LaPorte lawmaker seeks change in Amazon.com sales tax deal

2012-11-26T14:30:00Z LaPorte lawmaker seeks change in Amazon.com sales tax dealBy Dan Carden dan.carden@nwi.com, (317) 637-9078 nwitimes.com
November 26, 2012 2:30 pm  • 

INDIANAPOLIS | As online retailers total up their Cyber Monday sales, a Northwest Indiana lawmaker wants to speed up a deal requiring the Internet's biggest merchant to collect and remit the state's 7 percent sales tax.

Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels agreed earlier this year to exempt Amazon.com from collecting Indiana sales tax until Jan. 1, 2014. Typically, an online company with a physical presence in the state, such as Amazon's four distribution warehouses, would be required to charge sales tax on purchases made by Indiana customers.

The January 2012 deal persuaded Simon Property Group, the Indianapolis-based shopping mall owner with a mall in Lansing, Ill., to drop a lawsuit alleging online retailers receive an unfair price advantage by not collecting sales tax.

But state Rep. Tom Dermody, R-LaPorte, still isn't satisfied.

On Monday, Dermody and state Rep. Ed Delaney, D-Indianapolis, announced they'll sponsor legislation in January requiring Amazon begin collecting sales tax on July 1, 2013. Their plan is supported by Indiana Merchants for Tax Fairness, a group of 300 Hoosier small-business owners.

"This common-sense, bipartisan legislation will not only codify the deal that was struck earlier this year with Amazon.com, it will also ... level the playing field for Indiana's brick-and-mortar retailers in time for the 2013 back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons," Dermody said in a statement.

Amazon has repeatedly said it is happy to collect sales tax but first wants the federal government to ensure all online retailers do.

The Web giant may get its wish. Congress is expected act by the end of the year on pending legislation requiring all online purchases include state sales tax.

Indiana's budget agency estimates the state loses out on approximately $75 million a year in uncollected online sales tax revenue.

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