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Old 07-28-2014, 05:09 PM   #1
Internet sales tax?

Yesterday I ordered a product off of Ebay and noticed that the company selling it was located in California. I looked because I wanted to know when I would be getting delivery, approximately.

So when I went to the PayPal screen, I was a bit confused about why I was being charged Florida sales tax. It wasn't much, but still......

Anyway I asked the seller about it and here is what he said:
We must charge sales tax for whichever state the sale originated in (if sales tax applies to that specific state). This is a new policy that we must start enforcing to abide by state tax regulations for internet sales. If you are uncomfortable about this, I can issue you a full refund immediately. Please keep in mind though that most larger sellers are having to collect sales tax now in certain states. Thanks and have a wonderful day!
That is news to me! I know congress was talking about such a bill, but as far as I know it has not been made law on a federal level. On a state level, NO STATE can enforce it's laws upon a resident or business of another state. So has a federal law actually been passed under my radar?
Old 07-28-2014, 08:02 PM   #2
Not true. They would only have to collect sales tax if they are located in the same state as the customer. Because they are in California and you are in Florida, they should not charge you sales tax.
Old 07-28-2014, 08:49 PM   #3
Yeah, that's how I read it. Not sure if they are just confused or trying to collect a little bit more profit on the sale. In any event, I told them that if they want to collect Florida sales tax from me, then cancel the order and refund my money.

We'll see how this goes......
Old 07-28-2014, 08:55 PM   #4
I've seen a couple sellers (cat breeders) recouping the 3% paypal fee by charging "sales tax". The lengths people will go to, to not have to pay for anything.
Old 07-28-2014, 09:42 PM   #5
From what I understand, people can get into BIG trouble charging sales taxes and then not actually remitting them to the tax offices. I think some people are going to take advantage of this "internet sales tax" talk that's been going on lately by claiming that they *must* now collect those taxes, and then pocketing it.
Old 07-29-2014, 07:40 AM   #6
Believe it or not there actually is a 6% "use" tax that Floridians are supposed to pay on their own for any purchases made over the internet. In 1992, the Supreme Court ruled that the Federal Gov. can't force online businesses to collect sales tax if they don't have a physical presence in the state their customer lives in.
The company you were dealing with on Ebay is not required to collect the tax but you're supposed to do it on your own on a quarterly basis. This seems ridiculous and I'm sure that very few people actually do this. I'm betting that they get next to 0% compliance on this. I don't want to link to a outside website but I'll PM you the info on the law I'm referring to.

I'm annoyed that Amazon now has a physical presence in FL because I buy tons of stuff from them.
Old 07-29-2014, 11:34 AM   #7
For as long as I can remember Wisconsin income tax forms have a line for sales tax due on out of state purchases.

I'm guessing Lennie Pike is probably the only guy to actually put a number on this line.

I was aware of the "physical presence" stipulation and I know they were trying to get it changed so that all purchases required sales tax but I was not aware of anything being passed on the federal level either. I know I remember reading somewhere where California did pass a couple of other laws that affect internet sales tax but I don't recall the specifics off the top of my head.

Like you said Rich, I am sure there would be heck to pay if the state found out you were charging sales tax and not reporting it.
Old 07-29-2014, 12:52 PM   #8
Well, the guy told me that the reason he is charging sales tax is because he is a reseller for Amazon. Meaning, he orders the merchandise and lists it as a "gift" to me so it is drop shipped to me. He pockets a profit by just being a middle man. I've been seeing a LOT of that on Ebay. If I wanted to buy from Amazon, I would do so. However, I do not do business with Amazon, and have sent items back when I see the Amazon box on my doorstep. So in a way, this sales tax thing could be a good thing, since I will have some indication now that the seller is just someone using Amazon as their supplier. Of course, you don't see any indication that sales tax is due until you get to the PayPal page.

This is actually kind of underhanded now, since when you are comparison shopping on Ebay based on price, you don't have all the figures you need to make a decision. Let's face it, if you have 20 sellers all selling the same exact thing and you can see them all lined up in front of you, why WOULDN'T you just buy from the seller offering the best price? But with the way it is now, if you select the best price, and that seller is an Amazon reseller, you won't know about the sales tax "gotcha" until you have actually gotten to the point where you are going to pay for the merchandise. Used to be you could tell simply by the location of the seller. Now that is no longer true. For an auction site, isn't the PRICE one of the most important criteria you use for selecting what to "bid" on?

Damn... I'm going to be running out of places to buy from.....
Old 07-29-2014, 08:17 PM   #9
Just curious as to why you don't do business with Amazon. They aren't my favorite company either.

I totally agree about the price comparison thing and it seems a small percentage of sellers nowadays actually have the items in hand. Buying on the internet isn't like it was back in the good old days when everyone was honest and you could trust them.
Old 07-30-2014, 03:30 AM   #10
Originally Posted by sschind View Post
Just curious as to why you don't do business with Amazon. They aren't my favorite company either.

I totally agree about the price comparison thing and it seems a small percentage of sellers nowadays actually have the items in hand. Buying on the internet isn't like it was back in the good old days when everyone was honest and you could trust them.
Last year I decided to buy a bushel of steamed blue crabs through a seller on Amazon. I talked to the company (Maryland Blue Crab Express) beforehand and told them what I wanted. I didn't want junk, and I knew what *good* crabs were. I told them if they couldn't send me good crabs, then hold off shipping until they get them in. I was willing to wait.

I decided to buy through Amazon specifically because I knew how good their guarantee was, and told MBCE to expect my order. Yeah, I was playing it safe (I thought), because I have been lied to by online crab shippers before and I wanted to cover myself as much as possible.

So I got the shipment, and it was punk garbage. My first clue was when I lifted that bushel of crabs in the box (six dozen) and noticed how light it was. I thought they had sent me only a half bushel by mistake. The weight of the crabs was less than half bushels I have bought before. They didn't smell all that good neither. But we had to at least taste them and not make a hasty conclusion. Connie and I both tried to eat some of the crabs, but they tasted like they had been soaked in swamp water. So besides being airweight crabs, they smelled funky and tasted bad. BTW, come to find out that MBCE is actually located near Lancaster, PA, so I suspect the crabs likely came out of the Susquehanna River and not Chesapeake Bay like they were claiming.

So I immediately went through all the procedures on Amazon's website to effect a refund, and the company said they did not want the crabs sent back to them. I verified this at least three times, then tossed the entire shipment out into the woods and took pictures which I sent to MBCE.

Anyway, Amazon said they would not honor any guarantee on the order because the seller claimed the order was non returnable. Apparently Amazon's A-to-Z guarantee really didn't mean a whole lot. Yeah, apparently they USED to have a good guarantee, but I think they switched over to an offshore third party customer service outfit in Pakistan or India, and things changed there.

I could often find things cheaper elsewhere, but would often buy from Amazon anyway, simply because of their return guarantee. But after that episode, I was done with them. If any seller just states that their product is non-returnable, then guess what? Too bad for you if you get garbage from them.

So yeah, I am done with Amazon. Even though I have bought a lot of stuff from them for a real long time. Heck, I used to buy books from them when that is all they sold. Even passed some emails with Jeff Bezos when it was basically a one man show. Heck, Connie and I would often both get Amazon gift cards as gifts, and give them to others as well. But they left me holding the bag on that garbage and are apparently willing to allow their sellers to pawn off garbage on THEIR customers. I won't give them a second chance to do that to me.

And if I buy something off of Ebay and it shows up here in an Amazon box, then I contact the seller immediately for a refund and return label to ship it back to Amazon.

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