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Amazon Begins Charging Sales Tax in Virginia

The move is expected to generate roughly $23 million in tax revenue for the commonwealth in the first year alone, lawmakers say.

Amazon.com began collecting sales tax from customers with Virginia addresses this week. (File Photo)
Amazon.com began collecting sales tax from customers with Virginia addresses this week. (File Photo)
By Sharon McLoone

Online powerhouse Amazon.com began collecting sales taxes from buyers with Virginia addresses this week.

Virginia joins a group of other states - including Arizona, California, New York and Texas - where the online retailer has agreed to collect sales taxes from residents, after years of insisting they had no legal rights to collect sales taxes from its customers, reports Washington Business Journal.

According to a report in GlobeSt.com, the move likely infuriates other large e-tailers that have enjoyed sales-tax-free status. 

There is currently a bill circulating in Congress – the Marketplace Fairness Act – that would require all online retailers to apply local sales taxes to all purchases. 

Proponents of the measure say that change would level the playing field with brick-and-mortar retailers, which must collect sales taxes if a state requires it.

The move was expected, as Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell announced the agreement last year when the commonwealth's General Assembly gave final approval to a bill expanding on existing state laws requiring online businesses with facilities in Virginia to pay the state's 5 percent sales tax.

State Senator Frank Wagner (R-Virginia Beach), who sponsored that bill, said at the time that Virginia can expect to gain at least $23 million in tax revenues in 2013 alone.

Amazon operates a warehouse and data center in Virginia.


How do you feel about paying sales tax to Amazon? Is it the fair thing to do for brick and mortar retailers? Or do you think e-tailers like Amazon should be exempt? Will you continue to shop Amazon? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.


Anne Eastman September 10, 2013 at 12:13 AM
I won't be doing nearly as much shopping at Amazon now that a VA sales tax is imposed. They have lost one of their main attractions. I expect e-tailer to be exempt. Why should I pay to level the playing field with brick and motar stores.
David Stoner September 10, 2013 at 07:38 AM
I have no problem with what Amazon is doing. Assuming one has been paying the consumer use tax, as required by Virginia law, this step by Amazon shouldn't have any effect (other than lessening the tax bill on May 1). Of course, it seems that most people have been conveniently forgetting to pay the use tax along with their state returns; for them, this change represents an additional cost, albeit one they were supposed to be paying all along.

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