Arizona lawmakers push for Amazon.com to collect sales tax

Arizona and Amazon appear to be at loggerheads. Legislators in the state are reportedly pushing forward with a plan to have online retailers like Amazon.com collect sales tax, part of an ongoing battle between the online retailer and cash-strapped states, reports The Associated Press.

As we previously reported, the state of Arizona is going after Amazon for $53 million in back taxes for the period of March 2006 through December 2010. The state alleges that Amazon should have been collecting a transaction tax during those periods.

That’s in addition to the $269 million that Texas is trying to collect from Amazon on similar grounds. Amazon is fighting both assessments. The company says SEC staff notified Amazon in late 2011 that it had completed its inquiry into the Texas assessment.

Amazon.com contends that it doesn’t have to collect sales taxes in certain states because it doesn’t operate physical locations there, a fight that has been going on across the country. In a SEC filing last week, Amazon.com wrote:

U.S. Supreme Court decisions restrict the imposition of obligations to collect state and local sales taxes with respect to remote sales. However, an increasing number of states have considered or adopted laws that attempt to impose obligations on out-of-state retailers to collect taxes on their behalf. We support a Federal law that would require sales tax collection under a nationwide system. More than half of our revenue is already earned in jurisdictions where we collect sales tax or its equivalent. A successful assertion by one or more states or foreign countries requiring us to collect taxes where we do not do so could result in substantial tax liabilities, including for past sales, as well as penalties and interest.