Ministry of Controversy

This Just In.

Dear Gardener’s Supply Co. affiliate:

Due to business reasons connected with the new online tax law in California, we have chosen to remove all California affiliates, effective July 1st, 2010.  We regret having to do this and hope that the law may be struck down in the future so that we may be able to resume the productive business relationships we have enjoyed with you.

We appreciate your understanding in this matter and look forward to working with you again.

Regards,

Caitlin Callaghan

The Gardener’s Supply Co. Affiliate Team

 

 

Dear Caitlin,

 I'm happy to see my home state working to collect much-needed sales tax revenue from all retailers.  I think it's wonderful news and I hope that the new law will not be struck down.  I would like to see online retailers embrace the idea of fairness among all retailers and work to advocate changes to the law that allow for an equitable, nationwide system for collecting sales tax from all customers.   This will allow all businesses to be treated the same, whether they are a brick-and-mortar business or an online or catalog business.

Here are some useful facts about sales tax collection.

All best,

Amy

UPDATE:  Thanks to the person who just sent me this, from the NYT:  "

Reed Hastings, the chief executive of Netflix, said, "We collect and provide to each of the states the correct sales tax. There are vendors that specialize in this (we use Vertex). It’s not very hard."

Any number of online businesses already collect sales tax nationwide, from B&N.com, to Walmart, to Best Buy, to Target, whose online sales are handled by Amazon, suggesting that Amazon is more than capable of collecting sales tax and paying it to the states. Presumably Gardener's Supply Company is as well.

Posted by on June 30, 2011 at 4:14 pm, in the category Ministry of Controversy.
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20 Responses to “This Just In.”

  1. Chris U says:

    Bravo. Good for you Amy. I don’t think most of us who buy online are interested in the small savings that comes from defrauding our states of their tax revenue!

    Here in Maryland we eagerly await the passage of pending legislation that will allow us to ship wine into the state from wineries, say, California. I’m happy to pay the tax!

  2. Genevieve says:

    I am very much with Amy in hoping for a federal law and system for this. The constitution does specify interstate commerce as being congress’ responsibility. I’d like to see some bold leadership on this issue.

    The California law that was just passed doesn’t actually get us any sales tax, though, since as you’ve noted, anyone with an affiliate program’s just withdrawing it, and still paying no tax.

    All it’s done is destroy the livelihood or reduce the income of tens of thousands of Californians like myself, while having no positive impact. The state is losing tax income from this, not gaining.

    In addition, trying to make some valuable change to our world by twisting the law and skirting a supreme court judgment on the matter (as this legislation has – really, how am I a “sister company” to Amazon?) isn’t the right way to approach this.

    I do agree that this is an important issue that must be addressed. I just think this particular way of doing so was shameful and ineffective.

  3. Adam says:

    Bravo, indeed. Well put

  4. Michael says:

    Any state in the country has plenty of tax income. Cut spending. They need no new revenue. I want to buy my products as cheaply as possible. I do not exist on this planet to finance a bloated state government which sticks it’s hands into my pockets at every turn. I love to hear people talking about creating jobs but at the same time doing everything they can to kill them. Please!……sign me up!…….I want to pay more taxes because I don’t pay enough now! Give me a break. The answer isn’t to inflict more taxes on more businesses. The answer is to inflict less taxes on more businesses.

  5. Scott says:

    California’s problems are not because it taxes its citizens too little.

    Due to business reasons connected with the new online tax law in California, we have chosen to remove all California affiliates, effective July 1st, 2010.

    Did they really use 2010?

  6. greg draiss says:

    If I buy something in another state New York has no business trying to get sales tax from me. I should pay the tax to the state in which I purchased something. I am not owned by New York……….

    The TROLL

  7. United we stand, so why not united we tax?

  8. Sally says:

    More good reasons to buy local, make or grow it yourself, or learn to do without!

  9. Barry says:

    Everyone bitching about paying too much taxes are missing the point. Online retailers game the system to avoid paying taxes to create an a barrier to competition from brick and mortar business. There is no valid reason for this anti-competitive advantage to exist.

  10. anne says:

    I live and own a business in Oregon, where there is no sales tax. It has been voted down by the citizens 9 times that I know of. But I don’t see that the lack of sales tax here has created more businesses or more jobs (as many claim it should), and like many states, ours is hurting and has high unemployment. I also don’t see people from other states (except right across the borders) rushing here to go shopping in order to avoid paying sales tax.

