North Carolina’s E-Tail Amnesty Program Rejected By 94 Percent

Written by Evan Schuman
September 2nd, 2010

In the latest saga of North Carolina’s attempts to get sales tax revenue from E-tailers–its battles with Amazon are nothing if not creative–the state offered tax amnesty to 450 retailers, if they cooperated. Only 27 accepted the offer, which is barely 6 percent of those approached. Those 27 “represent a variety of large national and smaller specialized retailers,” said Beth Stevenson, the public information officer for North Carolina’s Department of Revenue.

The deal was simple. If the retailer agreed to collect North Carolina’s taxes for four years, the state would agree to not “assess tax, penalties or interest” and “to not exercise its authority to obtain consumer information from the retailer to collect a tax liability.” I’m stunned that more retailers didn’t leap at the offer. I’m really curious as to which national chains agreed to this proposition, as it would almost certainly force them to also pay taxes to every other state. Then again, if the chain’s participation stays secret, the other states wouldn’t know and it couldn’t be used against the retailer.


5 Comments | Read North Carolina’s E-Tail Amnesty Program Rejected By 94 Percent

  1. xcergy Says:

    Shocked that companies did not take NC DOR up on their offer? That 94% know that what NC is doing is ILLEGAL, along with the concept of taxing advertisers who use commission ads on their websites and blogs (Amazon Tax)
    The problem of collecting Use Tax is a consumer issue, not one for online retail. States should work on enforcing existing Sales Tax Law, not making new bad law designed to put small business out of business.

  2. Evan Schuman Says:

    Editor’s Note: The thing that is bad about Web sites is that sarcasm is not always apparent. For the record, the reference in the story to “shocked” was sarcastic.

  3. Cancel Rush Says:

    The funny part of this is the State owned institutions of North Carolina within the UNC University System is the largest recipient of affiliate revenue from Internet online store purchases which do collect NC Sales Tax.

    The affiliate partners of the UNC University Athletic departments and Campus online text book sales are a larger violator of the NC Amazon tax Law than

    Our state has gone strong after the small website affiliate revenue while not touching the big online purchase money of our University sports teams… You pay NC Sales Tax when you buy a Carolina Hurricanes (Pro NHL) or Carolina Panthers (Pro NFL) T-shirt but you pay no sales tax if you buy online a UNC,ECU or Duke T-Shirt….

    North Carolina is the home office of the Atlantic Coast Conference in Greensboro, North Carolina and they do not charge NC Sales tax on Internet purchases….

    NC House Rep Jennifer Weiss of Cary, NC who sponsored this house bill then stashed its wording in the NC 2009 budget bill on page 219 told me to “go get a Walmart affiliate relationship” when I complained about losing my affiliate relationship…

    I guess our college Athletic Departments should take NC house Rep 35 Weiss’s advice and join the Walmart affiliate program so they can sell their sports team apparel..

    The NC revenue department shut us down but never touched the affiliate relationships owned by NC Institutions. It is just sickening.

  4. Cancel Rush Says:

    An investigative report was aired last week on this issue. WRAL-Raleigh, NC uncovered the entire University system in North Carolina does not charge sales tax on Internet purchases from their Athletic Department websites.

    It is called “Love of college sports” but can also be retrieved by searching “Amazon Tax Law”.

    When the TV news report aired only NC State and their online websites agreed to charge sales tax. A letter by our Governor has been sent to the President of the University system asking him to look into the disparity.

    NC State was shipping online purchases from a small store a few miles from the campus and this store sits next to the little independent book store which was used to spotlight the need for the Amazon Tax law issue of “Leveling the playing field” The employees were vocal critics in news paper articles of and online purchases.

    The owner of the Quail Ridge Book store has been a long time contributor to House Rep 35 Cary, NC, Jennifer Weiss. As Weiss was walking into the little book store the University system was shipping Tax free out the back door, next door.

    Conundrum was the word used by the state since no Non-Profit status was written into our Amazon Tax Law. The NC Revenue department will not talk about the issue siting “tax payer privacy”.

    We are the state which wanted the purchase information of 50,000 Amazon purchases. Evidently the NC Revenue department is full of Loud Duke fans who wear their UNC Basketball T-shirts the bought online in the privacy of their own home. That is not sarcasm.

  5. leavingnc Says:

    way to go NC, what a bunch of morons! Amazon doesn’t want to have any contractual relationship with me because I live in NC. So now I can’t make the >100K plus with them yearly which means I can’t pay NC >10K each year. It also mean I will be moving out of state as soon as I can which means they don’t get my yearly property tax (>4K), my vehicle tax (>$500) and none of my local purchases. Talk about short sightedness.

    This issue is about tax evasion so go after the ones who are evading the tax. You can request help from the retailers but can’t demand it. “subsidiary nexus” is just a stupid ploy and you guys are supposed to be educated folks leading the state. I hope these clowns get voted out.


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