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Amazon.com is set to begin collecting sales taxes on California purchases beginning on September 15th. If you have a purchase to make at Amazon.com, or if you can do your Christmas shopping early, this will save you money!
Depending on where you live, Californians pay 7.25% to 9.75% in sales taxes, so the savings are substantial — especially on big-ticket items such as electronics. Bargain hunters (like me) can also stock up on groceries, health and beauty products, and books.
Here are excerpts from an online article from firstname.lastname@example.org:
“Amazon.com to begin charging CA sales tax on 9/15: Shop now,” Cynthia Price, a paralegal from San Francisco, said on Twitter. “Buy your [MacBook Pros] and flat screens quick!” wrote Michael Christoff, 29, founder of a mobile start-up company. “Remember Amazon will start charging sales tax on Sept. 15th. Best get your orders in before then,” tweeted Tony Chung, an information technology support specialist from San Leandro, Calif., who planned to buy $1,000 worth of computer parts in the next two weeks.
Californians have been required to pay taxes on Internet purchases all along. If an online merchant doesn’t collect the tax, California law requires consumers to keep track of what they buy and remit a use tax directly to the state. But almost no one does, and officials have been lax on enforcement.
Once Amazon.com starts automatically tacking on the sales tax at the point of sale, it will be tougher for consumers to evade the rule, said Jerome Horton, chairman of the state Board of Equalization. He called the new law “a giant step forward” and said sales tax revenue would be used to support crucial public services.
Amazon spokesman Scott Stanzel said the company, which already collects sales taxes in seven states, expected a smooth transition. Shoppers who buy something on the site Sept. 15 will simply see sales tax added on the checkout page, similar to what happens when they shop on sites such as Macys.com or Target.com.
He added that the e-commerce giant, with sales of $48.1 billion last year, wasn’t worried about losing business after the deadline.
“We offer customers the best prices with or without sales tax,” he said. “We collect sales tax, or its equivalent, in more than half of the areas where we do business, and we’re pleased to say we’re thriving in those geographies.”
It remains to be seen how shoppers will respond once the sales tax law kicks in. Many said Amazon’s convenience still couldn’t be beat. Others said they’d be more inclined to shop at local stores and get their purchases right away.
But there are some upsides.
The Seattle company, which for years avoided having a physical presence in California so it wouldn’t have to collect sales taxes, is now opening two enormous fulfillment centers in the state. The warehouses, in San Bernardino and Patterson, are expected to bring more than 1,000 new jobs to the state. Once they’re up and running, the proximity of the centers could speed up shipping times for shoppers — same-day shipping, however, isn’t in the plans yet.
Even without the sales tax advantage, “Amazon’s prices are still meaningfully lower than what you’d pay at retail,” said Mark Miller, an analyst at William Blair & Co. The firm conducts regular price checks on identical items at Amazon and its major competitors and found that in states where Amazon collects sales taxes, consumers pay roughly 5% less on the e-commerce site than at traditional stores; that difference is 12% on average in other states. And the price gap between Amazon and bricks-and-mortar merchants is increasing as Amazon grows even larger in scale, he said.
Self-professed “Amazon junkie” Lauren Anderson, 27, isn’t taking any chances. The Burbank resident has been splurging on Amazon purchases in recent weeks, buying a coffee maker, video games, cable connectors and a phone charger. She might also buy a laptop.
“When I first read about the fact that Amazon was going to have to start collecting taxes in September, I seriously thought I was having a bad dream,” she said. “My mailman probably thinks I’ve lost my mind, all these packages coming and coming.”
Want to find today’s deals at Amazon.com? Use my free discount finder to find markdowns from 10% – 90%. Just change the category and the discount %, and you can really find some great deals. I always have this feature on my home page too.
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