    Many of us small businesses claim that a sales tax would be a burden, and it would create another layer of bureaucracy, which is never welcome. But I would be in favor of it, because I think it would solve a lot of budget issues, and everyone would pay it–even visitors from out of state.

  11. Val says:

    Ask gardeners supply co. why they sell so much stuff made in China.

  12. Claire Splan says:

    I agree that this law is necessary and it will in fact generate tax revenue because there are other companies that will be smart enough to not kill their affiliate programs. I’m happy to take my business as an affiliate away from Amazon and send it elsewhere. In the end I think Amazon is going to come off looking like greedy bastards while everybody else is having to take some kind of hit during this horrible recession.

  13. Claire Splan says:

    And Barnes & Noble stands ready to take up the slack: http://blogs.publishersweekly.com/blogs/PWxyz/?p=5643

  14. Niko says:

    For all those who sell online and applaud this law… ya know, you could have been paying sales taxes to CA all along if you wanted to. I would have appreciated a couple fewer pot-holes in my neighborhood.

    Amazon doesn’t mind if YOU pay sales tax, they just don’t want to collect it themselves as if it’s their product.

  15. Tom says:

    I am neither selfish or greedy. Taxes are a fact of life and the US is already a low taxed nation. I have bought a few items online, but I prefer to spend locally. The money to run a state and municipality has to come from somewhere, so I’d rather contribute to the local coffers than Amazon’s lust for investor dividend.

  16. Dave says:

    Sally advocated an argument that is promoted by various states and the Federal Government in order to double tax the individual making on line purchases and to add an additional burden to the business selling online.

    There are extremely few business that don’t charge sales tax for the items you purchase online. Anyone who shops on line knows this and pays the tax when they go internet shopping. It might not be your state’s tax, but you are paying tax on your item.

    The Federal government wants to add a tax to internet purchases so that it can get even more tax money in addition to all of the existing federally mandated taxes that we pay. By the same token the Federal government isn’t willing to publish appropriate up to date electronic tables to make this tax task easy and effortless and it is unwilling to accept responsibility for that information. Companies would have to pay for information from third parties to comply with the proposed rules. Of course there would be no reimbursement for that expense.

    Several states proposed legislation to add their state tax in addition to the tax paid to the state where the purchase originated. The customer would be double taxed for the purchase.

    National internet schemes are just that — schemes to take even more money out of small business.

  17. tibs says:

    What Tom said. Sales tax should be applied to all purchases no matter where you buy. There was and maybe is in my state a movement to get the sales tax owed tied to the purchaser rather that the place you buy it. The theory being that it will be easier to collect tax on line (I don’t follow this, either way sounds complicated to me) and it will benefit those counties that have few or no commercial establishments and thus collect little revenue for potholes etc. Counties with lots of retail places don’t like it, claiming they need all that revenue for all the additional potholes the out of area buyers make.

    Our state and local tax system is woefully out of date, still based on an industrial economy.

  18. Frank Hyman says:

    Wow. Thank. You. Amy.

    And thanks to whoever sent the NYT link, I will be making good use of that and the other info from Clare about the patriotic national companies that already pay state sales taxes that support schools, mental health centers and other services.

    As for the folks for whom living in what is already the lowest taxed (and highest anxiety) industrial democracy on the planet isn’t enough, what will you say when you or a loved one need state government help for your health or safety? Does the phrase “there but for the grace of God go I” mean anything to you?

  19. Frank Hyman says:

    BTW, my state, NC, has also been considering adding a services tax so that the regressive sales tax rate could be reduced.

    I design and install gardens in the spring and fall and my business would have to collect such a service tax from my clients and I fully support that.

    Now if we can just get some Reality-Based legislators elected in 2012…

  20. Dave says:

    Yes, God takes care of us on a moment by moment basis. Why would any of us want the government to provide for our health care? I have been in the government health care system and it stinks.

    For example even though I had a small pox vaccination Uncle decided that I needed another. The technician that administered it goofed and gave me a huge dose instead of the normal. As a result my arm oozed for over a week. My daughter barely avoided a serious dental complication after a government dentist performed a wisdom tooth extraction because he left gauze inside the socket. When her jaw was swollen and infected the government dentist didn’t have a clue about the problem. I took her to a dentist of my choice and when he opened the socket he discovered the material, removed it, sewed the socket up again and there were no more problems. These are just two small examples.

    We have already seen the poor performance of the government to take care of us during major disasters. In the western states the cops will tell you that you need to be able to take care of yourself because of the distances.

    God does help me every day and there is no way that I want to rely on the government to take care of my family or me. Trust in God and do your part.

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