According to CNBC’s Beijing time on March 3, Amazon.com has notified third-party sellers that sales tax will soon begin to be imposed on goods sold to Pennsylvania.
On the vendor-only sellers platform, Amazon said that from April 1, Amazon “will calculate, charge and transfer sales tax” for orders that are delivered to users in Pennsylvania. Amazon spokesman confirmed this policy.
Amazon’s new service is called Marketplace Tax. Pennsylvania is the second U.S. state to levy ecommerce sales tax following Washington, DC, where Amazon’s headquarters are located. Last year Pennsylvania lawmakers passed a law that requires Internet retailers to impose sales taxes to create a level playing field for physical stores.
As more retail deals move online, states seek to offset a drop in tax revenues and Amazon is being forced to accept the new legislation for online retailers in the states. Internet sales in the United States have never been taxed since 1992, unless the merchant has a physical store in the user’s state. In a report released late last year, the U.S. Government Accountability Office estimated that the U.S. state and local governments could have collected a maximum of $ 13 billion in taxes on e-commerce sales last year.
Under Pennsylvania’s new law, sales tax will be levied regardless of whether an e-commerce platform merchant has a physical store in the state. So if a small Atlanta clothing company sends a dress to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, it now charges 6% sales tax. So far, Amazon has taxed the sales of its merchandise, but will allow third-party merchants on the platform to handle the tax on the sales of merchandise they sell.
In addition to Washington and Pennsylvania, states such as Colorado and South Dakota have also passed legislation forcing Internet sales taxes to be imposed.
Amazon said on the seller platform page that merchants do not have to take any action or pay any fees for the company’s automatic tax collection service and are unable to opt out or restrict sales to specific states for tax reasons.
In the future, whether there are more states in the United States to follow suit levying Internet sales tax, may depend on the United States Supreme Court. Starting in April, the U.S. Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments from South Dakota officials, who believe the 1992 ruling is no longer valid given the changing economic conditions.