyone was afraid the police, fire and teachers were going to lose their jobs if we did that.........
Don Hammond December 13, 2012 at 08:29 PM
I agree. I'm just pointing out the way things are. Things are broken and need to be fixed. Posting on Danvers Patch isn't going to fix it. Some of the politicians we are electing aren't either but that's another whole topic. I just don't understand how NO ONE wants to pay the state sales tax and when we had the chance to vote to lower it, it didn't pass???? I listen to customer's complain about the sales tax all day. I never hear anyone say "Oh, you are going to tack on another 6.25 percent....thanks!" I started getting charged tax on my business software monthly support. These people are in Texas. I called them and asked why I was being charged for support, that it seems it would be under labor. They said it's considered a use tax. Well I purchased the software once already, why am I paying a tax on it monthly? So I called the state and read up on the tax laws....... they were right. It's outlined specifically for software and support. They same way I have to charge sales tax on equipment rental. People argue with me all the time that they aren't buying it, they are renting it.....like I'm pocketing the tax or something. I'm charging you because it's the law.....
Bill December 13, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Prediction: NH has a sales tax within 5-7 years. The state is turning blue with all the Mass. rejects moving up there and they lost the "Live Free of Die" spirit. They keep electing Dem liberals to take care of them. A mess.
Sean Ward December 14, 2012 at 02:50 AM
Don, it was voted down because you can't just eliminate it all at once. We were presented with a ridiculous option that they knew we wouldn't be able to go for. They should have asked if we were interested in gradually reducing the tax and offered a list of what money they would stop wasting to balance the budget. We knew that without spending cuts if we voted away the sales tax we would just end up with higher property or income tax. Cut costs first then eliminate the state tax.
Andrew Johnson, CPA December 19, 2012 at 11:48 PM
Genius comment!
Andrew Johnson, CPA December 20, 2012 at 12:14 AM
Maybe your comment will go viral: http://info.peisnerjohnson.com/blog/bid/194320/Level-The-Playing-Field-Hold-On-To-Your-Wallet


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