Amazon.com will start collecting sales tax from Illinois buyers on the site beginning on February 1. Amazon will be required to collect the Illinois state sales tax rate of 6.25%.
This will be the 24th state where Amazon has to collect sales from users. According to Wall Street Journal reporter Greg Bensinger, who often covers eCommerce issues, this will mean that about 72% of Americans are now subject to sales tax when buying on Amazon.
Illinois’ 13M residents to pay sales tax on Amazon goods starting Feb. 1. With the change, 231M Americans, 72%, subject to Amazon sales tax.
— Greg Bensinger (@GregBensinger) January 23, 2015
Amazon has to collect sales tax in states either because the company has sales tax nexus there or due to an agreement with the state. In this case, Amazon has made an agreement with the state of Illinois in advance of the fact that they plan to build facilities (which would give them sales tax nexus) there between this year and 2017.
So if you live in Illinois and buy something from Amazon.com, you’re going to have to pay Illinois sales tax starting February 1, 2015. But what does this means for 3rd party fulfillment sellers who use Amazon as a channel, such as those who sell on Amazon FBA?
1.) Don’t collect sales tax from buyers in Illinois unless you have sales tax nexus – It’s easy to confuse Amazon.com (the company itself) collecting sales tax and you, as a 3rd party seller on Amazon collecting sales tax. Amazon has to charge Illinois sales tax to buyers in Illinois now due to an agreement. Just because you sell online using Amazon as a channel does not mean you now also have to charge sales tax to buyers in Illinois. To repeat, the only reason you, as an FBA seller, would need to charge sales tax to buyers in Illinois is if you have sales tax nexus in Illinois.
2.) An Amazon Fulfillment center in Illinois could mean FBA sellers have sales tax nexus – As of right now, Amazon has no facilities in the state of Illinois. But they are planning to start opening facilities as early as this year. If one of those facilities is an Amazon Fulfillment Center where FBA sellers’ products are stored, then sellers who have products stored in an FBA warehouse in Illinois will have sales tax nexus in Illinois. Why is this? Check out our post about how and why storing inventory in an Amazon fulfillment center gives you sales tax nexus.
Note: To add a layer of confusion, not all FBA sellers will have products stored in the future Illinois Amazon fulfillment center. Run this report to find out in which states Amazon currently stores your products.
To get prepared, find out more about collecting sales tax in Illinois and how to register for a sales tax permit in Illinois.
3.) You may not pay sales tax on ALL purchases through Amazon if you live in Illinois – This news doesn’t mean to stop shopping on Amazon if you live in Illinois! You may still run into a 3rd party seller, such as an FBA or Merchant Fulfilled seller who doesn’t have sales tax nexus in Illinois and doesn’t have to charge you sales tax. So while you will most likely be charged sales tax if you live in Illinois and buy through Amazon, you might run into situations where you aren’t.
4.) The days of sales tax free buying are fading fast – Amazon makes no secret that they aim to offer same day delivery to as many customers as possible. To achieve that feat, they need Amazon Fulfillment Centers in more and more states. Seventy-two percent of Americans are already subject to sales tax when buying from Amazon. And Amazon has already announced upcoming fulfillment centers in Wisconsin, Maryland, Massachusetts and Illinois. In a nutshell, this means more Americans will be paying sales tax on Amazon purchases and FBA sellers will find that they have sales tax nexus in more states. Stay tuned here to the TaxJar blog or follow us on Twitter as we cover each new Amazon development.