Impact of sales tax collected from Amazon

Idahoans who shop online now pay a 6% sales tax.

BOISE - It's something online shoppers will start to get used to, over the weekend Amazon started collecting sales tax for purchases made from Idaho.

Until then, Idaho was only one of a handful of states not collecting revenue from Amazon.

Now, these new change leave us with some questions about what this means for the state.

One of the questions we had is - how do we know that sales tax we pay to Amazon come back to Idaho?

And, how will this impact local businesses?

We might being paying more for online purchases now, but some say this tax will actually benefit you in the long run.

"The only thing that we're allowed to talk about with retailers, because people want to know if they are legitimate retailers and if they're collecting the sales tax and giving it to the state, we can tell people if they have a permit with us or not," said Renee Eymann, public information officer, Idaho State Tax Commission.

Eymann says Amazon does have that permit. As a result, Idahoans are paying the 6 percent sales tax -- the same tax we pay in stores -- on purchases from the online retailer.

According to the tax commission, the seller's permit ensures the taxes collected go back to the state.

“Retailers file their tax returns, report and pay the tax, if there are any concerns or red flags that's where the tax commission comes in to follow up. Just like if you file your income tax returns," said Eymann.

Sales tax helps funds state and local services.

Laura Delaney is the co-owner of Rediscovered Books in downtown Boise. She says it's a good thing that Amazon will now be collecting taxes.

"Sales tax is something we collect here at our store that is part of being in this community, we believe in having the services the state provides, everything from education to the other services the state taxes support," said Delaney.

An independent group, Civil Economics, found that in 2015 Amazon sold more than $230 million worth of merchandise in Idaho, and had they collected sales tax that would have been around $14 million for the Gem State.

"It's a long needed leveling of the playing field,” said Delaney.

Delaney says this does help with her business, which she says benefits more than just her store.

"Local retailing and local business matters, it keeps these dollars more in our community, it recirculates these dollars, it makes us all stronger, and provides more economic opportunity throughout our state," said Delaney.

Even before this sales tax was implemented, there was the use tax. If you purchase something and didn’t pay sales tax, you are supposed to pay a 6 percent use tax when you file your income taxes.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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