Amazon Begins Collecting Sales Tax in Massachusetts and Connecticut Today

Has anyone in Massachusetts or Connecticut bought something on Amazon today? If so, did you throw your computer out the window and vow to never shop there again when your grand total was 6.something% more than usual? Did you find yourself wanting to secede from the United States and join a technology-first, opt-in, government-free island?

For those who haven’t heard, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but as of this morning, Amazon sales in these states are now subject to sales tax — a victory for brick-and-mortar stores, the states of Massachusetts and Connecticut, and anyone who panics when their accountant asks them how much they spent on online purchases since last April (this may not be related to sales tax but that question always freaks me out). Amazon already charges sales tax in a dozen other states. The change in Massachusetts is projected to earn the state an extra 37 million dollars this year. Think of how many libraries you could keep open with that kind of money!

I live in an Amazon-free household that is not in these places, so I personally will not be affected, but to those who are, I give you 6.25 and 6.35% of my sympathy, respectively.

Photo: TessOlivia

---
---
---
---

12 Comments / Post A Comment

wrappedupinbooks (#1,426)

Can we hear more about this Amazon-free household? I am interested in the how and why of it. (okay, I basically get the why. It’s the how I’m after.)

Meaghano (#529)

@wrappedupinbooks I was hesitant to get into the why without really getting into it, but yeah you get the why. The why is more urgent for us since my fiancé works in publishing and before that an independent bookstore. I never thought that much about it and frankly enjoyed buying cheap used books there and sometimes selling my old textbooks, etc. It’s also super convenient! But he convinced me otherwise and once I read enough about it, it was an easy decision.

The how is not bad! I go to bookstores every few weeks for fun anyway, which is easier in New York than many places, unfortunately. Whenever we want a specific book that isn’t typically stocked we request it from a local bookstore who orders it for us in basically the same amount of time it would take for Amazon to deliver it. And for embarrassing self-help books or business books or accidentally revealing books I don’t want to discuss with my internet friends who work at the bookstores I frequent (i.e., I didn’t feel like buying a wedding planning book from an acquaintance, but then again I am a little insane), we just order it from Powell’s, who delivers all over the country!

The hardest part for me is when I think of a book I want to read asap, and then a week later I’m at a bookstore and I can’t remember the book I was looking for. I could keep a running list but I’m not that good at living. So I do miss that, but it’s more a personal problem. Ha!

wrappedupinbooks (#1,426)

@Meaghano Thanks for such a thorough response!

Its interesting its mostly books you used Amazon for. I try to buy books when I have some extra money, but honestly most of the books I read are borrowed from the library. I try to avoid using Amazon, but a couple of times a year I end up turning to it in despair for bulk purchases of things like toliet paper and sponges. I still feel guilty about using it like that though, because I do recognize that it would be better for the money to stay in the local economy. Also I have a huge problem with their labor practices, which I’m sure you’re familar with. I know that we vote with our dollars, but at this point in my life my dollars are very precious.

honey cowl (#1,510)

@Meaghano Do y’all do ebooks? I mostly rent my kindle books from the library, but have bought a few from amazon. They’re so far and away above any other ebook format I’ve tried.

missvancity (#146)

@wrappedupinbooks I’m curious about your question. How does one live in an Amazon-free household? I have lived in an Amazon-free household my whole life, and it’s pretty straightforward: you just don’t buy from them. I also have limited financial resources, so I usually get books from the library, or I buy from Kobo or a local used bookstore.

wrappedupinbooks (#1,426)

@missvancity for me its not books. Books are fine I can buy books elsewhere. There just occasionally ends up being random hardware type stuff I can’t find elsewhere. For example I need some specific eyedrops that are hard to find in stores and when I do find them they are generally 2-3x as expensive as they are on amazon ($25ish for a 3 month supply vs $25 for a one month supply). So Amazon it is. I needed a styrofoam head for Halloween and couldn’t find one in stores. So again, Amazon.

missvancity (#146)

@wrappedupinbooks Hm, I guess Amazon hasn’t made much in the way of in-roads in non-book product in Canada. I don’t know anyone who shops for things other than books there.

missvancity (#146)

@honey cowl The only time I’ve had problems is sometimes I get work documents in pdfs, and try to read them on my Kobo, and adjusting the size of the font is basically impossible. Library books from Overdrive work just fine though!

Eric18 (#4,486)

@Meaghano I don’t think I (or many others) could do this consistently. The amount of money you save when using things like Prime, buying used, or buying wholesale is pretty freaking great on Amazon. And don’t really understand the whole “I’m supporting my “local overpriced bookstore.” I frequently buy used books from small booksellers on Amazon and find great deals. Win-win situation. Just makes financial sense.

Ellie (#62)

WOOOO!!!!!

Eric18 (#4,486)

“Think of how many libraries you could keep open with that kind of money!”

Yeah, I don’t think these states will be doing that, but it’s always nice to hope!

Daniel B (#2,486)

Well, you were already paying taxes on your online spending, right? I know in VA we have a use-tax where in your state taxes you self-report how much you spent online. Of course we have been paying taxes on Amazon for months now due to similar reasons.

Post a Comment