Arizona Wants $53 Million in Back Taxes From Amazon

It looks like South Carolina isn’t the only state who is getting into a tussle with Amazon today. According to Amazon’s recent FTC filings, the state of Arizona wants Amazon to hand over all the state sales taxes that they hadn’t been collection since 2006.

“The State of Arizona is alleging that we should have collected a transaction tax that is similar to a sales tax on applicable transactions during those years,” Amazon said in its annual 10-K regulatory filing. “We believe that the assessment is without merit and intend to vigorously defend ourselves in this matter.”

This collection notice is similar to the one that Texas attempted to collect last year, only in that case Texas caved on the estimated $269 million in unpaid taxes. Arizona sent the bill over in November, and it includes both the unpaid tax as well as interest. They indicted that Amazon could pay by credit card or in small bills.

There’s one detail about this story that, once you know about it, is going to eat away at you. How would the state of Arizona know that the bill should be $4453 million, and not $63 million (or some other figure)? I don’t believe Amazon is required to disclose earnings by state, so that $53 million bill is likely only a guesstimate of the true cost.


image by dherrera_96