Amazon has begun emailing notices to all its Tennessee customers that they may owe taxes on their purchases.
The action by the online retailing giant easily involves thousands of Tennesseans, and it could spur some people to pay the tax that’s often overlooked or ignored by consumers.
“It would be extra money for the state,” said Billy Trout, a spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Revenue.
Amazon’s move stems from a provision included in a law signed by Gov. Bill Haslam about a month ago. Haslam and the Seattle-based retailer agreed to a deal over collecting sales taxes on goods sold in Tennessee.
The law compels Amazon to begin collecting sales tax on items sold to Tennessee buyers in 2014. It’s estimated the tax could generate $22.8 million for the state and $9.6 million for local governments. However, the notification provision required of Amazon wasn’t widely known.
Haslam spokesman David Smith said consumers have been required to pay “consumer use” tax to the Tennessee Department of Revenue when making an online purchase from any retailer that does not collect sales tax.
“The notification they may owe the use tax is an in-between step until Jan. 1, 2014, when responsibility for collecting and remitting the Tennessee tax will shift to the company,” Smith said in an email.
Scott Stanzell, an Amazon spokesman, said the notice applies to everyone who lives in Tennessee and bought from the company last year. Amazon has 60 days to issue the notice and comply with the law. Next year and in 2014, the notice is due Feb. 1.
“As you may know, Amazon.com LLC is not required to collect sales or use taxes in Tennessee,” the notice says. “However, the state of Tennessee requires us to provide the following notice to you.”
Site to which Amazon sends Tennesseans for more information on the use tax and to pay any taxes: https://apps.tn.gov/usetax