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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

NC Judge Rules Amazon's Info Protected by First Amendment

A North Carolina judge decreed that Amazon does not have to provide tax collectors with lists of products individual customers purchased, as it violates the customers' First Amendment rights. The ACLU eventually joined the case, originally filed by Amazon in April.

A spokesperson said the company and organization have no quarrel with the government collecting taxes on these items, but the government has no right to a list of customers and their purchases. The state IRS says the case has been twisted into something it is not, and that it does not want individual customers' information, only to collect taxes on sales.

However, Amazon has no physical presence in North Carolina and current laws prevent the company from collecting sales tax from state customers. Customers, however, are apparently required to pay sales tax on any purchase that could have been purchased in-state, where it would have been taxed.

North Carolina attempted to circumvent this by declaring that Amazon did have a physical presence in the state, thanks to individual affiliates (such as bloggers) who live in North Carolina. Then, the state's Internal Revenue Service tried to tax Amazon in arrears -- for years before the law was even passed -- to the tune of $50 million! Texas has attempted the same illegalities and is suing Amazon for nearly $130 million!

© C Harris Lynn, 2010

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