We haven’t posted about NC’s revenue woes but now its getting all up in our business. North Carolina Department of revenue is asking for your full purchase records on Amazon all the way back to 2003. Here in NC we are required to pay a ‘use tax’ on any online purchases when we fill out our state tax return. According to CNET NC is getting serious about making sure we have paid up:
The lawsuit says the demand violates the privacy and First Amendment rights of Amazon’s customers. North Carolina’s Department of Revenue had ordered the online retailer to provide full details on nearly 50 million purchases made by state residents between 2003 and 2010.
Amazon is asking a federal judge in Seattle to rule that the demand is illegal, and left open the possibility of requesting a preliminary injunction against North Carolina’s tax collectors.
Amazon has already given up an anonymized version of the information:
Amazon did provide the state tax collectors with anonymized information about which items were shipped to which zip codes. But North Carolina threatened to sue if the retailer did not also divulge the names and addresses linked to each order—in other words, personally identifiable information that could be used to collect additional use taxes that might be owed by state residents.
As Amazon actively fights this request, we can only hope that our purchases remain private, and that we submitted our state taxes correctly. The gross violation of our privacy rights is a step in the wrong direction for North Carolina citizens.
In the fall Amazon already revoked the affiliate accounts for thousands of NC web businesses after changes in tax law. This meant that those businesses could not collect commission for sending customers and traffic to Amazon.