No more tax breaks for S.C. Amazon shoppers

No more tax breaks for S.C. Amazon shoppers

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Legislature gave Amazon a sales-tax break in 2011, that break is now expired as of January 1, which makes South Carolina the last state to collect among those who were cut similar deals with online retail, according to the Associated Press.

Max Behlke, the National Conference of State Legislatures' manager of state and federal relations said, "taxing Amazon's in-state sales could add tens of millions of dollars to South Carolina's coffers in 2016."

The Seattle-based company has fought for years collecting sales taxes from its customers.

A.P. said, the U.S. Supreme Court has twice ruled in 1967 and 1992, that a state can't require a company to collect and remit the tax unless it has a "physical presence" in the state.

S.C. was among 10 states that gave Amazon a temporary tax reprieve in exchange for jobs and investment.

According to a 2014 report by the National Conference of State Legislatures, South Carolina loses out on an estimated $254 million in taxes from out-of-state sales, mostly online.

New Year's Day, South Carolina joined 26 states where Amazon collects the tax, according to the company's website.

It's unclear how many Amazon workers are employed in South Carolina. The company reported to a state Commerce survey that it employs up to 1,500 people at the two distribution centers.

John and Barbara Roughan are local shoppers in Myrtle Beach who say they don't mind the tax as long as the money is used responsibly by the state.

"Hopefully, again I think this is sort of a wind fall for the state in collecting that revenue. I'm saying that I trust that the state has dedicated that new funding source for a specific use." said John Roughan.

The couple also says they hope this tax encourages people to get out and shop in their communities.

"You would hope that steps that have just occurred may level that playing field a little bit and may give a little more of an inducement or incentive to shop locally." said John Roughan.

"I can tell you for people who live in Market Common, which makes up about five or six different neighborhoods, people want to shop locally to keep our local businesses alive." said Barbara Roughan.

The sales tax exemption is separate from South Carolina's "Use Tax," which applies to all "tangible goods for use in South Carolina, on which no South Carolina sales and use tax has been paid," according to the South Carolina Department of Revenue. Goods bought over the internet are among those subject to the use tax, which is 6 percent of the sales price of the property, the SCDOR website states.

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