February 27, 2012

Amazon to begin paying sales tax in Virginia


Add Virginia to the growing list of states where, finally, Amazon.com has been forced to abide by the law and collect sales taxes.

“In a victory for traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, Amazon agreed to collect and pay sales tax on purchases made to Virginians,” says a Washington Post report by Laura Vozzella.

The move, announced by Gov. Robert R. McDonnell‘s office, comes after the state legislature voted to reverse his decision that would have allowed Amazon to skip paying state sales taxes (see the earlier MobyLives report) — an announcement that led to a furor in the Virginia brick-and-mortar retail community.

Now, McDonnell’s office has now announced that a new deal with Amazon will end the legislative effort to close the loophole he’d opened, and “ensure that online retailers with a physical presence in Virginia are treated the same as traditional brick and mortar retailers who are already required to collect and remit existing sales taxes on goods sold in the Commonwealth” — exactly what state officials and small business and brick-and-mortar advocates had called for, and which McDonnell hae wanted to waive because Amazon had opened … brick and mortar business in the state.

However, as a report in the Augusta Free Press notes, “This new law simply requires collection of the existing tax at the point of sale.” Except for some reason, Amazon doesn’t have to abide by that law until September 1st, 2013.


Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House.