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Amazon to Collect Massachusetts Sales Tax Next Year

BOSTON — Massachusetts residents will have to pay a little more next holiday season for their online purchases.

Gov. Deval Patrick and Amazon announced on Tuesday an agreement for the online retail giant to collect and remit state sales taxes beginning next Nov. 1. According to the press statement, Amazon also plans to create hundreds of high-tech jobs in Massachusetts in coming years.

Online retailers for years have been under pressure to collect state sales taxes even if they don't have a physical presence in the state. Brick-and-mortar merchants say Web retailers failure to collect taxes puts them at a disadvantage, states that they're losing billions in revenue.

The Congressional Research Service says states lost some $8.6 billion in tax revenue in 2010 alone.

Amazon already collects sales taxes for California, Kansas, Kentucky, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington. Massachusetts and five other states will be added in the next couple years.

"We are thankful Amazon was willing to come to the table and we will continue our conversations with them about creating jobs here," said Patrick in a statement. "This agreement is a win for all sides, and I am pleased it promises to generate millions in long-term revenue for the commonwealth."

Patrick and Amazon officials reiterated support for federal legislation to resolve the sales tax issue. The Supreme Court in 1967 determined that collecting sales tax would place an undue burden on what were then catalog sales but technology has vastly changed the remote retail industry.

"We appreciate Governor Patrick's commitment to Massachusetts jobs and investment and his support for legislation now before Congress that would provide a final resolution to the sales tax issue," said Paul Misener, Amazon vice president of global public policy. "We look forward to creating hundreds of high tech jobs in Massachusetts and continuing to work with Governor Patrick, state leaders, retailers and Congress to pass federal legislation permitting interstate sales tax collection."
 

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