Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (Getty Images)In a move designed to level the playing field for local retailers on the cusp of the make-or-break holiday selling season, Massachusetts is maneuvering to collect state sales tax from e-tailing behemoth Amazon.com (AMZN), according to the Boston Herald.

Gov. Deval Patrick said the state hopes to soon seal a deal with Amazon.com that will have the online giant collect and pass on sales taxes from online purchases made by Bay State residents -- one of many recent efforts to strip Internet merchants' of the unfair price advantage they gain by not charging those sales taxes.

Brick-and-mortar chains have long complained that e-commerce retailers enjoy an extra competitive advantage since they're not obligated to collect sales tax from a state's shoppers unless the companies have a physical presence in a state, which enables them to offer consumers even better deals.

But with Amazon looking to expand its presence in Massachusetts, Gov. Patrick, pressured by The Massachusetts Main Street Fairness Coalition, is leading the charge to have Amazon collect the state's 6.25% sales tax from its shoppers.

A similar effort is taking place nationally, and is gaining momentum. Congress is considering the passage of the The Marketplace Equity Act, which would require all online retailers with more than $1 million in annual sales to collect sales taxes. If a bill that gives all states the authority to collect sales tax from online retailers becomes law, an advantage enjoyed by sellers such as Amazon.com and Overstock.com, but not merchants with physical stores like Target.com (TGT), would come to an end.

The National Retail Federation is a major advocate of the bill, and launched its own campaign in May to raise awareness of the sales tax fairness issue.

If the bill passes, e-commerce shoppers could see an estimated 5% to 10% increase in the cost of their online purchases, according to reports. But taking away the no-sales-tax perk ultimately might not matter to online shoppers much: The big draws of e-commerce for its fans are the convenience and wide selection it offers -- not the tax free shopping, say some experts.


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red79vett

What crap. The justification that state and local governments have always used for sales tax is that sales tax paid for services that the public and businesses needed to protect their PHYSICAL presence; now that that lie doesn't work, we will try socialism - "It isn't fair to everybody" whine, whine, whine. Now there is nothing to hide behind; all taxation is to feed government and politicians avarice.

I encourage Amazon to fight this; Amazon, you don't need Massachusetts (who does) tell them to go to hell and don't ship there; let the politicians answer to their constituencies when they can't purchase from you. Citizens in Massachusetts need Amazon more than Amazon needs Massachusetts. It is time to battle back against thieving governments, politicians and bureaucrats.

October 02 2012 at 12:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cheapuncle51

Yet another reason to shop in New Hampshire. (where there never has been or will be a sales or income tax) "Live Free or Die"

October 02 2012 at 9:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cheapuncle51

Yet another reason to shop in New Hampshire.

October 02 2012 at 8:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cheapuncle51

Yet another reason to shop in New Hampshire.

October 02 2012 at 8:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
browse62

Wow! Another political success story. They've created another law to suck another 6.25% out of our pockets and into the hands of the government to pay more government paper pushers and redistribute more of our hard earned income to others. Obama's redistribution is chugging along. It won't be long until people who live on marginal incomes will figure out that they too can sit on their front porch and colllect government benefits instead of putting in a hard day's work. Work is for suckers!

October 01 2012 at 7:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to browse62's comment
Scott

You mean like the 500,000 retrenched, that has actually done nothing to lower the deficit and only increased the unemployment rate.

Why is ensuring that everyone pays their share and plays by the same rules "redistribution" to you people?

October 01 2012 at 10:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sahpdm

A big thank you to all the politicians from all the movement impaired people who order on line. Now those people have to pay sales tax and shipping!
FJJ

October 01 2012 at 4:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sahpdm

A big thank you to all the politicians from all the movement impaired people who order on line. Now those people have to pay sales tax and shipping!
FJJ

October 01 2012 at 4:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sahpdm

A big thank you to all the politicians from all the movement impaired people who order on line. Now those people have to pay sales tax and shipping!
FJJ

October 01 2012 at 4:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sahpdm

A big thank you to all the politicians from all the movement impaired people who order on line. Now those people have to pay sales tax and shipping!
FJJ

October 01 2012 at 4:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sahpdm

A big thank you to all the politicians from all the movement impaired people who order on line. Now those people have to pay sales tax and shipping!
FJJ

October 01 2012 at 4:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply