It isn’t Amazon that’s acting with greed

Freedom New Mexico

How perverse is it when wanting to keep money that you’ve earned is considered being greedy?

Amazon, the online retail giant, has been castigated for not collecting sales taxes in states where it has no physical presence, and therefore no legal requirement to do so.

Nevertheless, critics would have us believe Amazon has no right to do what nearly every taxpaying American probably does routinely — minimize how much of its income is handed over to the government.

One headline labeled it, “Amazon’s shameful California tax dodge.”

Shameful? Hardly.

It’s likely the critics, just like most people and no doubt like Amazon, take advantage of every legal tax break available to them. No one is obligated to pay more than the law requires. Is it shameful to pay only what’s required?

It’s also probable that many of the same Amazon critics are prudent shoppers who purchase from online companies, perhaps even from Amazon, that don’t collect state sales taxes. Why would they do that? Apart from the convenience and wide selection, Amazon purchases can cost as much as 10 percent less than buying from a state-based company that the law requires to add state and local sales taxes.

If there’s shame, perhaps it should be attributed to online buyers who purchase from out-of-state retailers like Amazon. By law, it is those buyers who are responsible to pay the sales tax, not the companies they buy from.

We would like to see an inventory of pundits, state legislators and tax-collecting bureaucrats who accuse Amazon of “greed.” Let’s see how many of them voluntarily turn over 7 percent to nearly 10 percent sales tax that state laws typically require them to pay to the government after making such online purchases.

If there’s shame to apportion here, it should be for these illegal tax dodges by the roughly 99 percent of people who buy online from out-of-state retailers, but who refuse to comply with the law by writing the government a personal check for the sales tax as laws require.

Collecting those sales taxes in all states would reduce Amazon sales by as much as $653 million a year, Credit Suisse recently estimated.

Amazon deserves a great deal of credit for standing up for its stockholders and customers in battles against money-grubbing governments that presume companies are greedy for wanting to keep what they’ve earned.