States Look to Steal Customer Data and Chase Back Taxes

We have all heard that there is no escape from Death or Taxes.

As the sour economy continues and states are struggling to balance bloated budges, they look to find creative “no harm” taxes.  For some reason the boneheads in government think that taxes increase economic output.  This is a huge fallacy. Stealing business revenues for elected officials’ pet projects kills jobs. Look no further than California (high tax) vs Texas (low tax) in the battle for economic growth.

Anyway that’s a different argument…

States starving for a new source of slop at the free trough of out of state businesses are looking towards the internet as the panacea for the aches of a poor fiscal policy. The latest target of creative government funding is taxing out of state retailers. States view these large businesses as a cash cow with no re-election impact. The states’ biggest online target is Amazon.

The online retailer Amazon is currently embattled with several states over sales tax. Past customer data seems to be a target of North Carolina.  Apparently North Carolina has the balls to go after anyone and everyone who has made a purchase from Amazon since 2003.  Amazon had to counter with a lawsuit to block the North Carolina Department of Revenue from getting its hand on this data.

I personally find this very interesting because Utah has been trying to tax internet purchases for the last 10 years.  Utah has been very unsuccessful at this game. The only weapon they have is Utah’s use tax which levees a sales tax on most catalog and internet purchases but also includes magazine subscriptions. I am worried that Utah might get the same idea as North Carolina.

We recently discovered that Utah has no problem with circumventing the Constitution’s 4th Amendment protection in online activities via state laws. I can’t wait to see if this revives Utah’s lust for more cash.

I don’t understand why government officials can’t be more frugal. Look at how complicated and bloated the Federal Government budget is here.

The thing that I find scary is at what point is my privacy protected?

Apparently my online activity, my cable, my cell phone and now my customer data isn’t protected from the government. No longer are my habits anonymous to them. Pretty soon I see laws telling me what books and movies I can read.  Just read Amazon’s statement in this lawsuit.

The North Carolina Department of Revenue (the “DOR”) is demanding that Amazon turn over the name and address of virtually every North Carolina resident who has purchased anything from Amazon since 2003, along with records of what each customer purchased and how much they paid. If Amazon is forced to comply with this demand, the disclosure will invade the privacy and violate the First Amendment rights of Amazon and its customers on a massive scale. But the DOR does not need personally identifiable information about Amazon’s customers in order to audit Amazon’s compliance with state tax laws.All it needs to know is what items Amazon sold to North Carolina customers and what they paid, and Amazon has already provided that information to the DOR.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *