Amazon to Start Charging Maine Shoppers a Sales Tax | NECN
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Amazon to Start Charging Maine Shoppers a Sales Tax

Some avid Amazon shoppers say the new tax won't change their habits

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    NEWSLETTERS

    In Maine, the retail giant gave shoppers a way to avoid paying sales tax, but not for much longer.

    (Published Tuesday, March 21, 2017)

    They say you can find anything on Amazon - and in Maine, the retail giant even gave shoppers a way to avoid paying sales tax.

    "It was one of the reasons I would shop on Amazon," said shopper Holly Harvey.

    Maine has been one of the few states where Amazon did not charge a sales tax and turn over the revenue to the state.

    "It was a nice loophole as a consumer," said shopper Ned Merrick.

    But starting April 1, the retail giant will collect a 5.5 percent sales tax for purchases shipped to Maine, and turn over the revenue to the state.

    "It's welcome news," said Retail Association of Maine Executive Director Curtis Pircard. "It's long overdue."

    Picard said online retailers such as Amazon, Ebay, and Overstock should have been collecting and turning over sales tax all along.

    He estimates Maine is missing out on anywhere from $35 to $45 million in sales tax from online retailers.

    Picard said it's welcome news for traditional "brick and mortar" retailers, where consumers already have to pay a sales tax. He calls the Amazon changes a way to "level the playing field."

    Some avid Amazon shoppers say the new tax won't change their habits.

    "The taxes can't be so high that they take away the ease of shopping," said Diana Cross.

    Others say the tax will be a factor when they consider big ticket items.

    "If you're spending three, four, five hundred dollars online, it adds up," said Ned Merrick.

    Amazon already collects sales tax in the majority of U.S. states, including Massachusetts and Vermont.

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