California, Amazon still bickering over online sales tax

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Amazon, which last year had $34.2 billion in sales, has already dropped 10,000 “affiliates” in California, hoping to wiggle around the law. Overstock.com, a smaller rival, did the same thing to hundreds of its own affiliates.

“Affiliates,” from individual bloggers to small and medium-size companies, post ads on their own websites for products available at Amazon and provide the needed link.

Savings.com, which helps shoppers find bargains, was one of the affiliates that Amazon severed ties with, slicing up to 20 percent of its business. Now, the website, which has 80 employees, will have to lay off workers.

Amazon should be spending less time punishing its affiliates, threatening lawsuits and collecting signatures and more time doing what every other retailer does in California every day,” Evan Westrup, a spokesman for Gov. Jerry Brown, told reporters.

The state’s tax office argues Amazon still has a “physical presence,” because of several subsidiaries that remain. A9, a search technology company, and Lab126, which designs the Kindle, are two in-state subsidiaries that Amazon does not plan to relinquish.

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