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Big-Box Coalition Wants Amazon To Pay Tax

The Chattanooga Times Free-Press is spotlighting print ads by a national retailers group trying to force and other online retailers to pay sales taxes. The ads can be seen in Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville, the paper reported Thursday.

The piece offers a nice wrap of the legal context, what’s going on in other states, and where the Haslam administration stands. (The home team is looking the other way on the tax issue, and it’s possible Amazon will secure a “letter ruling” formally exempting its planned East Tennessee distribution centers from collecting taxes, though Revenue officials are mum.) Read the whole story here.

It’s worth noting that the group running the newspaper ads, the Alliance for Main Street Fairness, is backed heavily by Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, and the like.

The irony was not lost on House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, who told the Chattanooga paper that Wal-Mart has “wiped out a number of Main Streets in Tennessee.”

While Tennessee welcomes Amazon, Illinois has taken a hard line, enacting a law requiring Amazon to collect sales taxes. California could follow suit. In Texas, lawmakers are seeking to address the tax question: at least two bills would force Amazon to collect sales taxes, and another would carve out an exception for Amazon. That state’s chief tax collector has said the retailer must pay up.