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Friday, April 19, 2019
HomeIntel 907It’s not just Juneau — Amazon adding taxes to other Alaskans

It’s not just Juneau — Amazon adding taxes to other Alaskans

(3-minute read)  PEOPLE NOT WITHIN TAXING JURISDICTIONS ARE BEING CHARGED

Must Read Alaska has learned that consumers in Juneau, North Pole, Homer, and Wasilla are reporting that Amazon is tacking on a sales tax for their purchases — even if they don’t pay local sales tax.

As earlier reported, buyers started noticing the sales tax in Juneau and inquired with the city’s Tax Office.

[Read: Amazon charging sales tax to Juneau]

In the Capital City and in North Pole, that tax is 5 percent. But it’s 7 percent in Kodiak, and 3 percent in Wasilla.

Some buyers are unhappy because they live outside of the local taxing jurisdiction, but Amazon is collecting the tax anyway because it’s done by zip code.

“I don’t live within the city limits and my post office box is far outside, but because it uses a 99687 zip code, Amazon charges me tax just as you described for Juneau,” wrote one Wasilla resident.
“I raised a fuss over 90 cents of tax with Amazon and was finally told that I would need to provide a letter from the City of Wasilla stating that my PO Box was outside of city limits to avoid the tax.”
Eagle River residents who because they are in Anchorage, don’t have a local sales tax, are reporting that they are being taxed by Amazon as well. They received the same notice, leaving a question in their minds as to where Amazon is going to remit those taxes, since Anchorage doesn’t have a sales tax.

Amazon’s policy states that the amount of tax charged depends on various factors:

  • The identity of the seller
  • The type of item or service purchased
  • The time and location of fulfillment
  • The shipment or delivery address of your order

“These factors can change between the time you place an order and when your shipment is complete. As a result, the tax calculated on your order may change. We provide an “Estimated Tax” is displayed at Check Out when confirming an order. The amounts displayed as estimated tax may then be updated later when your order is finalized and completed.”The tax rate applied to your order will be the combined state and local rates of the address where your order is delivered to or fulfilled from. For example, if you live in a state that does not impose a sales tax, you may still see tax calculated on your order if shipped to another state.

“Moreover, the tax rates applied to your order may also be different for a variety of reasons, such as a shipment to a residential home versus a business address.

“Also, the total selling price of an item will generally include item-level shipping and handling charges, item level discounts, and gift wrapping charges. If applied at an order level, these charges, may be allocated to the individual items in an order.”

The Alaska Municipal League is conducting a study of the internet sale tax situation in Alaska and how Alaska Statute may need to change to adapt. The disparity between local sellers and internet sellers has long been a thorn in the side of brick-and-mortar stores in Alaska.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • A simple class action suit would solve this issue and be profitable for both plaintiff and law firm. I’m sure someone is already thinking of this.

    • Agreed. How that is not “Taxation without representation” I have no idea. If anyone could tell me on what grounds Wasilla could legally tax people outside of their jurisdiction I would love to hear it.

  • That would be the (expl del) Alaska Municipal League with, as of Tuesday, January 29, 2019, $599,373,597.99 of taxpayers’ money rat-holed away, far out of taxpayers’ reach.
    .
    That would be the (expl del) Alaska Municipal League Investment Pool “…a non-profit corporation formed by the Alaska Municipal League to provide investment services under the Alaska Investment Pool Act of 1992. The purpose of AMLIP is to provide a safe, high-yield, short-term investment option to maximize revenue for boroughs, cities, school districts and other state government entities.”
    .
    Think about that: “…to maximize revenue for boroughs, cities, school districts and other state government entities.”.
    .
    Then let’s talk about “…a study of the internet sale tax situation in Alaska and how Alaska Statute may need to change to adapt.”
    .
    and what’s likely to happen when productive Alaskans find out the Alaska Municipal League’s 76 Members representing 150 Accounts want to stiff them with more taxes “…to maximize revenue for boroughs, cities, school districts and other state government entities.”.

  • Is this sales tax even legal given as how the State does not have a sales tax. Do the individual boroughs and Cities have the legal authority to pull this off?

  • short answer yes. But they can not tax outside their jurisdiction.

  • We have quit our addiction to Amazon. They have actually made it rather painless as the list of items that will no longer ship to Alaska is growing by the day. This list includes items that would fit in small Flat Rate boxes and is not limited to bulky or heavy items. We are finding that most of what we want is easily found with a little keyboard work. The prices from other vendors are nearly as good and in some cases better and shipping is often free. Shipping of things like atv tires is not quite impossible from Amazon but at least negotiable from other lower 48 sources. Finally, the advantages of ordering things on line is fading with the increasing expense and frustration with big on line retailers like Amazon. Local buying is beginning to look good again.