The other day I was thinking that, since I write book reviews that drive traffic to places like Amazon, a good way of earning revenue on my website would be Amazon's Associates program, which gives you a percentage for traffic you drive to their site that results in a sale.  I get revenue without annoying my readers with ads.  Win, win, right?

I read all the rules and regs, caveats and addendums, and decided to join.  I started the process, they asked for my address and allowed me to choose my information from my Amazon account, then I got an error.  I didn't realize it was an error at first.  It just wanted me to type in my address and select my state.  My state wasn't listed.  WTF?!?

Okay, no worries.  I'll send an email to them asking about the problem.  This was the response I got:

Hello Danielle,

Because you are located in North Carolina, we are unable to accept your application to join the Associates Program because of unconstitutional legislation enacted in your state. In the event that North Carolina repeals this tax collection scheme, we would certainly be happy to re-open our Associates program to North Carolina residents.

Information about this legislation may be obtained from the Performance Marketing Alliance Website:www.performancemarketingassociation.com.

We appreciate your understanding.

Thank you for your inquiry. Did I solve your problem?

If yes, please click here: 
http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/survey?p=A1XFF90M6HDTXZ&k=hy 

If no, please click here: 
http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/survey?p=A1XFF90M6HDTXZ&k=hn

I wanted to click no, but knew it would only put me through a redundant page-looping hell.  No, you didn't help me.  And, yeah, I found it real amusing that you called it a "tax collection scheme", like North Carolina is a con artist with no right to collect taxes.  Amazon, you're a dick.  I know the "unconstitutional legislation" Amazon is referring to.  And, no, it isn't unconstitutional.  Requiring that Amazon pay the state the taxes it is OWED is not unconstitutional.  Did my state go about it wrong?  Yes.  That doesn't change the fact that Amazon owes the state of North Carolina (and almost every other state in the US of A) hundreds of millions of dollars in sales taxes.  For all I know, it might be in the billions of dollars.  There's no way of knowing.

Amazon, as many people know, works on a loophole in sales tax laws.  Other internet companies work with similar business models, but Amazon is the biggest offender.  Because the company is based in one state and the sale is made in another, the sale falls into this no man's land.  The company is only required to declare in-state sales to its taxing agency.  In these cases, the buyer is technically required to declare all out of state purchases where they did not incur sales taxes.  This never happens.  So, in a revolutionary move, the state of North Carolina passed a law requiring online businesses to pay sales taxes to the state when the sale is made to residents living in North Carolina, regardless of the state the business is based out of.  They have been unable to implement it and, to my knowledge, are probably still locked in a legal battle with Amazon over the new legislation.  I shudder to imagine their next move.



Leave a Reply.