It looks like Georgia may be able to reach a deal with Amazon.com to get the e-retailer to start charging sales tax on its transactions in Georgia. That could lead other e-retailers to follow suit.
Brian Robinson, a spokesman for the Governor, says they are optimistic the state won’t have to sue Amazon to get it to start collecting state sales tax on Georgia transactions.
“We can confirm that there are ongoing talks. And that there’s reason to believe that we’re going to begin collecting the sales tax made on purchases made on purchases made on Amazon in the not too distant future.”he says.
Robinson says the Governor is optimistic the state won’t have to sue Amazon to get the company to start collecting state sales tax on Georgia purchases. He says there is precedent.
“The situation has changed. The environment has changed as more and more states look at the reality. And that is that there’s this revenue out there that belongs to the state and isn’t being collected. And that’s providing an unfair advantage to one competitor.”he says.
Robinson says the negotiations are being helped by a tax reform law passed by the General Assembly last year requiring e-retailers to charge state sales tax.
“We do not want to have a scenario where our state law incentivizes an advantage for an out of state company and hurts in state companies and in state small businesses.” he says.
Alan Essig with the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute says this could boost the state budget.
“Through all e-retailers we’re losing hundreds of millions of dollars. And the more of that we can collect the better. And more and more consumers are spending money online, which is putting our brick and mortar retailers at a real disadvantage. And it’s really hurting them.”he says.
Essig says if the state can work a deal with the biggest e-retailer, other e-retailers could begin charging state sales tax.
He says “If the biggest one comes to the table I think it helps bring the other ones to the table.”