Weekly Round-Up: The Battle Between Amazon.com and California Turns Ugly


A group of nonprofits have banded together and are asking customers to boycott Amazon.com in an effort to get the company to “stop cheating California” by trying to derail the state’s new sales tax law, the Associated Press is reporting.

Similarly, a group of Silicon Valley small business have also banded together, holding a rally on Aug. 17th to show their support of the new sales tax law, Jason Green at MercuryNews.com reports.

Amazon, however, does not appear to be listening.

In fact, it is thumbing its nose at its opponents by collecting the signatures needed to put the repeal to a vote outside brick-and mortar retailers, Andrea Chang and Marc Lifsher, of the Los Angeles Times, report.

Amazon is saying “not only do we intend to fight you in the court of public opinion but actually we're going to come onto your front porch,” Bill Whalen, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and a former speechwriter for Republican politicians, points out in the article.

Amazon has “hired a top California political campaign consultant, Goddard Claussen West in Sacramento, which brought on National Petition Management, a signature-harvesting firm,” according to the article. Furthermore, as Bill Dombrowski, president of the California Retailers Assn., explains in the article, the “signature gatherers are independent contractors who typically earn $1 to $2 per name, though some are getting as much as $3.”

In other developments,

For a look at how Amazon planned its sales tax strategy across the nation, check out Stu Woo’s article for the Wall Street Journal.

BNA State Tax Law Editor Kathleen Caggiano interviews Dean Zerbe, director of alliantgroup and former counsel to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, about how tax credits, and incentive programs are playing a bigger role in job-creating business expansion, and location decisions.

The Institute for Professionals in Taxation has released their August 2011 Tax Report which contains an article by Kendall Houghton and Maryann Luongo on transfer pricing audits and the use of third party contract auditors.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities argues that the “Case for Regulating State and Local Taxation of Digital Goods and Services Has Little Merit”. 

Harley Duncan and Sarah McGahan, of KPMG Washington National Tax, take a look at new legislation aimed at sales and use tax nexus.

The Tax Foundation issues its Summer 2011 issue of Tax Watch.

Reed Smith reviews New Jersey’s new tax compliance initiative for media companies.

By Priya D. Nair

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