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News Posted on December 1, 2017

Professor Shanske Comments on Amazon and State Taxes for State Tax Notes

Professor Darien Shanske commented for State Tax Notes on online retailer Amazon’s decision to collect and remit sales taxes on its third-party sellers’ sales in Washington state.

The move followed passage of a Washington state law requiring remote sellers with at least $10,000 in annual sales in the state to either collect or report taxes that residents owe on their purchases. The law is similar to a measure passed in Colorado that was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in Direct Marketing Association v. Brohl. Shanske said that the Colorado decision gives the Washington law a good chance of surviving legal challenges, including its extension to online marketplaces. The same argument that succeeded for Colorado’s reporting requirements as applied to remote sellers should apply to large online marketplaces that facilitate the transactions of remote sellers, he said. “It’s a matter of common sense,” said Shanske.

Darien Shanske is a Professor of Law at UC Davis. His academic interests include taxation, particularly state and local taxation, local government law, public finance, and political theory, particularly jurisprudence.